In the land of the white people


I saw an egret today.

That was later, after a tiring trip to the upscale mall here – Market Village. I needed to fill in all the gaps of what I need around here, such as a spare set of sheets, electric hot plate and fry pan, mop, broom, all sorts of plastics, and on, and on. So it was off on the first shopping adventure.

Inside the cab of the 10 baht taxi

Inside the cab of the 10 baht taxi

The trip starts with catching an open-air taxi/truck half a block away. The fare is 10 baht (30 cents) no matter how far you go. Where I live and where the Market Village is are about on opposite ends of the taxi service route. It’s about a 20-minute ride because there are a few stops.

This was a fairly easy routine, although I had envisioned all sorts of difficulties. My fears would materialize later, when I took another taxi ride to hell. But this first trip was no sweat, and I was dropped off in front of this shiny, new metal and glass facade. Inside were numerous upscale clothing stores, jewelry stores, shoes, sports clothing, restaurants, a food court, and the Tesco “all sorts of stuff” store. Kind of like a Walmart. That was my destination.

The task was simple: go up and down each and every aisle, grabbing what I needed until my large shopping cart was bulging. This was going to be expensive.

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I was struck my the fact almost all the shoppers were white. And old.

After checkout, I was left with too much stuff to carry, so I kept the cart and managed to find a way out of the mall (after several failed attempts) and to the main street, where the taxi services were.

market villageI had planned to take a tuk-tuk back home for the experience but they wanted 200 baht, or about $6.50. That was obviously a tourist ripoff so I said no, and waited for my 10 baht taxi to arrive. Of course, once the taxi dropped me off near my apartment, I was still left with trying to literally drag my haul the rest of the way. In the hot midday sun.

It was a good workout but now the apartment is mostly stocked. I don’t even need to go to the morning market for food for a few days. My camera is looking forward to that trip.

I did have a visitor in the afternoon, my 2nd floor neighbor coming up to ask if the cable TV guy could crawl out my bedroom window to install the cable. We watched as he precariously, without a safety device, crawled out on the severely sloped roof. He’s a Brit who has been in real estate in other Thai locations and has been in Hu Hin about  six months. So now I know five people here.

And I arranged to meet a sixth person online that evening, when my unexpected adventure took place. The meeting was to take place at the same Market Village so I took the 10 baht taxi back into town. The ride, however, turned almost sinister.

Market Village front entrance

Market Village front entrance

The driver first went off route to make a personal delivery of a young Thai woman, and then proceeded to drive fast through numerous small streets. He was obviously not taking the normal, main road route, but I thought he was going on some shortcut. He wasn’t. We ended up parked next to another taxi in a sort of abandoned area. There was an outside restaurant next door, which helped to alleviate my growing concerns, but it did occur to me that I had been taken someplace I didn’t know and was at the mercy of several burly taxi drivers. I prepared for self defense, whatever that means.

Eventually, we were back on the road again and I had the driver drop me off where I thought the mall was. Turned out it was another 500 meters’ walk.

But once I made it to the mall I could not find the meeting location, so I called the person and found out she had fallen asleep. So here I was on the other side of town with nothing to do. Seemed like a good opportunity to check out the bar district while I was there so I hailed a tuk-tuk, who took me to the district for “only” 100 baht ($3).

Market Village front entrance

Market Village front entrance

Once there, I was about as disoriented as I could be and just decided to walk around. Stopped into one bar with two pool tables and played with a woman who has obviously seen better days, had a drink, and moved on. Still hadn’t had dinner so I finally decided to head home – except I was accosted by several young ladies outside a massage parlor. I let them know I was not interested and I learned the massage part was just a ruse. The girls were actually selling “happy endings” for $30 each, plus the 300 baht charge for the massage, which I assume was rarely given.

I was basically lost so I couldn’t find where my 10 baht taxi might be found (not that I was interested in reliving my previous experience so soon) so I hired a tuk-tuk for 150 baht ($5) to get home.

I did find some time at end of day to fish a little, using my big rig and a piece of the fish I caught the day before.

I did find some time at end of day to fish a little, using my big rig and a piece of the fish I caught the day before. This is when I saw the egret, the first shore bird I’ve seen here. It would have made my day if a great blue heron showed up, but I know that’s not possible. Haven’t seen any pelicans either.

 

About 2bagsandapack

Lifetime journalist, author, magazine editor and publisher, now semi-retired and traveling the world. My plan, after living in Costa Rica for 14 months, was to visit a new country in southern Europe every three months to experience the culture and the challenge of adapting to a new environment, while on a fixed income. That plan was sidetracked when I was offered a job in Indonesia, providing an opportunity to explore Asia. Indonesia lasted for a 4 wonderful years but I have now moved on to Hua Hin, Thailand.
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