A very successful day will end with my moving into my 1-bedroom apartment on Soi (street) 41 a block from the beach. My lady lady will be picking me up.
My day started at 6 am. Couldn’t sleep so went downstairs for some instant coffee and began my apartment hunting plans for the day. Sent emails to several possibilities that I had already contacted but had to wait until about 9 to start making calls.
I had contacted someone while I was in the U.S. about an apartment for 10,000 baht ($275) a month but thought it might be too far from the town center. The manager, however, was eager to show it to me and talked about how close it really was and there was regular taxi service to town, and such. So I said I’d give it a look. She was to pick me up later.
I still needed to exchange my American money so I headed for the Hilton where I found the exchange office the day before. As I walked, I looked for For Rent signs, but all I found were rooms for rent, not apartments. The exchange place was not open so I decided on an Western breakfast at a small restaurant attached to the Hilton. Excellent ham and cheese omelette, toast and pineapple juice for about $8, which is high here but it was Western food, and it was the Hilton.
Walking back I finally found an exchange office that was open, and as I was waiting for my new money I noticed three of them on the same block. I need to find out if my new bank card, when I get one, will be good for any bank’s ATM, or if I will be charged for using a bank I don’t have an account with.
Meanwhile, the apartment manager had been trying to contact me so I headed back to my hotel, where Goi picked me up. The apartment is about a mile north of the town center, in a quiet neighborhood that has some local restaurants, a bakery and a butcher. A block away is the main highway and there are all sorts of shops and stores there, including someplace for fresh vegetables and fruits. There’s also a store where I should be able to stock up my kitchen and find a coffee maker and maybe even a cheap printer.
When we arrived at the apartment, the tenants in the bottom unit came out, an American, his Thai wife and their 2-year-old daughter (adorable). They are moving out in a month and I will move into their first-floor unit then. Besides not having to negotiate the stairs constantly, the bottom unit also has a garden area outside, which will be excellent for my evening meditation.
The apartment is not new but it is clean, with a separate kitchen area and separate bedroom. It has two air conditioners but fans will also be provided, which I prefer. There’s a TV, free Wifi, cable TV, security box.
At that point, I decided to take the apartment. When I got back to my hotel, however, the owner’s sister called. She had been out scouting the in-town area for apartments for me and had one she wanted to show me. The rent was only $203/month, and since she had gone to the trouble, I told her I would look at it.
Her alternative, however, also was a long way from the center of town. A nice older lady met us and showed me the third-floor unit. It was only a small studio, however. I explained that I needed more room and had to have a kitchen.
The trip was not a total loss, however. I asked Furn, who was helping me, if she could also help me open a bank account. I need someone who speaks the language to go with me. She was all for it so I will call her when ready. She will be paid, of course, although I have no idea what is appropriate.
Since I still had some time to kill, and since my new apartment is only a block from the beach and I knew I would want to test it out soon, I decided to purchase the fishing tackle I didn’t bring with me, namely rods, weights, hooks, leaders and lures.
I had found two shops the day before and headed for the nearest one. A nice old lady who spoke zero English helped me as I pointed to stuff in glass cases or on the wall. She would bring the items out and I would have to somehow say the hooks were too small or the weights were too small. We worked it out.
The two fishing rods I bought were real steals. The lighter one was $11 and the heavy one $16. In total, I spent about $40. In the U.S. the end tackle alone would have been almost that much, and the rods would have set me back at least $50 to $100.
So now I’m ready to move into my new home. More on that later.