Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Thoughts on Thailand...

We're almost about to cross over into Cambodia, so here goes with some of the highlights of our time in Siam....

The food in Thailand has been a welcome respite to the bland & nasty fare of Hong Kong (a few HK vego-specific restaurants aside). Here we've enjoyed an absolute plethora of vego delights. Despite previous vehement assertions to the contrary, Gaby's attitudes to coconuts have taken a turn to the positive, to the point that she's pretty much hooked on them... And it's cheap - even in a restaurant, several courses each, with drinks etc rarely runs over 450 baht all up - that's something like nine Aussie dollars each at most for our biggest meal of the day. Too many times we've had to politely insist that enough food for maybe four regular patrons is just about right for our cyclo-touring needs....

The roads here are pretty good, and the traffic flow would prolly be best described as 'organic' - where else in the world would trucks on the highway politely slow down and gently swerve so as to allow cyclists to cross 3 lanes of sparse traffic just to get away from marauding wild dogs and the splash-happy bucket-wielding mobs celebrating Song Kran (the New Year's water festival) On the whole we've been perfectly well-respected on the roads - much in contrast to our experiences in Australia, particularly in NSW.

One thing though that kinda pissed us off is the unacceptably selfish way in which a few key geographical features of interest have had the galling temerity not to position themselves within even 20km of where the Lonely Planet GuideBook, and our plastic Canadian-made Map quite clearly locate them...

One night a bit East of Bangkok
we found ourselves directed to the appropriate local motel. At first it seemd mostly harmlessly kitsch, but on closer inspection turned out to be quite 'romantic'.
Now that we're experienced in such things,and would like to perhaps avoid such places in future, here are some distinguishing features that might help one to determine whether it's actually a brothel...
  • The street sign is the silhouette of a stripper leaning erotically on the Eiffel Tower, in pinky-red neon.
  • The Check-in process involves no paperwork/ID, and you pay by the hour- through a tiny slot.
  • There are heavy curtains over the entrances to the covered parking spaces.
  • There are no windows, other than the enormous voyeuristically candid one that makes using the bathroom a whole lot less private.
  • The bed comes only with a slippy pink synthetic sheet over the lumpily stiff and uneven vinyl-covered 'mattress'. And a top-sheet/blanket for which costs extra, since it's unnecessary.
  • The 'shower' is a hose that doesn't reach any further above the waist than absolutely necessary for a quick rinse.
  • There are upholstered interlocking hearts on the walls and ceiling.
  • The walls are papered in a dizzying embossed vinyl straight from the imagination of the acid-wasted bastard love-child of Willy Wonka and Dolores Umbridge. And the carpet was even worse.
  • Oh, and there's a bunch of girls discreetely hanging around out the back...
Check out the pics on flickr

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