Saturday, March 11, 2006

Sweating in Siam

The temperature is expected to hit 97 degrees F today in the City of Angels.

This is one hot place to walk around, or do anything really. At least two showers a day on average, and friends tell me that in April and May, you can make that four.

But oh my, if you've got a decent Western salary, you can live well.

Saw a friend's apartment last night. I lost count, but I think there were something like 4 bedrooms, all with their own bathrooms and marble floors all over the place, for less than $2000 US a month, which would maybe get you a decent studio or one-bedroom in Manhattan.

Compared to the average taxi ride in NYC costing $7 - $10, you can get around here, even after being stuck in traffic, for $3 or $4 at most, but usually half that.

Without being able to speak Thai, it's possible to make your way, but I find I feel very cut off. You can't make that bridge and relate to people very well, aside from a few empty, polite comments about where you are from, and the temperature differentials between here and home.

Shopping is amazing, if you like that sort of thing, which I do.

Had a Spaulding Grey perfect moment Saturday afternoon at the weekend Chatuchuk (or JJ) market, after having done some great retail therapy for silver rings and coming across a really delightful selection of Thai paintings.

Artists seem to have realized that we farang like either works that refer to typical Thai subject matter, or dogs!

I admit that I succumbed to 2 adorable brightly colored Warhol-esque paintings of a smiling English bull terrier (the Target dog) on a chartreuse background, and a cross-looking Pekinese on a red background. Too funny. Yes, I realize that they sound hideous, but they really are charming.

After some more sweaty wandering around [side note: if you are thirsty, and think that the green and yellow Fanta can will contain something lemony, you will be sorely disappointed to find something that veers more toward bubblegum - UGH], I came across a little CD stand, run by some dredlocked, slightly stoned Thai guys, and aside from the racks and racks of bootlegged CDs, there was a group of comfy chairs where you could lounge. They encourage you to sample ones you'd like to buy on several players they have laying around, which I did.

Total bliss ensued when I spied a cooler full of bottles of Heineken. Never a beer drinker, I still couldn't resist because they just looked so cold, and 30 Baht later, cap off, it was a refreshing shopping episode cum happy hour.

The picture up top is from the Jim Thompson home, now a museum.


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