Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
I've just now gotten a proxy to work, but the connection is very tenuous, and if I try to add pictures, it will stop working, so that's a no go.
Luckily (?), I don't have much to report for my last three days in Bangkok.
On the 19th, all I did was go shopping for some last-minute souvenirs (rather unsuccessfully, as I only got one thing). I took a little boat from the canal behind Sergio's place to get into the city center, which is a good way to avoid traffic, although it kind of smells during the day (19 baht).
The stop where I got off happened to be in the middle of a Red Shirt rally, which I didn't notice until 2 minutes later, at which point I thought, "There sure are a lot of people wearing red today." As a result, a bunch of the stores were closed, but not MBK.
I also saw the evening shift security people all gather for their pre-shift morale boost. This is some sort of ridiculous work custom that I've only seen in Asia where employees have to line up in a grid and do stupid physical exercises together and shout things about providing better service and whatnot. I highly doubt this has any effect on morale whatosever.
On the last day, I realized that I still had not gotten a Thai massage, so I planned to go in the morning, so then I'd still have time to gather my things and head to the airport in the afternoon. The thing is, I'm a procrastinator. So I actually went around twelve or something, which was cutting it really close.
I went to a nearby massage place and asked for a 1-hour Thai massage. They then give you these sort of pajamas to change into and wash your feet. Then the massage commences. It's sort of less of a massage and more of a physical therapy session that focuses on really stretching you out as much as possible.
So the lady did this for what was much longer than an hour, and they tried to charge me for a two-hour massage. I looked at them and was like, "I asked for a one-hour massage and now I'm late for the airport." (True.) So then they were like, "Oh, sorry sorry, ok one hour." So I paid them for one hour and rushed out.
I stuffed my crap in my bag as quickly as possible, and got a taxi to the airport link station and was able to make it on time, although without much to spare. I was fed on the plane, which, as far as I can tell, is still to be expected on airlines across the world, even for very short flights - just not America.
I went to the hospital for a check-up a few days after I got back (as I had another fever and the hospital is where you go to get check-ups in China), and it turns out I have some sort of colony of single-cell parasite things in my intestines. (Not like a worm. That is gross. Micro-organisms I can handle.) This is most likely from drinking water, as I can't recall eating anything raw. I also didn't drink tap water, but sometimes when you buy bottled water, you can tell by the taste that it's really just tap water packaged as bottled water. At least none of the water I drank turned green overnight. (This happened to the British siblings in either Laos or Viet Nam.) Anyway, you just have to take some medicine that makes you feel kind of nauseated and then they're gone. No biggie.
You do feel exhausted after nine weeks of travelling though. For sure.
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Monday, May 16, 2011
So yesterday, I woke up around 6:30 to meet the Thai girls in the lobby at 7:00. We got a tuk-tuk for 10,000 kip/person to take us to the bus station, where the cheapest bus to Vang Vieng was 130,000 kip. It’s the same price if you take it all the way to
The announcer guy at the bus station was really funny, although unintentionally so (I think). He was super dramatic. It was like listening to Gob. "Please. Get On The Bus Now. Because. The Bus Will Leave. In Fifteen Minutes."
The bus ride was fine at first, what with yielding to elephants and seeing people either living out of an old train car or using it as a furnace for something, but after several hours, the extremely winding and bumpy road makes you very aware that your brain is smashing against the walls of your skull. Repeatedly. I should’ve worn my helmet. The seats were surprisingly comfortable though and didn't make my ass hurt after an hour.
We stopped for lunch, which is included in the price of the ticket, and I got some noodle soup with beef while the girls had stir-fried stuff with rice, and we all got some ice cream after (5,000 kip for a small cup).
Ice cream is a good example of the point I was making earlier. At first I asked how much this really good cone ice cream was, with like peanuts and frozen fudge and everything, and they told me 15,000 kip. This exact same ice cream cost 15,000 dong and that was in Hoi An, where everything is priced for tourists. Same number, but very different value.
Then it was back to the bus for the rest of the trip, which thankfully, was almost over. We arrived at a new bus stop in Vang Vieng, so it is not walking distance from the main street. The tuk-tuk into town was 10,000 kip/person as well, and they put everyone’s luggage on the roof.
The girls asked for the price of a room at the guesthouse where we stopped, and it was 125,000 kip for all of us for a room with a balcony and air conditioning, which is not bad at all. It pays to have them ask in Thai, otherwise I’m sure the price would have been much more expensive. In general, it seems like they have no trouble with communication whatsoever. I don't know if this is because everyone here speaks Thai because of tourism or because they're linguistically very close.
We slept for a few hours, throughout which my brain was pounding from its intimate ordeal with my skull, and by the time the girls were ready to go out for dinner, I was running a pretty bad fever, was really dizzy, and kept wanting to throw up (which later I did). So that was not fun.
I hate being sick. Plus, when I’m sick, I always think everything is worse than it really is, so part of me is like, “CALL THE EMBASSY I NEED TO BE AIRLIFTED TO THE STATES FOR EMERGENCY MEDICAL ATTENTION.” And the other part of me is like, “… Well… ok, yeah, let’s do that.” In the end though, being sick and pukey and dizzy means you’re not going to look up the number for the embassy and then call them. It means you are going to stay in bed and mumble incoherent things.
During my fever, I had a dream that I got a contract to write a book about navy warships in connection with Yale Associated Press (does such an organization even exist?) but I thought I was supposed to write about these cartoon guys that LIVED on a navy warship, so I kept going, “Can’t I just write about the Weebles?” Sometimes you just want to write about the Weebles.
So I stayed in bed all day, and the girls brought me back some fried rice and orange juice, which I had asked them to but simply could not stomach. One sip of the orange juice made me dry heave, and solid food was just not possible.
It's a good thing there's only wifi in the lobby and not in the rooms at our guesthouse, because if I had had access to the internet, I would have been all, "CALL THE EMBASSY I'M DYING."
I do feel much better today though. We are leaving tonight for Vientiane (which is a much shorter ride, thank god), where the girls have a friend, so we are staying with them, and then tomorrow night, we will leave for Bangkok, and then I fly back to China, although given the state of things, this is not really a sad moment for me.
I was going to go to the tubing area to watch people be drunk and almost kill themselves, but I need to meet the girls in the guesthouse lobby at four, and it's already three, I'm really comfortable at this place where I had lunch and has free wifi, and I'm also somewhat afraid drunk people will hurl me onto sharp rocks and then I might actually die. People seem to be very comfortable with picking me up and dragging me around. Not that it happens often, but the fact that it happens at all is kind of strange. Plus I should just come back when I am in a condition to participate in said tubing. Maybe skip the killing myself part though.