Discovering the world on $20 per day ......................

Post 129: Chai Nat, Thailand

I’ve been installed in room 230 at the Chai Nat Thanee Hotel and to the best of my knowledge, … I am quite possibly the only guest here. I’m quite shocked when I arrive on the Honda, I’ve followed Pa in her car, … my friends here are possibly worried that I will scoff at a smaller cheaper hotel, the Hotel Thanee is by far the best room in town. They believe that as a European I expect certain things in life; a comfortable bed, clean linen and fresh drinking water straight from the tap, a bath and a shower, MTV and air conditioning, .. they have little concept of camping on the Amur Highway. On first sight, I worry that the Hotel Thanee will break the £20 per day budget, … but this is rural Thailand, …. £8 per night, …. thank you very much.

Pa apologises for the rain and humidity as if the rainy season were somehow her own fault. We go to dinner on the banks of the river, .. a floating restaurant of sorts where the food is delicious and the service attentive. The price of the meal is reasonable, I get change from 200TB (£3), ….. lots of change in fact. Europeans are strangers in these parts but the attention that I receive is humorous, never invasive or annoying. The Thai people are, if treated with respect, the most amazing people to spend time with. Rich or Poor they ‘give’, because that is their nature. By the evening’s end we are chatting with the staff, they are embarrassed to ask questions directly, .. they fear that they will inadvertently offend me, …. beyond anything else, .. they want to ensure that my time in Chai Nat leaves me with only the fondest of memories, … they need not worry on that score.

Tomorrow we will visit the Chai Nat National Bird Park and again Pa apologises, … ‘the park is very beautiful but unfortunately no birds, ….. bird flu’. It is said with the warmest of smiles making it impossible for me to tell if she is serious. She wonders why I cannot stay longer, why I must return to Bangkok on Wednesday, .. ‘Wednesday is too soon’. Looking into eyes that are filled with life and mischief, … I am beginning to think that she may possibly be right. I try to explain that in Bangkok on Thursday I have a ‘Job’, a job similar to my job at home in London. On Thursday 14th August 2008, ‘Blue88’ will become quite possibly Bangkok’s first ever British ‘Motorcycle Taxi Boy’. I do not expect to make any money and any that I do make will go straight back to the Taxi Boys who have agreed to help me. They hold out very little hope for my success, …… but they are still far more confident than I am. The boys feel that a good result for me would be ‘300TB’ (£5). I on the other hand feel that as results go, ‘Alive’ will suffice.

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