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Bangkok, Thailand

I’ve spent a day going down to the station and back again on the river taxi. Doing things like this seems to take a long time here. I’m not sure why it’s taken me the whole day but it has.

The highlight of the day so far: I saw a monk in orange robes smoking a cigarette outside the station. I didn’t think monks were allowed to smoke.

No. Better than that. On the river taxi a women held her hands together in prayer and closed her eyes each time we passed a wat (Buddhist temple) and then as we went by she ran her hands through her hair. There are a lot of wats along the river so she was doing this every couple of minutes.

Also, I’ve now plucked up the courage to say “Sa wat dee krap” instead of “Hi” or “Hello”, though I’m not sure I’m saying it right. No one has replied to me in Thai yet. Men have to say krap after everything here. It’s polite. Though often they pronounce it kap. Women say ka.

Sitting in the internet cafe I’ve found off Thanon Rambutri, typing some emails and picking at a spot to the right of my nose – a mosquito bite I think, not a zit – I notice blood on my finger. I wipe it off and touch the spot again. More blood. I stand up, hlding my hand over my face, and ask one of the Thai women in there if she has any tissues. She says she doesn’t but I can buy some at a local shop. Then i take my hand away from my face and the 3 Thai women go into panic mode. One of them runs outside, but she returns seconds later with a handful of toilet paper.

It’s now ten to ten and still hot. I’m sitting on the bed in my private hostel room. It’s a bunk bed. The room isn’t wide enough for a double bed. The traffic outside is noisy. Mainly motorbikes. Small engined ones. There are loads of them here, but I’ve only seen one or two push bikes. I guess the roads are too dangerous.

It’s still hot. My room has air conditioning but it’s not turned on. I don’t like air conditioning. It’s too noisy, and feels decadent and wasteful. I did turn it on last night though, intending to just run it for a minute or two but I must’ve fallen asleep because it was still on in the morning.

Showers are a better way to cool down. I’ve been taking at least two a day. The room has a bathroom with a shower and a toilet (but no bath). There is no shower cubicle, just a drainage hole in the bathroom floor, and a raised step in the doorway to prevent the water spilling out into the bedroom.

There was no toilet paper. I had to buy my own. But in public toilets I have also found no toilet paper. Instead they have a shower attachment which I guess you use to wash your arse after a crap. I haven’t tried it. I prefer toilet paper. I can’t imagine how it’s done, with the shower thing, without getting your clothes wet. There must be a knack to it. If I could watch someone doing it then perhaps I would see. But that’s not going to happen. It’s one of those things you have to learn as a child, and if you didn’t learn it as a child no one’s going to show you now. Can I watch you have a crap, krap?

Yes, but it’ll cost you 1000 Bahts, ka.

There’s a hotel down the road from here called Hotel 88. At the entrance they have the prices. They charge by the hour. It’s really a motel, with curtains that they close around the car port so that no one can see who’s parked there. Any hotel or establishment with an 8 in its title is part of the sex industry. I’m not sure why the number 8 is considered sexual. Someone did tell me but I’ve forgotten. Perhaps it’s because an 8 is like the shape of a women, though most Thai women have more of a number 1 type shape. And so do the men, meaning it’s often hard to tell them apart (particularly when the men have long hair and are wearing skirts). Khymer women (from Cambodia) are apparently shaped more like 8s though.

I think it had something to do with the fact that an 8 is the symbol for infinity rotated through 90 degrees. That’s what the guy told me, but I’m sure there’s something missing. If you know the answer please post it in a comment.