Not at all that surprisingly, Tuk knows almost nothing about Bangkok hotels, and we didn't do much better at the airport hotel desk than I usually manage on my own. The hotel was nice enough, but too far from the train and I can't stand relying on taxis, especially in Bangkok where gridlock is the status quo.
The new hotel is a touch sleazy, and in a lousy neighborhood, but only a two minute walk from the train station that connects us to all the errands we have to run.
The reason neither of us had been before is that Thai massage has a reputation for being a contortionist exercise that is seemingly far more relaxing for the giver than the receiver, but we both made it through 1/2 hour with no ligament tears and maybe even with an extra spring in our step.
The same 20 words of Thai made not quite such a big hit, but for an evening so ripe with potential difficulties, we escaped relatively unscathed.
It's our last night in Bangkok, so despite the proximity of our 6 a.m. wakeup call Tuk showed up with a bevy of friends in tow to take the party on the road to a (straight) Pat Pong disco.
A lot has changed, but enough is still the same that I don't feel too guilty recycling a photo. We find a place to crash and start shopping for cats.
It's very sad for us. We both like this area, and after a crazy few months on the road we were really looking forward to settling down and doing a bit of decorating. It's frustrating to be here in a place we both think of as home-like, but not knowing whether we can work out a way to stay
The dive shop situation here seems to be consolidating, and not for the better (at least from our perspective). Today we had a long talk about how long to stay here looking, and what our other options might be.
There are close to 20 big dive shops on Phi Phi, and although none of them were looking for instructors at that moment, given the scale of the operations, opportunities would seem to be just a matter of time.
But, neither of us liked Phi Phi. It's an internationally known tourist destination, but compared to Railay it's almost urban with noise and trash everywhere. The nights are filled with thumping base from the clubs, and the days are filled with the roar of boats and motorcycles. You can't walk more than a few steps down the main path without being accosted by someone trying to sell you something.
We agreed that if we had to, we could live there, but who wants to be somewhere they don't really enjoy?
In our own private celebration, Tuk and I went shopping, so to speak...
Having the kitten, we needed a name, but first we had to decide which language he'd be raised in, my only requirement was that he be named something I could pronounce.
We finally settled on Noo (said with a rising tone), the Thai word for mouse, but also a common nickname for small children. The long-term psychosocial ramifications of this choice remain to be seen.
My mother wanted to know if there were any cheap hotels here. I spent about $20 explaining that $10 a night is actually really expensive, for Thailand.
I had two students who were certified, but hadn't been diving in a while, so I took them through a scuba review. 500 Baht (US$12) for about four hours work. Would you like fries with that?
He has a funny habit of just following anyone who walks down the beach, so we end up meeting a lot of people as I hurry to retrieve him. The Thai people invariably pick him up and start speaking English to him, "hello little kitty, etc..."
It's great fun to walk up and say, "Kao poot Thai dai (He can speak Thai)." I'm not sure if it's my bad accent or just one non sequitur too many, but it always takes them a few minutes of blank staring to work it out and then start laughing. It is the land of smiles after all.
And more good work news, I've been scheduled to teach an advanced class starting on the 2nd.
Sadly though, I can't scuba dive with stitches in my neck, so Tuk has to go into Ao Nang and cancel the first class I was ever scheduled to teach. Rats.
There isn't really much I can do while the stitches are still in, but my shoulder feels stronger each day, so as soon as they come out I should be ready to go.
C0000218 Registry file failure. The registry can not load the hive(file): \systemroot\system32\config\software or its log or alternate. It is corrupt absent or not writable.
So much for the robustness if Windows 2000. Luckily I actually know how to fix this problem, but unluckily I don't have the bootable CDROM drive the solution requires. My laptop will be relegated to paperweight status until I can get to Bangkok and borrow one.
Unlike Sony, who were fabulously unhelpful and obstructionist when my Vaio died, IBM was more than willing to help. On no notice at all, they loaned me a CDROM drive to repair my registry, and then scavenged a part to repair my LCD display that had been acting up. Another big raspberry to Sony and kudos to IBM for their excellent support.
Warning: If you are shopping for a ultraslim laptop don't waste your money on the purple piece of trash known as the Sony Vaio. It is thoroughly unreliable and Sony does not stand behind it. There is a reason it only has a one year warranty. All machines in this class are going to be a bit delicate, shop for one with a three year warranty.
No, I'm not dead, I'm still living here in Thailand teaching
Good news though, after a year of waiting the data has finally been recovered from my dead Sony Vaio Laptop. The CD, as they say, is in the mail so the Tibet write up should be here soon.
High season is over and presumably I should have time again to get caught up on my writing, except for the fact that low season is a vacation from my vacation, and so far I've been using it to get out a bit.
I'll write more on these later, but here is a general idea of what I've been up to: