Grr

Thursday, June 27, 1996

You know the problem with this technomadism business? To make it work you need good access to the Internet. In Israel I could just take my outgoing mail along to the Internet Cafe on a floppy disk, ftp it up to my isp, send it, then ftp down my incoming mail. Here things aren’t so simple. Last night I visited the Cyberpub in Bangkok, where floppy drives are out of bounds, so my planned brief session became an expensive one.

It’s certainly the smartest Internet Cafe/Pub that I’ve been to, the food was good and I spent a couple of hours there drinking beer and listening to live music. But I couldn’t afford to read or reply to even half my messages. I guess this means you’ll get this message from Singapore!

At lunch I think I finally worked out why I’m still feeling somewhat lethargic at the moment – caffeine withdrawal.

As some of you don’t work in the computer industry, perhaps I should explain. Computer people will put up with a lot of things. Computers keep crashing? Air-conditioning breaks? Major hurricane blows the roof off the building? Terrorist car-bomb explodes in the lobby? No problem – we’re tough, we can handle that. But if the coffee machine breaks down… well, you’d better get it fixed or there’ll be a major mutiny.

Most software is written in a caffeine high, and before I flew out here I was probably drinking ten or fifteen cups a day. Since I arrived I’ve drunk three in five days. So not surprisingly my body is rebelling somewhat. One interesting thing is that now I’m no longer addicted I do actually feel an effect when I drink it, which I’d lost over my years of perpetual coffee-abuse. I suspect this will be good for me once by body finishes adapting.

One thing I will probably be addicted to after I leave is the food. Being able to get good Thai food for a fifth of the price we pay in England is just wonderful. I shall miss it when I go. So far I’ve just been ordering anything that stood out on the menu and on a couple of occasions I’ve had trouble working out how to eat what turned up. I guess it’s like an intelligence test – ‘Given this food and these utensils you have one minute to decide how to eat it’. I haven’t been thrown out yet.

I couldn’t go dancing with Yui in the end because she got stuck in a traffic jam (no joke, you haven’t seen traffic jams until you’ve seen Bangkok). She’s now off visiting her parents so I won’t see her again until I get back from Singapore. Consequently I’ve been being a tourist.

Friday I wandered down to Lumphini Park and spent a pleasant couple of hours wandering around, but was practically boiled alive on the way there and back. I’m not sure I’d try it again in this weather. Saturday I visited the Grand Palace and the Emerald Buddha shrine. I really love the traditional Thai architecture, it’s far more colourful and elaborate than just about anything in England. The place is very much a tourist-haven, so for once I didn’t feel uncomfortable about wandering around with a still camera hung from one shoulder and a camcorder on the other. This is probably why I blew away a couple of films and half a videotape in an afternoon.

I was also accosted by some girls from one of the local schools to be interviewed for their English class project. That was quite fun, though I was stumped by the question about ‘what does Edward mean in English?’ Strange to be in a country where I’m a tourist attraction.

Now that I’m becoming used to Bangkok, I can hardly believe that I only have about four more days here. I definitely expect to come back some day, but my inability to speak Thai has become increasingly frustrating so I think I’d want to learn it to at least an elementary level first. I can get around well enough, but even just ordering food in a restaurant can get quite complicated.

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