09 August 2006

Bangkok - 3rd Training Day

At the office, I checked mail for answers to thing I asked the day before. The students were on time again, class went well. After an overview of PTM and a demo of entering a trial, they spent most of the day entering trial data. Some system problems kept the total number of trials entered lower than I liked but everyone got something in.

The fruit plates today contained a new delicacy…mangosteen. I’d read about these so I was glad to try them. Yum! They’re my new favorite Thai fruit. The Thais call them the queen of fruits (because of the ‘crown’ at the stem end) and I agree, based on taste! I also tried a dessert at lunch with sticky rice, coconut milk and durian fruit. The dessert was ok. I can see where Philip got the “garbagy onion smell” part. They do taste better than they smell but it was not one of my favorites.

We left the office around 6 or 6:15. Most of them went right to the night market. Dave and I went to the hotel then to a market we hadn’t been to, near the Sukhumvit station.

It turned out to be not what we expected… Or we didn’t know what to expect. We took a left off the station and there were some street vendors but nothing much. It looked like a “locals” street. We went around the block and it got more and more “native.” Then we came to the entrance of a neon alley. Neon lights flooded the alley and it was wall-to-wall clubs of the sort Bangkok nightlife is famous for…Jungle Jim’s, Rawhide, Apache, stuff in Thai we couldn’t read but obviously advertised delights of the feminine sort.

Dave said later that he found a reference to the alley in one of his city guides and that it was called Soi Cowboy (Cowboy Alley) and was, indeed, one of the famous/infamous sex show/club streets of Bangkok…300 meters containing about 40 clubs and bars. When we walked out the other end we were only 20 yards or so from the sub station. Had we turned right instead of left leaving the station, it would have been the first thing we came to.

We got back on the subway and returned to the Suan Lum night market at the Lumphini station. We got off and immediately ran into Tom (from Philippines) waiting for the others. We chatted a while then we went our way while he waited for the others to collect and decide where they wanted to eat supper.

We tried to hit a different section of the market than we’d seen on our previous trip. Mostly we just wandered. Dave was still on a tablecloth mission. He ended up with silk boxers for his son. I got 2 pair of ‘beach pants’…one deep red with gold dragons down the legs and one in a black/white native pattern (450 Baht total, a little less than $12).

We found our way to the beer garden and sat down. Dave got a Tiger beer (in a HUGE bottle) and I got a bottle of water (100 Baht, about $2.50). The ‘garden’ space is huge…like half a football field…and lined all around the outside with food and drink establishments. Each place has its own “girls” to serve you. If you get a Tiger girl, that’s the beer you drink. Don’t select from all of them.

The band stopped/broke not long after we sat down then a bunch of people in fancy dress got on stage and we all stood for the national anthem. After that, the big screens played soccer video.
Dave finished his beer, I my water, then we left. It was after 10 by then.

I must have been adjusting to the time change…I wasn’t ready for bed when we got back so I looked through the stack of Bangkok Post (English language) newspapers that had been tucked under my door daily and I hadn’t looked at. I didn’t really read anything but the Sunday comics section. I went to sleep and only woke up once in the night then slept until the alarm.Tomorrow is ‘graduation day’…we brought dream-catchers to give all the students and I tatted some hearts for Jeab and the other assistant who helped us so much.