Thursday, December 23, 2004


Things you should know:

The electricity here is 220. (I burned up a computer that I lugged from California. Stupid me.)

Do not try to bargain with the cab driver before getting in the taxi. The fares are so cheap you will end up with the worst of the deal. (Again, stupid me.)

The local beer (Singha) is very good and very strong (6% alc.). For me, diluting it with ice doesn't hurt it at all.

Tap water is not supposed to be drinkable. Bottled water is provided everywhere. The Jungle Princess was using tap water to make my ice for quite a while unbeknownst to me. It had no ill effect but I wouldn't reccommend it. I may have built up antibodies.

If you are going to visit for a while, don't make a lengthy reservation in one hotel. That money is not refundable and the hotel might not suit you. The first hotel I stayed in was okay but catered mainly to Japanese and their types of food. The second hotel was more Americanized and centrally located. The third hotel was for the convenience of The Jungle Princess (what else).

Traffic moves on the left, British style. I've driven in that before (in Hong Kong), but I would never try again. It's very confusing to me.

If you just tell a cab driver you want to be taken to a girly bar, he will drive you to a bar that pays him to bring customers. Any cab in town might take you to the same place every time, which is the one that pays them the most. Better to look at ads in the paper or phone book. On the way, look around. These bars/massage parlors are everywhere. The only thing that rivals them in abundance are 7-11 stores.

Don't look at the road ahead while you're riding in a taxi. The way they drive is pretty frightening. Three times I was sure I faced imminent death in a cab. On the plus side, I know what my last words will be if that ever happens because each time I said the same thing: "Holy shit!"

Bangkok is a city of very clean public toilets but very often no toilet tissue. Carry some with you whenever you go out. There's one prominent department store that has a toilet tissue vending machine. It costs 2 baht (about a nickel) for I don't know how much. Who the hell carries 2 baht coins around with them?

UPDATE: I should mention that Thai food is hot. How hot? I am accustomed to hot food. I used to eat wax peppers or jalapena like candy along with my meals. But Thai food is too hot for me.

They have a fruit here called "pomelo." It is very close to grapefruit. It is the sweetest, juiciest grapefruit you will ever taste. Try it.


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