Ade & Jos Adventure day 24: The real hero
We move into our apartment today, we leave the comfort blanket that has been the Marriott hotel and start our new life in our new home today. we wake up and pack away the last of our things before heading down to breakfast here for the last time as residents here, John the waiter comes over to say hello and tells us he saw us when we were out shopping last night, another change from when we are in England, where if someone sees you out and about they’ll come over to say hello.. Here apparently they’ll wait a day before politely telling they saw you, Jo tells John she’s feeling a bit emotional about leaving, John is one of a number of the staff here that have really gone out of their way to make us feel at home here in Thailand, and who in doing so have made the transition a little easier for Jo.
I opt for toast today… Not exactly news worthy as I have toast most days…. I look through the breads on offer, like most days…. I slice my chosen bread, like most days….I put those slices of bread in the toaster, like most days…. But today is different… Today is my last day here in this hotel…. Today, i’ve managed to cut the bread a little too thick… Today is the day I smell burning toast and see smoke coming out of the toaster… Today is the day I have two slices fall out of the bottom of the the toaster… Today is the day I put three slices in and one has got stuck…. Today is the day that a stand, looking into the toaster, watching one slice burn… Watching one slice refuse to move along and leave the heating power of the toaster… Today is the day i’m milliseconds away from pulling the plug out of the wall and having the embarrassment of causing a toast fire here in the breakfast room… Thankfully I see the toast move slightly.. The burned slice has finally begun to move toward the exit of the toaster… It slides down into the bottom of the tray, a smoking black mess.. I put it on my plate and hurry back to my table, each table I pass i’m sure the guest sitting there is looking at me thinking “You burnt your toast didn’t you mate?”… Today’s toast was served with salted butter and a nice serving of embarrassment.
After breakfast we go back up to the room to finish packing, we get the rest of our belongings in our bags and head down to reception to check out of the hotel, as we’re sat in the foyer finalising our bill the manager comes over to speak to us, she’s a really lovely lady who has spoken to us a few times during our stay, she tells us that even tho we’ve moved out, if we need any help with anything just to come over and they’ll help us out… As Jo is sorting the bill I take the heaviest of the bags over to our apartment, I’d miscalculated the weight of the larger of the two bags which made crossing the busy Sukhumvit Road and dodging daily death an extra difficult challenge today.. But I managed it. With the bags safely in our apartment I make my way down in the lift to meet Jo at the hotel get the rest of the bags.. Jo has finished at the hotel is already walking toward our apartment by the time I get down to the ground floor.. So back in the lift to drop of the last of our bags.. We’re here, in our new home.
I walk Jo to work, the streets are busy, the traffic is chaotic.. Jo gets here iced coffee from the nice little coffee shop… On the way home I stop by the Tesco, still on a mission to get coasters for our new apartment, I wander round tescos for a while looking for coasters…. I eventually approach the check out area with a washing basket, a jack to phono lead (for the Pioneer sound system) and a new speaker/amplifier set for the bedroom (It cost about £25 so I have to admit i’m not expecting much from it)… I approach the 10 items or less queue.. And as all British people do, I set about counting the items in everyone’s baskets in front of of me.. I’ve got three… The bloke in front has five…. The girl in front of him has…. TWELVE!.. outraged i find myself recounting.. Just to make sure the crime I am witnessing is actually real.. Has she actually dared to do what I think she’s doing?… The person being served is just paying for their shopping… Little Miss Twelve items is up next… I’m looking at her basket thinking she’ll get told she can’t get served here… Surely justice will be served.. Surely she’ll grow to learn the error of her ways? Nope. Twelve items through the ten items or less check out…. What is this world coming too?
Twelve items pays for her shopping, Mr Three items is next… I get my bank card out of my wallet (Here in Bangkok they have various ways of using debit cards, contactless isn’t really a thing here… Some places have you enter your pin.. Some places have you enter your pin and then sign) I look at my debit card… SHIT! I’ve not signed it.. I’ve had the bloody thing for ages and it’s not signed… I check my credit card, I’ve signed that… I’m having a mini panic attack… What if the cashier can’t use my card because it’s not signed? Will I be able to show the signature on my credit card? SHIT! I struggle to write my signature anyway.. I struggle to write ANYTHING to be honest… I’ve got visions of the cashier calling over a supervisor and me being unable to explain myself because I don’t speak Thai… Why can Twelve items get away with committing a shopping based atrocity while I, an innocent English man, far from home be treated like this?.. Why God? Why?
As it turns out the cashier didn’t even look at my card… I didn’t even have to put my pin in OR sign.. She just put it in her little card machine and it did it all automatically… Ever get the feeling you’re a perhaps, little bit too dramatic?
Back at the apartment, I finish setting up the sound system for the TV, I put Queen on spotify and type up my blog… I had just posted it to facebook when I get a message from Jo asking if I wanted to meet for lunch.. Christ, it’s lunchtime.. Where has the day gone?
I meet Jo and we end up in McDonalds, Jo is ordering and i’m people watching.. An Asian girl walks in who I swear was the Asian version of my friends daughter Caitlin… If Caitlin were Asian, this would be her.. It’s freaky.. Caitlin, you have an Asian doppelganger.
We sit to eat our food, Jo is feeling emotional today… I hate it when she struggles… We finish lunch and I walk her back to work.. As I leave her I have a horrible feeling she’ll be calling me to tell me she wants to come home… I walk away from her office and a scooter taxi rider shouts something at me… I don’t want a taxi so I ignore him… Taxi rider shouts something at me again… I still don’t want a taxi so I ignore him again.. Taxi rider rider shouts again, this time with some urgency.. I turn to him and say “what?”.. He looks at me… then performs a sort of mime… You don’t know embarrassment until a Thai scooter taxi rider is telling you via the medium of mime in a busy a street that you’re walking around with your flies undone… Zip sorted, I thank him and make my way home…. Via “The Big C” I still need those bloody coasters!
I eventually find coasters…. Really nice wooden ones…I buy eight of them…. I have coasters!
I get back to the apartment and finish putting Jos clothes up on hangers in the walk in wardrobe… I put my clothes in the wardrobe in the guest room, stopping halfway to set up the cheap speaker system I bought at Tesco…. Its a funny little thing made by a company called AJ.. On the box is a photo of a man (who I presume is AJ) with a caption calling him “The real hero”.. I’m still not sure what the sound quality will be like… I’m guessing on poor to “oh that’s not too bad”.. I open the box and find it has a remote control, a tiny little controller that my massive fingers will struggle to use…it looks like cheap plastic.. I’ve now decided the sound will range from “Shite” to “poor”.. I set the speakers up.. Great, guess what I find in the box? A bloody jack to phono lead…. Now I have two of the buggers…. I plug it in the mains and turn it on.. Well, it turns on.. That’s a good start.. I press the mode button a few times (I find out it has a radio built in).. A few more presses and a robotic American voice says “Bluetooth mode”.. Oh it’s got bluetooth too…. I search for it on my phone, after a short while my cheap little speaker set appears on my bluetooth list… I connect… So far so good…. Right, lets give this cheap little bastard a real test.. What shall I play…… QUEEN!.. But which track… Which Queen classic shall be the first to put this cheap bit of Asian electronics through it’s paces…. I decide on letting the fates handle this… Spotify Queen… Hit shuffle….. The fates respond with Queen: Somebody to love (a fine choice there… The fates surely wish to give this little speaker set a true test)… The speakers cost about £25… Bloody hell, they are GOOD! Brilliant actually.. AJ my dodgy photo on a cardboard box friend.. You are indeed a hero.
Yeah, “The show must go on” got me all emotional again.. What the hell is going on with me?
Finally all my clothes are put away, Jos make up and perfume is put somewhere where she can sort it out later… My work here is done.
A couple of hours later and i’m off to meet Jo from work, she seems happier now, she’s dealt with a mini crisis at work, she’s put her foot down about something and begun to make her mark here as a manager in Bangkok.. She seems generally happier, There’s a beer festival being set up by our apartment, we may decide to visit it later.. Then again, dinner at home and a quiet night in may also be on the cards. Back at the apartment Jo goes for a bath.. I put spotify on the Playstation and listen to Queen through the Pioneer system (I find a spot on the sofa where you get perfect stereo separation…. Bohemian Rhapsody on these speakers, sitting in this exact position really makes you appreciate it on a whole new level)
Jo finishes her bath and makes spaghetti bolognese for dinner… We eat, sitting on our balcony overlooking Bangkok… A world away from eating our dinner, on our laps in a grotty little council house, in Thornhill road, all those years ago… We’ve come a long way.. It’s a bit like a dream really. We decide not to go to the beer festival, instead we relax in our new home watching “Captain America: Winter Soldier” on TV… Followed by some Playstation time for Jo…. Jo keeps asking if i’m alright… I’m being quiet… She thinks i’m in a mood… I’m not… I’m just very relaxed… It’s nice being relaxed… I should do it more often.
I think we’re going to Ikea tomorrow… Two English people going to a Swedish furniture shop in Thailand…. Now that’s some prize multi-culture right there….