Splash Out

I hoped a wallow in the surf at Mae Rampehung beach today might turn a corner for the infected leg and bike accident wounds.

They cleaned out, but a few hours later are as swollen as before. Maybe it’s an overnight cure.

I had an alterior motive for going to the beach. Yesterday at Makro’s ( the King Kong of bulk food bargain stores ) I ran into a couple of English Likely Lads. They’d been in Thailand for 6 years, up North at Khon Kean.

On eyeing my cheese-laden trolley, one says he has cheaper, better cheese, which he imports in bulk. Today, I went to find out, and indeed, it was so. Blue cheese and cheddar, good quality stuff, for around the same price as back home.
Not only that, bacon galore, at bargain prices.

Meat is cheap in Thailand, and it’d be very easy to live in Pork, eggs, and fish. I almost do.

So cheap that while at Makro, I decided it was time to cash in on it. I haven’t done so already, because the only cooking equipment I have is a kettle, and microwave. So I gambled on a rice cooker, thinking that it would work like a slow cooker. And voila, perfectly slow-cooked pigs trotters last night!

A couple of days ago, I got very tired of hunting down early-opening local coffee shops. So I bought a filter coffee-maker. While it’s way better than instant, experts tell me it’s all in sourcing the good beans. So that’s next.

After pay-day this month fell on the 28th, below is an assortment of my recent extravagances.

Out of the Woods

It seems good things, as well as bad, come in threes.

And good things came yesterday in the form of news.

No chop-chop

First, the hospital doctor who originally treated me told that I was in no danger of losing ( to amputation )  the injured leg or foot. Yes, it would have been an extreme outcome, but Mr. Neurotic over here worries about such things.

The Thai doctor showed a lot of grace and patience in explaining the situation in [ good enough ] English to this farang.

Along the way, I learned that it seems (m)any Thai public service interfaces – e.g. Hospital waiting rooms, consulates, police clearance check  – operate with all the order of savannah watering holes . But despite that, they work, in a clunky kind of way, based often on numbered paper chits, as opposed to our more familiar electronic systems.

Police Clearance

Som, AKA God

Anyway, all that aside, I also got back the rersults of the Thai police clearance check on did way back on May 27th.  I didn’t insist on sighting it myself but was told by English Teachers’ sorceress Som  ( a.k.a ‘God’ when it comes to anything bureaucratic ) that it was all fine. Sometimes it’s best not to question God.

So that’s one more step along the long and winding road of getting my teacher’s .. permit ( ? ), clearance( ? ).

Time Off

The above Som had ordered me to get a doctor’s certificate during the follow-up. Of course, that started more fretting about what mysterious bureaucratic machinations may be afoot.

On being asked, the doctor originally wanted to stipulate something like two months’ ( or was it 6? ) rest. But when I explained to him that that would probably leave me jobless and on a plane back home, he reconsidered. We settled on two weeks (  from date of accident 19th June to July 3 ).

When I got back to the office with that, a co-worker, Janet, explained that the school takes doctor’s certficates seriously. I would be fine taking the directed rest, and paid. Janet is a Filipino who has been at the school foreever, and whose English is as good as  ( better than many   ) a native speaker’s. So I’m betting she can be relied upon.

So, I now have about five days to get the foot ( much more ) right. I’ll also be using the time to do schoolwork via Google Classroom.

 

 

Drama queen?

Im a highly-strung sort, which has its own challenges.

As GrandMaster Flash said way back “don’t push me cos I’m close to the eedge / I’m trying not to / lose my head”.

That high-stringing, fuelled by an active imagination conjuring up the worst, sometimes feels close to snapping.

That’s the case with this damned leg.

I’d like a document – signed in blood and promising a first-born sacrifice – reassuring me that my ( very swollen ) leg is safe from the bogeyman of amputation.

I don’t know whether the document or the amputation is less likely.

But at times like these, far from home and with a language barrier – the imagination runs amok.

The leg feels a little better, but I’m not convinced I’m out of the woods yet.

A GP visit yesterday shed no further light.

I’m banking on a scheduled follow-up visit to the hospital tomorrow will put an end to my grappling.

Meanwhile, most things are more of a struggle than they need to be.

 

 

 

Recovery

A Little Progress

It may not look like it, but this is progress.

A couple of days of scrambling, with no clear plan, had left the wounds pus-filled and looking ugly, threatening.

I tried Iodine yesterday. That hurt. It’s hard to know whether that’s the good kind of hurt ( that pain when the body is working hard to fix something ) or not.

Then the landlord turns up to look at the WiFi. On his return, armed with a potion, he explains that he’s a traditional Thai doctor. ‘Leave the wound open, at least inside, and don’t put stuff directly on it, rather in the surrounding skin’. I thought so.

This morning at least the bloody things are ‘closed’ up.

Another One Bikes the Dust


A couple of seconds of lapse, or stupidity, and everything comes undone.

One second yer cruising along, overloaded like the Beverley Hillbillies, on your way to a new abode. The next,  bits of your ensemble and pride are spread out all over the road. Half a dozen Thais are leaning over you, eager to help, and something hurts.

“..overloaded like the Beverley Hillbillies”

It’s yer foot, dumbass. It’s stuck under the bike, and it hurts.

It got there when you lost concentration, and forgot the heavy ( 25kg ? ) suitcase loaded on the back of the bike. You were cruising along at maybe 35 – 40 km, forgetting an upcoming corner. When it came, you leaned into it to get around, which is when the bike went down.You persuade the smal crowd of beseechers to help me re-load the suitcase onto the bike, and complete the move. You send the school dramatic post-accident photos, as proof of legitimate skiving from work. You look like an escapee from a hospital ward, and you are in no condition to be in front of teenagers.

The pic I sent to my boss

The H.O.D English at the school persuades you to go to hospital. That eventually tells you you have fractured four metatarsals ( toe-bones ) in your foot. The thing looks like a swollen aubergine.

My Xiang Guan shoes I paid $25 for @ AliExpress a while ago. Ripped during the accident. Glad I was wearing them.

But the visit is costly. Not too bad financially ( 1600 b ). But they keep stretching the time before agreeing to discharge me, taking an ultra-conservative approach. First, they scare you into staying overnight. Then the spectre of surgery is raised. Then they demand I show them I can use crutches. Then I need to tell them who is picking me up ( they want to ensure payment ). All of which add up to a lot of stress – sleep is hard to come by, it’s stifling hot, they won’t always give you fresh water top-ups, the food is really bad, and you’re a curiosity to the other patients.

It’s not fun, and I almost blew a gasket once or twice at this …. [ splutter ] … incarceration.

Home now, and I think I’m expected at work tomorrow. But right now, I can’t see how they can realistically expect to put me in front of a bunch of teenagers. And be taken seriously.

Which may mean – if I have no income –  my adventure is nearing its end.

Watch this space.

 

On the move … again

An unpleasant surprise this morning means I’m now on the lookout for new digs again.

Apartments here are x per month, plus y for ‘energy’, and z for water. I knew what I paid for x, of course ( 5500 baht / month ), but a meter reading this morning showed that y  was closer to 2y.

It didn’t help that hotel staff flubbed the initial meter reading. I had to go through a huge routine five days into my stay to have it checked. When it turned out that I’d used as much power as a small Las Vegas casino, questions were asked. The answer was that they re-read it, and started ‘ground zero’ from there.

So I went on my merry way, running the air-conditioner and the fridge, and thinking nothing of it. Until this morning I realised my days were numbered ( my month is up June 19 ), and wrangled to have the meter read again. The news wasn’t good.

Queries to two other English teachers who’ve lived some time in Thailand confirmed that the bill was on the excessive size, in the region of 2200 baht / month.

The new ‘hood – maybe

So I’m on the lookout again.  I think I might look around the area of the Star Night Bazaar. Dozens of small shops, an open food market every night, and a dedicated vege market. Not to mention coffee shops, and a couple of larger supermarkets in the vicinity.

Maybe 3 – 5 minutes extra travelling time to work.

My first foray into apartment hunting threw up a depressingly small and seedy outfit ( 3000 baht / month ). But I’m sure there are liveable pads there which won’t break the bank.

I have about five days, and the timing has been on my side – today ( Thursday ), and Friday, the school has decided to decamp all of their students to the outdoors.

Foreign teachers have to check in pre-8 a.m. and out post-4.30pm, but otherwise we have two extra days ‘holiday’.

Embedded

Just noticed this on my desk this afternoon. Does this mean I’m embedded? Or ensconced? And like the other ( native English-speaking )  teachers, it’s spelled out in full.

I ride and I ride…

More madness on the roads today as I swapped scooters for the 4th time in a month.

Today’s swap happened early after the owner of the old model went sour on me very fast.

Oh yeah – the new machine

It unravelled after I messaged her saying my scooter contract time was almost up. And did she want to drop her prices considering what a fine customer I’d been, and that someone else was offering a rental at about half her prices.

I’ve been paying 4000 baht / month. Compared with 500 baht / DAY when I got to Rayong. And to the new offer of 2300 baht / month from an operator up the road in big bad Pattaya.

A songthaew. These run everywhere within the city, and sometimes without it as well. Typical cost 15 baht.

I took a taxi van ( 80 baht ! Rayong to Pattaya ) and songthaew ( 15 baht Rayong south to bus station ) to Pattaya this morning to pick the scooter up.

The attitude here in Rayong is ‘those are Pattaya prices’, and they won’t bother trying to compete. What I think they’ll find is that probably sooner rather than later they’ll be facing extinction as newer nimbler creatures move in with their better-adapted habits.

So during texting about returning the current bike , the owner blew a fuse somewhere.  She started complaining that she’d made a mistake renting the bike to me! I’m not kidding. A mistake. One which netted her 4500 baht,including deposit.

She called in a boyfriend, apparently, to translate, but still headway was not being made. Then I suggested she refund me the bond plus days for early return, and she’s suddenly all cream and blueberries. It’s beyond me.

I turned up with a fellow teacher at the school, a level-headed science type, and a fine chap to boot.

She was all smiles.

So am I now. I have a cheaper AND better bike, and no longer have to deal with FrankenRenter.

I rode my fellow teacher back into town to pick his bike back up, and since I was in the ‘hood, had to help myself to a second dinner at the

Outside Rayong Bus Terminal #1, and the Star Night Market…

All’s well that ends well.

Shiny New Visa

Yes, I’m legit now. Kind of.

But at a cost – I  spent 66 hours on the road, between leaving and returning to Rayong. About 32 of those were spent sitting on a bus. About 8 of them asleep.

For now, here are some pictures. More later.