It looks as if the hot weather and heavy humidity might have been behind my lethargy problem the last couple of weeks. The drought finally broke last week, with some small rain showers here but flooding in Bangkok, and with the rain, lower temperatures. So, instead of 96-98 degrees with bright sun, it’s more like 88-92, but with cloud cover.
So, my energy has returned and time for some exploring. First, however, I tried some more fishing, having previously deciding to wait until the weather changed. My friend Yat was on the beach so I took the opportunity to show him my new toy.
About a month or so ago, I went to the tackle store on Soi 55 for some weights and hooks. The owner has a lot of cool fishing tackle but his displays are awful and you usually have to ask for something in order to be able to find it. I asked the owner about a cast net like the kind I used in Florida for bait catching.
I previously bought a bait net from this shop but it is the kind they use here that does not have a draw string to collapse the net around the bait. The net was useless to me. I explored buying one online, and it’s possible, but the shipping was twice the cost of the 5-foot net – $78 total for product and shipping.
I asked the local shop owner if he could get the tpe of net I wanted. To my surprise, he understood what I was after and said he could order it for me, but that it would be expensive. I told him as much as 2,000 baht would be fine, about $50.
To my surprise last week when I returned for more end tackle, he had the net I wanted. At the price I wanted. Actually, he had more than one, as his wife (I assume) went into the back and came out with a 4-foot model. When I said it was a litle small, she went to the back again and came out with a 5-footer. Perfect! Not sure what else they had in the back but this net – an extravagance I know – was sort of like having a little bit of home here with me in Thailand. It cost 1,700 baht.
Anyway, when I showed it to my fishing friend Yat, he was impressed – until I told him what it cost. He and his friend just rattled on and on about the net after that, as I went into the surf to show off my form, there being no bait to catch.
When I leave Thailand, Yat will inherit my new fishing toy.
A visit to the touted railway station
With my new found energy and a late afternoon cloud cover, I decided Tuesday to do something touristy, which I really enjoy, and go see the touted railway station, camera in tow. This was/is to be the first of at least weekly sojourns to local places of interest, where I can also explore adjoining neighborhoods on foot. I was going to also take in the Grand Night Market a couple of streets away, but it turns out the one night the market is closed is Tuesday, so another time.
My trip started with the wait for the songtaew public taxi and a ride to Soi 78, where it’s just two short blocks west to the station, which was surrounded on three sides by retail development. Lots of shops selling trinkets and clothes, food stalls, massage parlors, a stand selling blue jeans.
After circling the station for pictures, I headed off down the road to explore. Soi 78 is just two blocks from the Soi 80 bar district, which has an interesting street running alongside made up primarily of two-story townhomes. I’ve been curious to see if there are any rentals there.
When I finally found the street, I discovered a number of two-story townhomes with for rent signs, so I started writing down phone numbers. I’ve still got 6 weeks on my lease but it doesn’t hurt to check ahead of time.
There were Thais everywhere. Just what I want.
As I walked the street, I noticed a Westerner inside the carport area of one home and asked him about the area. Turned out to be a guesthouse he was staying at, but he did direct me to a woman down the street who handles some rentals. As luck would have it, Prinda was outside and spoke good English. She offered to show me the one unit that was available.
The townhomes look about 15-20 years old, with some outside wear and tear, but acceptable. Each one has a carport with a metal security gate.
The unit I looked at is a 2-bedroom, 2-bath, furnished, A/C, TV, fans, but no washing machine. I’m not fond of having to climb stairs but. Inside was very musty, indicating no one had lived there in awhile. It looks like I would have to supply linens, as well as a water boiler, and have to revert to doing laundry by hand if I moved there. There were laundries on the street but they typically are much more expensive here than they were in Batam ($12 per week vs. $6).
The upsides: the Grand Market is two streets away, there is a grocery at the end of the street and at least one 7-11 a block away, not to mention food everywhere within a block or two. Still a short taxi to the main mall or to the bintabaht bar area, but the Soi 80 bar area, for good or for bad, is the next street over. So playing pool would be easier. And instead of a long walk to hail a taxi, they gather at the end of the street. And while there are a few expats living on the street, it looks like there are mostly Thais living there. Essentially, the street is located in the middle of town.
I told Prinda my situation and that I might be interested in renting a place in July. The place I viewed may not be available then but she represents several others and there were still others for rent along the street. BTW, the rent on the townhome I viewed is 10,000 baht/month, my current rent.
During my exploration, I took a number of photos just to provide real-life insights into life here. For some reason, as I hastily wrote down phone numbers for rentals, I failed to take pictures of the townhomes.
There’s always a lot of traffic around 4 pm when the Hua Hin schools close for the day. Outside the schools, parents wait for their children among a maze of street vendors selling drinks and snacks for the kids.