Friday, October 20, 2006


Well, I've discovered the worst I.T. idea ever: an internet kiosk that makes you log in again every five minutes, even if you've bought a half hour of time. Oh, well.

I've already lost a couple of emails, and I'm going to 'save as draft' at the end of every line.

Well, the last couple of days have been a complete blur. I wish I had time to tell about everything, but I'll have to get to that later, perhaps in person. Here are a couple of highlights:

1) Pig roast at the orphanage
For our last day at the orphan's home, we bought a pig. It was pretty big, about 250 pounds. Still squealing and snorting, Pete stabbed it through the heart with a sword.

Okay. Just to clarify. It was the pig who was squealing and snorting, not Pete. Oh, and he didn't actually get the sword through the heart, he nicked it, causing it to get dizzy or something. The orphanage director hit it on the head with a shovel a couple of times, and it eventually succummed to the accumulated offenses.

That having been said, it is fair to say that Pete did kill the pig. And he now walks about like a man who has finally tapped into some primal source of courage. We're all quite proud of him, actually, though we're hoping there's no human corrollary to the well-known effect of a gerbil getting his first taste of flesh. I don't want to wake up in a pool of blood with Pete gnawing at my extremities...

2) The cab ride(s) from Hell
Last night, we decided to see what Bangkok was all about, and we took a cab to what we thought (based on the hotel's recommendation) would be the center of shopping and dining in downtown Bangkok. Instead, he cabbie brought us to a large, tacky shopping mall on the far outskirts of town. We didn't even get out of the cab. Thankfully, the cabbie had called an English-speaking friend who conveyed our desires: to be dropped off in the center of the city, in a downtown neighborhood with lots of shopping and dining.

The cabbie then took us toward, but not quite to our intended destination. Julie had to pee quite badly -- she almost ruptured a hose of some sort -- so we asked to be let out in front of a pleasant, but excessively air-conditioned English pub. After a potty stop and a drink, we asked a couple of well-lubricated British chaps for their recommendations.

One of them described a neighborhood that sounded right up our alley. "It's buzzy, exciting, lots of things to see, eat and buy. Parts of it are a bit seedy, but I would take my 85 year old mum to see it."

I'd like to meet this man's 85 year old mum. If I were younger, and possessed less morals, I'd probably want to party with her 'til 3am. We found ourselves in the heart of the district that no doubt inspired the 80s hit, "One Night in Bangkok." I could literally walk no more than 10 paces without being solicited in some sort of an unseemly manner. We quickly made our way toward a less sketchy part of the street and grabbed a couple of appetizers.

Finishing our food, we decided to walk back toward an area that was a little less flashy. We remembered seeing a Thai/Italian restaurant and figured, "How bad could it be?"

Oh, it was that bad. Maybe worse. Almost criminal. We didn't even finish half. Tired of our Bangkok adventure, we pulled out our handy little hotel card (with map and phone numbers to help the cabbie hie us safely home) and found the first cabbie who agreed to a price point falling below the international standard for highway robbery.

Well, seems our cabbie friend was on his first day in the country. He had no idea where he was going. Unfortunately, he didn't tell us this until we had already driven a half hour. He communicated this by pulling to the side of a road in neighborhood that looked nothing like our hotel's, pointing to the card, looking at me and saying, "Where it is?"

"Where it is" indeed. He then demanded we pay 4 times our negotiated price. Upon refusal, he ordered us out of the cab. I politely, but firmly refused and suggested we enlist the local police to help us negotiate. We finally reached a price to which we both grudgingly agreed, and headed out toward our hotel. Instead of taking the freeway, which would have made the most sense, we took city streets, which added about an hour to our trip. By the time we arrived, we were all ready to kill each other, and maybe even ourselves.

Now we're all on speaking terms and ready to head to the airport for our return home. I promise to post more pictures, including the grisly pig murder ones as soon as I return.

See you all soon. Much love!

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