Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Hatyai Part 3: Getting Thai-ed up

This is sort of a contiunation of my Hat yai experience
as well as some observations of my general experience in Thailand

for those who know me, and have read about my misadventures would know that I'm not afraid to walk during my travels
most of it is because I don't usually budget or like the thought of spending quite a sum on just transportation
In this case, in order to get back from the Hat Yai municipal park, I'd have to take a tuk tuk...
and when travelling alone, this can be a very expensive affair... same reason why I avoid taking taxi's if possible
So my only alternative would be to hoof it in the direction of the city..
The problem was I was hoping to come by some motors who would be able to get me back to my hotel
unfortunately, there never seems to be one when I needed it...
I came across 2 but those were already in the city
and thought since I've already come so far, I don't need their help..
I of course would regret it as this decision cost me another 1 hour to my eventual 2 hour journey
wondering around the unfamiliar city
taking one wrong turn after another...
I guesss this wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't for the sporadic rains
and the fact I was lugging around more than 4 kilo's in camera equipment
eventually though, a kind soul saw me resting and bewildered at the only city map I could find
gave me directions to Diana shopping mall which was the only landmark I knew near my hotel anyway,
it was another 2 kilometres but I marched on with renewed vigor and determination
good thing I didn't miss another turning though as I soon relaised that the places look very different in the dark.

Anyway this was observation #1 rain.
rain in Thailand during monsoon season is like Australia AND Malaysia
The rain here can be clear one moment and pouring the next
and unlike in Australia (well my Melbourne experience anyway) it actually pours for long periods of time
though sometimes alternating between light drizzles and heavy rain (literally, the kind that smacks you in the face)

for #2 Thai,
I had to wait for the next day when I decided what to do while waiting for the floating market to open in the evening.
you would think that it is obvious that everything in Thailand is in Thai
I guess it wasn't as obvious to me when I decided to catch a movie,
and decided to check out the new cinema at the Diana
unfortunately the only English show was Harry Potter...
or so I thought... as soon as the lights went out I sensed something amiss as the titles came out in the Harry Potter font...
but it said something like Harr Yotter... or something like that...
and instead of subtitles as I expected... the movie was dubbed in Thai!...
but it was indeed worth my 100 baht for the experience though I wouldn;t repeat it any time soon
One of my cultural shock was after the trailers (Which was about a Thai movie),
when a Thai symbol appeared on the screen, and suddenly everyone in the theatre stood at attention!
I soon realise why as the next frame mentioned something about the king,
and having been briefed on Thailand quite a few years ago I realised how much they reverred the man
and rightfully so...
So of course I joined in, nervously standing to attention as they had like a history reel played to some tune
you'd think that that would be the end of my logic oversight...
nooope... as I was looking for some reading material for my van ride, I noticed FHM with english titles...
I considered this buying just to see the difference from Malaysian issues but decided to save my 100 baht...
good thing too as I managed to flip through an opened issue at a later time
and discovered that they indeed had english titles.. but that was it...
all the articles were fully Thai littered with some english terms
you'd think I'd be less surprised since this was not my first visit...
and communicating with Thai's you realise that is pretty much their world...
unless you're from a more exposed area of Thailand, English is total foreign to them...
even at border towns, they're more versed in Mandarin, Hokkien and Malay then any English...
with my limited languages It's a wonder I've survived this long...

#3 transportation & services
This has been something that has plagued me on all my journeys...
The usual mode of transportation around small towns are usually motors,
so it's easy to sport them with their yellow or red vests as they transport their passengers to and fro
I usually have to consider long and hard if it's worth the cost of taking a ride with them
the rides usually range anywhere from 30 baht to 300 baht depending on the location and the time
and since there are no meters there is no way to tell if that is fair
However I usually don't like to bargain as I realise that as much as say 200 baht may be to me for transportation
I calculate that even if that's their hourly gain...(unlikely they get a passenger every hour)
in a month that probably still won't reach 20,000 baht..
and here I complain about my hours and pay....!
However sometimes it's hard to see the logic of the costs as taking long journeys are sometimes cheaper!
for example.. from my hotel to the bus station in Hat Yai cost me 30 Baht... very cheap by all means for a 3 minute ride...
but for a one hour journey to the border costs only 50 baht!..
but of course the number of passengers bring up their profits

Enough talking... time to get back to the photos and travels...

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