August 7th, 2006

Day 14: Trat to Bangkok, and a new suit

We got up late this morning and departed the sleepy town of Trat at 10:30 for the bustling metropolis of Bangkok. The bus ride was uneventful and took about 5-6 hours. I spent the time reading Mateo's book on the history of Cambodia. I am up to the Angkorian era (from 802 CE to the 12th C.).

When we got to Bangkok it really felt like we were coming home. We only spent three days here before, but it is all so familiar here. We know the streets, our guesthouse, the transit system, etc. We don't feel too out of place here, despite it being noisy on the street. :)

Our plans have changed since yesterday as well. We still plan on going to Chiang Mai, but we are going to save it for near the end of the trip. After a nonstop week in Cambodia we both really need a vacation from vacationing before we go off on another wild trek, like Chiang Mai. Therefore, we are taking a bus to southern Thailand tomorrow and the next day will take a boat (goodness help us) to the island of Ko Tao for about a week or so. We might do the weekend in Ko Samui, which is close to Ko Tao, but that is still up in the air. Ko Tao is a popular island, but not as much as Ko Samui, which is the island that MTV does its Thailand stuff on. Mateo really wants to see what a "party island" is like, so we are going to check that out for at least a day.

It should be a good break from the running around we have been doing. We will head back to Bangkok in a little over a week and from there visit Chiang Mai for a trekking tour. Honestly, it is all revolving around some important paperwork I need to get a work visa for my new job in Japan. The company I will be working for, ALTIA Central, is applying for some paperwork that will allow me to receive a Japanese work visa in Thailand in three days, but the paperwork might not be ready by the time I leave. If it isn't then I won't be able to work when I return to Japan. What can you do? It is all out of my hands right now.

In other news, I am having a suit tailored for me here. I went down to the garment district (Sukhumvit Soi 3) in Thailand and shopped around for a suit. I finally settled on a shop run by a couple Thailand-born Indian brothers. Most of the tailors in the district are Indian, actually, which was surprising for me. I am getting a three-piece suit (grey stripped) with two shirts (one white stripped and one blue) and a tie for cheaper than I bought a suit in the US at Men's Wherehouse, and about 1/3 the price I would expect to pay in Japan. This is the first suit I will own that is being made by hand just to fit me. I am pretty excited with that idea of getting a hand-tailored suit instead of something just off the shelf. I had the first fitting today, and when I am back in a week and a half, I'll do the second fitting, and right before I leave, I'll have the final fitting done. If I get a real Japanese desk job (which might actually happen for me within six months if I play my cards right), I will be wearing suits much more often then I do now. Honestly, I only have occasion to wear a suit three of four times a year these days, but I still like doing it.

OK, that is it for today. I will leave you all with a question: In Thailand and Cambodia Sex Tourism is a large and unregulated industry. Most of us agree that there is something ethically wrong about sex tourism (that is selling sex as a service to tourists), but what things in particular do you find disagreeable with it? And how could the trade be improved to make it more ethically responsible? Let me know what you think.

Until next time, take care.

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