Escaping the Heat through Words

The following was written 7-16, under the beating fan in my room in Phitsanulok

12:33PM In Phitsanulok now. Or something like that. I can’t figure out how to spell or pronounce it.

Perhaps I was naive, thinking I’d complete the trip with no more worries than where to throw my used toilet paper. Where I’m staying tonight, I’ve finally had to come face-to-face with the horror of an Asian squat toilet.

I suppose they’re not that bad, really. Just odd. There’s not even a pressure washer this time. Just a bucket of water. Luckily, I have a fresh roll of toilet paper with me. The strange thing is that, despite the toilet’s size, there’s only one small little hole for everything to go down, and that one little hole is the only place with water. So if you miss it, it all just kinda sits there. You have to try to wash it down with the bucket of water. And then of course it doesn’t flush, so after you get it in the hole, it all just sits there.

Doesn’t seem like the most intelligent design to me. I must be missing something.

I ordered deep fried shrimp for lunch today, but didn’t expect everything on the plate to come deep fried and battered. Deep fried asparagus? That’s just wrong.

It has been getting progressively hotter as I inch down south (though I’m still in the North). The AC on the bus from Sukhothai today was broken. It was only an hour, but by the time that was through, I was praising the 95F coolness of the open air.

Tomorrow it’s back to Bangkok. I went to buy a seat on the train, thinking that would be more comfortable and scenic than a bus, if slower. Choices with AC were limited, so I had to get on the 8:59AM train, and I’m not sure if I have a wooden seat or what. I will have to wake up early. Luckily the station is only about 3 blocks away.

The guest house here doesn’t provide a top sheet. I’ll have to break out my silk sleeping bag liner tonight.

I don’t yet know where I’ll be sleeping tomorrow, but I’m considering braving Khao San Road. I did my best to avoid it the last time I was in Bangkok. But a trip to Thailand doesn’t seem complete without at least a quick visit to the infamous ghetto.

My flight home is something like 5AM on the 19th, which means I’ll have to spend the night in the airport. Otherwise I’d have to worry about finding a guest house with an insomniac receptionist who would allow me to check out at 3AM, and then try to find a metered taxi. All unlikely.

At least I’ll have plenty of time to get through security…

Thanks to the magic of something-or-other, I think I’m due to arrive in Seattle only 5 hours later at 10AM. That is, as long as the hyperdrive isn’t busted. And Atton isn’t our pilot.

There’s only one thing I want see in Phitsanulok, and that’s a Buddha image in a Wat up north. He’s supposed to have some sort of dragon-flame-halo thing. The map makes it look to be out of walking distance in this heat, so I’m putting it off.

There are supposed to be a couple tasty boat restaurants on the river up that way. Perhaps I’ll catch a tuk-tuk up there this evening and have dinner after I visit the Wat.

There was a monk eating at the restaurant where I took lunch today. Aren’t they supposed to be, you know, begging and stuff? At least the count of nicotine addict monks is still only 1.

I hope all of you are enjoying reading this, and are thankful for my choosing to publish it. It seems most of the entries are full of my complaints. I suppose that’s the danger of traveling alone, with no one to whine to. I live the good moments as they come, and when I sit down to write, all that’s left is the bad.

There’s some good in it, I think.