|Sunee Plaza, Pattaya, Thailand|
And, let’s do try to forget that I dressed in DC knowing that I would arrive to 97 degree heat and 110% humidity and dressed accordingly but the AC on the plane was colder than a stepfather’s kiss.
Thankfully, I remembered to pack a pair of socks and wore one of those paper-thin airplane….”blankets”… on my lap and one wrapped round my shoulders like a shawl.
Yes, and let’s just fly right past the fact that my dear friend Rob wrote down that I was leaving on the first of March (which would meant that I would arrive on the second of March, but apparently, he forgot that part) and so he spent almost 24 hours in an ice-blue panic with worry about me.
Which meant, of course, that I would arrive in Bangkok and meet my first Real Big Phat Thai Adventure within 30 minutes of landing as I negotiated for a “texsi” (cab) to take me to Pattaya – about 90 minutes south of Bangkok.
Apparently, I struck out my first time up at bat. Rob said, “And don’t pay one baht more than 1,000 baht for the taxi”. Right. It was 2,000 baht or I wasn’t getting out of the airport. And, it was an air conditioned Mercedes and not a little red….whatever…which I later learned one can get on level four rather than level one where I was
And, oh, by the way, 1,000 baht is about $35.00. So…. Maybe not such a good deal in Bangkok but still a steal if one were trying to get from NYC to Morristown, NJ,
Einstein was right. Everything is relative.
And, if it’s all the same to you, we’ll get past the part about jet lag being a mercilessly cruel beast and proceed directly to the part about that fact that, no matter what time your body thinks it is, it is odd, indeed, it is to be called “Madam” (pronounced with a decidedly French accent) and in the third person (As in: “Would Madam like sugar or cream with her coffee?”).
When one isn’t called “Madam”, one is called “Krup” – which sounds perfectly fine until one realizes that “Krup” is “Sir”. “Ka’ is “woman,” but men say, “Krup” to every one – including women and women say “Ka” to every – including men.
I don't pretend to understand, but I think it has something to do with the Western vs. Eastern sense of gender binary.
So, I hear “Sawat dee, Krup,” Or “Good morning, Sir.”
This is going to take longer to get used to than the jet lag.
I am staying in my friend Rob’s apartment complex. He got me a perfectly fine air conditioned one room with a balcony that is appointed with a large, double bed, a sectional sofa, a small table, a television and a small “kitchen area” which has a refrigerator, microwave, and coffee pot - but no sink.
Oh, and Rob said the whole thing cost $216. For the month.
I could get very used to that.
I got to bed around 2:30 AM – here (which meant 2:30 PM the day before in my body) and slept until 8:30. Rob arrived at 9 AM and we had coffee and talked and talked and talked over coffee (most excellent, even though it was instant) until about 10:30.
The wonderful thing about friends is that, no matter how long it’s been since the last time you saw each other, you seem to pick up the conversation right where you left off.
And, so it was.
Off we went, then, to the market to buy an adapter for my electronic devices (my cell phone was gasping with only one bar of life support left) and to wander aimlessly through the streets until we found the pool.
There, we met up with one of Rob’s friends, a Northern Irishman named Ronnie who has an enchanting brogue and an unmistakable glint of mischief in his eye that was an immediate give-away to his ethnicity. I can spot an Irish eye from 100 paces.
Talk, talk, talk. Yak, yak, yak. Giggle, giggle, giggle. And then, lunch.
We came home through a different part of the market where one can buy all sort and manner of things – from underwear (except, these Thai women are so small, I couldn’t fit my ankle into places meant for the thigh) to jewelry to coffee to kitchen appliances to spring rolls and chicken with peanut sauce, or, perhaps, if one were very hungry, a whole roasted head of pig – with intact eyes and snout.
Eeeeeewwww. Eeeeewww. Eeeewww. I will not get used to that. Not. Ever.
We came back to the apartment around 2:30 for a wee bit of a lie down and then Rob will pick me up for dindin about 6 PM. I’m going to try to find a WiFi so I might post this whilst we’re out. He’ll not be happy about that but there’s no WiFi here at the apartment complex and, hey, a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.
The heat isn’t as bad as the humidity which is actually pretty bad. Most people wear as few cloths as possible which makes for very interesting scenery.
Many, many Thai people really do try to look “Western” which means they wear jeans, T-shirt and sneakers. Even in this heat. And, humidity. Makes absolutely no sense to me.
What’s worse, however, is that there is a whole section in the market for “skin lightening” cream. I looked at the whole shelf of it and almost wept.
Here’s the logic: West=good. West=light skin. Therefore, good=light skin.
I don’t think I’ll ever – EVER – get used to that.
Pom (chun) mai kowjai. I don’t understand.
I’ll be writing more tomorrow, but until then, wherever you are and whatever time it is where you are, Laa gorn, krup. (Good evening, sir.)