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Friday, February 27, 2015

HAT YAI, DAY 2

DAY 2

Despite the air in my hotel room smelling like a few nicotine addicts came here to die, I've decided to try to put in some time here in this city.


The ancient hotel couldn't be in a better location.  Around one of the sides is a shopping center.  Within it are six or eight tiny restaurants where one can get a full meal for under 40 baht.  That's about $1.30.   There are several semi-street vendors (call it street vendors with tables) that sell meals for 50 baht.  Coffee, 15 baht.

I should be able to survive here and save some money.

Following one of the things taught to me by Adam, my travel mentor - don't waste your visa.

Because the only chair in the room I rented is better suited for a child and trying to prop myself on the bed was so uncomfortable for my back I needed to go buy a chair.  Got one for 400 baht - cheap plastic.  Hopefully, it won't break before I leave.

Not sure how long I will spend here but it could be three weeks or even a bit longer.

If I can keep my costs low enough I'm going to try to save some money.

Yes.  Every single bill has a picture of the king on it.  Did I mention Thai people revere their king?  Same way people in South Africa revere Nelson Mandela.  But more.

From Wikitravel:  "Hat Yai (หาดใหญ่; also Had Yai, Hadyai) is the fourth largest city in Thailand and is located on the Southern Gulf Coast. It is an extremely popular tourist spot for Malaysians and Singaporeans on holiday. It's best avoided if you are looking to get off the beaten path. Prices are high because of the Malaysian and Singaporean tourists. This place does not have many Western visitors."

Compared to the town before, the prices here are quite reasonable.

Why the fuck anyone would come here for a holiday eludes me.  I'm guessing if the people are from Malaysia and Singapore, they may be here to drink alcohol.  Those countries seem to allow religion to get in the way of profit.  Strange.

Reading through the entire wikitravel on Hat Yai still doesn't answer the question of why anyone would come here for vacation.  The city seems pretty typical - nothing special.

While I was shopping for shoes and not finding any (tiny, tiny people here) I came across a Malaysian man and questioned him.  He said that there use to be (not currently) a very favorable exchange rate between Malaysia and Thailand.  Their money could go further.  So, they come here to shop.  And drink because their countries are Muslim and they tax the shit out of alcohol.



THAI QUALITY

I'd heard a LOT about how much better the quality of merchandise in Thailand was - compared to Cambodia.

Went to a fancy department store (Robinson) and bought a bag.

Made it through a good 13 hours before one of the zippers snapped off.  I realize I am hard on gear but less than a day is a whole lot of 'what the fuck'.  Take it back you say?  Really?

Decided, what the hell and did.

Holy shit - it worked.

I didn't even have my receipt.

Took about twenty minutes to get them interested in the idea but when you have a whole lot of time and just keep talking...



LAUNDRY

Found out there is a 'do it your own damn self' laundry place here.  To wash, dry and buy soap all total will cost about 100 baht.  Reasonable price but it will be two hours of sitting and smoking to look forward to.

Still, it beats doing it in the hotel room especially since they won't dry out quickly at all.  After I get my new pants I'll take my stuff over there and try out the machines.



7-11

There seem to be more 7-11 stores in Thailand (possibly in Singapore and Malaysia as well, not sure yet) than I remember seeing in the USA.  Here in Thailand, they have good deals on things as well.  Hell, you can buy a cheap packaged meal here that you'd eat as opposed to ones in the USA that frankly you would not.

Er...go USA?


Q & A

Because nobody writes in with questions I decided to make up some of my own.

Q:  Hi Logan!  I'm on a gluten free diet - what do you suggest for traveling?
A:  Stay home.

Q:  I'm curious what the oil they use for cooking is.
A:  Unless you are fluent in the language of the person doing the cooking, you cannot get an answer.  If you are, she or he will say "I just use the stuff in the big can marked 'oil'."  They probably have no clue where it came from, how old it is or how many Chinese Dynasties used the same oil before it ended up on their shelves.  Just eat and pay.

Q:  I don't know if I could eat street food!
A:  I use to have the crusts cut off of my bread when I was little.  I got over it.  Look at it this way - the kitchens are probably cleaner than the ones you don't see because everyone can see them.  If they look bad the locals won't eat there.

If you have any questions for Logan, be sure to either put them in the comments section (below) or contact him on Facebook.  If Logan feels like it, he will put a copy of the question with the answer in the next blog.



EXFILTRATION

Despite wanting to stay here for awhile, I always like to find out how to get out early.


According to wikitravel:  International Express leaves Hat Yai for Butterworth near Penang daily at 05:50 and "Note that Malaysian time is one hour ahead of Thai time: noon in Thailand is 13:00 in Malaysia. Be sure and check the departure time on your ticket as many tickets have Malaysian departure times even though Hat Yai is in Thailand."

That sounds like some of the weird shit they did in Russia awhile back.  Wasn't everyone suppose to be on Moscow time despite Russia spanning a bunch of time zones?

Cost seems to be about 35 ringgit (Malaysian) or $10 USD by bus.  Will find out about train fare.  Three hours plus border.  Curious as to how they do the border here if crossing by train.  Do you offload with your luggage to get it scanned then reload?

Other sources on wikitravel say minivans are about 400 baht.

A Malaysian I spoke with suggested getting Malaysian trains instead of the older, shakier Thai trains.  I'm going to go to the train station later to look into this and will report costs here.



COSTS

Cheap meal (street food or street food +), 30-60 baht
Coffee, 15 baht
Cheap plastic chair, 400 baht
7-11 22 oz drink, 25 baht
Guest house which if it had a 'hay day' was before I was born, 400 baht


2 comments:

  1. Okay, here's a question, two even.

    Which country are you most unlikely to visit for monetary reasons?

    And which country are you most unlikely to visit for safety reasons?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Which country are you most unlikely to visit for monetary reasons?

    >>> Er, the expensive ones. Oz, Western and especially Northern Europe. Those are bad. I've heard NZ isn't too bad so you might get a house guest at some point.


    And which country are you most unlikely to visit for safety reasons?

    >>> Any that the country I'm from has bombed within the last couple years. I do go to places that are hostile (or turn hostile as some elements in Ukraine apparently have). For example, if you read up on Hat Yai, just a couple years ago two tourists were killed by a bomb meant for tourists. But that is different than 'kill American pig-dogs'! Those sort of countries not so good for me. What kills me though (figuratively, pun intended) is that some of the countries like that which are thought of as 'third world shit holes' are still expensive on my budget. WTF is up with that?

    ReplyDelete

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