Well, it's my first time in Asia but that's just the start of it. I've also had my first close encounter with a cut throat razor. I was going to say a close shave but the beard has stayed. I had a beard trim and prune from a little old man with an old fashioned barbers chair.
A few minutes gesturing and checking he understood what I wanted and off he went. A full thirty minutes later, and after lots of pampering and final adjustments and I was done. 45 pence well spent I thought as I walked two doors down to get some passport photos taken for my visas into Laos and Cambodia.

Two minutes in front of the camera and a few more spent artfully manipulating the pictures with photoshop to take away the panda eyes caused by my sunglasses and then adding a suit and tie to make me look respectable and I think I should have no problems at the border crossings. Another 1.80 well spent. I could have treated myself to my first ever pigs head from a mobile butcher but decided against that one.
The Thai people are so friendly and willing to help that I am often led to a hotel by someone on a scooter in the small towns where the signs are not in English. I have already received a couple of lifts into town and back again when walking from my hotel on the couple of occasions that the hotel is not in the town itself. When they see a foreigner walking along a deserted road everyone seems to stop to see what the problem is. I'm just not sure what I would do when I get stopped and there are already three or four on the scooter though. Would it be rude to turn them down ? The most I have seen on one scooter so far is five, so perhaps I will take them up on the offer.

One meal that I had on the street was preceded by a guy calling "manoo manoo riveroo". It was only after he made a kicking motion that I realised he was saying Man U, Liverpool. They are mad for the English premier league over here and it earned me a special meal just for being able to understand him. The bowl arrived with about 15 chickens feet in it. Not legs. Feet. They are not for eating but just to add flavour. And I have to say, they sure did the job. I don't think I have ever seen that before.

One problem i have had is ordering food. It's easy enough to say "I'm hungry" in Thai. This will get you the equivalent of the dish of the day, but ordering specific dishes is near on impossible unless the menu is in English too. One day I was served shrimps with rice. I don't eat shrimps. I'm not sure when I made that decision but it's something I have never eaten as far as I can remember. Being hungry though I decided to give it a try. No problem. One more 'first' to add to the list.

My fist Asian border crossing and re-crossing has gone without a hitch.

I experienced my first Asian hail storm last night. Everyone is talking about the strange weather we are having. It's unusual to see any rain at this time of year, and for many it was the first time they saw hail stones too. Not sure how long this will last but I hope that it won't continue. One good thing about a rain storm here though is that it comes with a warning. Each storm has been preceded by lots of thunder and about a minute of light rain before the deluge. It's over quickly too allowing people to get on with what they were doing.
Well it had to happen sooner or later. Last night I was refused permission to take my bike into my room at a hotel. Every hotel that I have stayed at so far has allowed me to keep it in the room. Often the receptionists have looked given me quizical looks as if to say "of course you can take the bike into the room, where else would you keep it". So, I turned down the room and went next door. No problem this time.

06/02/2013 01:04

You will find out that chickenfeet in fact ARE for eating, boiled or fried. Not really meaty, but they make good snacks.


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