- Hot trip -

24th February '17

After writing the last blog, I did something that I haven't done for... years. I went out with some people from work. And lasted for almost an hour.

This term had taught me the value of relaxing, and I spent a large part of this almost hour, talking to a guy who, during his day off had got stoned and played on his PS4.

Wow, a PS4.

I've all but given up on my Apple TV becoming any kind of viable gaming device. After buying a controller over Christmas, I got a couple of weeks of fun building stuff on Minecraft. But once the novelty of that wore-off... well there really isn't much else on there.

That controller perhaps wasn't the best investment that I've ever made but... well, lives and learns, don't you?

And I came away from this hour out with colleagues, with not only a sore throat from all the cigarettes that were around me, but also the thought in the back of my mind of... fuck I want to get a PS4.

I haven't really been into video games since my teenage years, but I kind of want to be again. It's a good way to relax and blow-off steam, and I'm all about relaxing right now. And I figure it to be better for you than reading or watching TV, because it requires your brain to be proactive.

I spent a long time sat at my laptop deliberating exactly where I was going to go on this vacation.

It was weird, that for a week or so prior to this, I'd been living as if I was about to go away.

I was eating and not replacing all of the food in my fridge, I'd made sure my apartment was spotlessly clean, because a dirty apartment is the last thing that you want to come back to. But yet it took until 10pm on the final day of term for me to come to any kind of decision.

Thoughout the evening, I'd been deliberating heading south, or paying the excessive fares to fly to Chiang Mai on short notice, or going to one of the nearby islands, or going to a national park...

Eventually what I decided though, was that Ayutthaya was a short train ride away; and only 20 baht (46p) in 3rd class, so I'll head there.

In travelling as light as I do nowadays, I'll have no problem exploring Ayutthaya with all of my stuff. I'll find a bed for the night, and most likely keep on going the next morning. Lopburi is not too far north, so why not a day there? Then Phitsanulok or Sukhothai, if not somewhere else.

It was a nice mix of places that I'd never been, and places that I hadn't been for a long time. But at no point would I be more than a few hours from Bangkok, so I could end the vacation and head home at any point I desired.

So I was up early (for me) the next morning. And every vacation that I take nowadays seems more nochalant than the one before.

It astounds me to think that I used to travel with a 75-litre backpack, because I packed everything that I needed for a six day trip, into less than half of my little rucksack. I take more than that to work with me everyday; I could have fit it all into a Tesco carrier bag.

And taking until 10pm the night before to come up with a plan that didn't stretch beyond taking the train to Ayutthaya and seeing what happens, I didn't start packing until ten minutes before I left to the station either.

Underwear, t-shirt, spare debit card in case I lose one... done.

I got the MRT to the train station, timing it perfectly so that I just had time to buy a ticket before my train left. And less than 35 minutes after closing the door of my apartment, I was on a train to Ayutthaya with a 20 baht ticket.

I found an empty seat right next to the toilet, which was perfect because I'd drunk a lot of water that morning. And for the last 30 minutes or so, a monk came and sat opposite me in his orange robe.

Appreciating that this is 3rd class, so our knees were all but touching, it felt odd to be sat there across from this symbol of moderation, wearing my Apple Watch and listening to a podcast on my iPhone.

When it comes to being a tourist, I'm probably the worst tourist in the world.

The benefits of tourism are that it provides income to the local people and the local community.

Well, not if all tourists are like me.

I was off the train in Ayutthaya by 10am. I didn't anticipate there being enough in this town to occupy me for more than half a day, so was expecting to find myself hauled-up in a hotel room by sundown, watching episode 2 of Game of Thrones.

I'd watched episode 1 the night before, having previously resisted the claims of other people about how great it was.

I'd finished Better Call Saul, so I needed a new series to try and... fuck it, why not?

And the great thing about cloud computing is that... well I can access my pirated media anywhere.

Don't you love the world that we live in?

I download it from Pirate Bay onto my laptop. I upload it from my laptop onto Dropbox. And then bam, anywhere I want, Game of Thrones. Downloadable to my phone at a moments notice.

Expecting that to be my evening, I was in no rush to get anywhere. So after my 20 baht train ride... I walked. No contributions to the local tuk-tuk community from me.

And Ayutthaya, it... well I live on the 3rd floor of an eight storey apartment building. I work on the 21st floor of a forty-one storey building. It almost feels peculiar to me to come somewhere where people aren't piled on top of each other. But Ayutthaya felt very... spread-out.

It's a sad state of affairs when the lack of high-rise buildings makes me feel uneasy.

It was a very sleepy-feeling town that had been built around random ruins that hadn't been destroyed yet.

Many were in parks that had presumably been allocated in order to protect them. Others though, were just randomly at the side or even in the middle of the road.

I just wandered around all of these ruins, which you couldn't really avoid. They were everywhere. And apart from a couple of honey-traps, which suffered the worst fate that can befall any serene location; Chinese tour buses, it was pretty untouristy.

There was a lot more green and a lot more nature than I'm used to, as well as a disconcertingly high number of dead birds lying on the ground.

I couldn't explain that, but I rather liked this town until I stumbled across an elephant being ridden down the road with two tourists on its back.

I resent any kind of domestication of animals in the name of profit like this. So the fact that authorities allow it to go ahead, certainly soured my opinion of the city.

Perhaps not coincidentally, around this time I started to feel like I'd seen most of what Ayutthaya had to offer.

Sure, I could keep on wandering around, stumbling upon more temples and more ruins but... well I'd seen so many already, they'd already kind of worn-off.

There was nothing to make me believe that Ayutthaya had much more to offer. It was still only around midday by now, so... well why even spend the night here?

Lopburi is only an hour or two up the road, I could easily make it there by sundown. And so with the heat starting to take its toll, I made the slow walk back to the train station and got a ticket on the next train to Lopburi.

For 13 baht (30p).

That was the extent of my tourism contibution to Ayutthaya.

I'd actually been to Lopburi before, back in 2011.

Yes, that really is six years ago. Holy fuck my life's disappearing quickly.

And the appeal of Lopburi; the only reason to come here really, is for the fascination of it being a town where humans and monkeys co-exist. Mostly peacefully.

You do sometimes see the human residents getting angry with their primate neighbours, but in the main, these two species live side-by-side in relative harmony.

I've said this before I think, but... well through all of my travelling in the past, it's very hard for me to get excited about much nowadays.

Travel just isn't an exciting thing for me anymore.

It's something that I feel obligated to do from time-to-time, just for a change of scenery. But the more places that you go in the world, the less exciting each new place is. And I've been to enough places in the world that... well finding the motivation to even take a vacation is a struggle.

To an extent I'm envious of those people to whom travel is an unrealised dream.

I got off the train in Lopburi, and it maybe took a couple of minutes to get used to there being monkeys everywhere. But once I had, I was all... fuck, I just want to find a room.

It had only been once I was sat on the train, that I realised quite how exhausted I was from wandering Ayutthaya for three hours unprotected from the sun.

You'd think that after all these years, I'd have learned to wear a hat or sunscreen.

Nope.

So getting to Lopburi, it really was a case of 'let's find a room and fucking relax.' Except the only hotels I could find looked dingy as Hell. I even stumbled across the place that I stayed six years ago, except having read my review for it the night before, I decided to heed to my own advice from six years earlier, and look for something better.

For more than an hour longer, I wandered the streets of Lopburi, still unprotected from the sun, before I eventually gave in and said 'fuck it, I'll go back to that same hotel again then.'

"Fan room, 250 baht, AC room, 400 baht" the guy behind the counter told me.

For about the first time ever, I opted for the more expensive option, such was my dire need for somewhere of a reasonable temperature to relax.

Which I did. Most likely suffering from heat exhaustion by now, I lay peacefully in bed beneath my airconditioner for a while, before venturing out on a hunt for food.

And being as fussy as I am about food nowadays, that's not as easy as it sounds, although Happy Cow helped me out by pointing me to a restaurant that included a vegetarian section to its menu.

It was also a guesthouse. I'd walked passed it twice on my hunt for a room, and hand't even seen it. Or the other guesthouse, also advertising vegetarian food, right across the street.

What the Hell? Was I just wandering around with my eyes closed or something?

It was a little hard to believe seeing as this was now the second stop of my vacation, but the sun was still up having only left my apartment nine hours earlier.

Under-slept, overheated and unmotivated, I kind of felt like I'd already seen the best of what Lopburi had to offer on my extensive hunt for a hotel. So despite my intention to be on a train to Phitsanulok at 10:29 the next morning... fuck it, I'm going back to my air conditioned hotel room to watch Game of Thrones and get an early night. If I get up early enough, I'll have some more time to explore the town in the morning.

Or to just stay in my air conditioned hotel room.

I was actually disciplined though, and did get out for a wander the next morning before jumping on my third 3rd class train in two days, this time costing me 99 baht (£2.27) as a demonstration of quite how much further this journey was.

It wasn't until close to 3pm that I disembarked in Phitsanulok, and as I wandered around the town after shunning the overtures of the local tuk-tuks, I certainly felt like the continued heat and dehydration was starting to take its toll.

Unsurprisingly, 3rd class isn't air conditioned, and getting dehydrated during transit is inevitable anyway. Add in the constant sweating of travelling in these temperatures for a second day running, and despite my continued attempts to rehydrate, I was starting to wane.

Luckily there wasn't the long search for a hotel of the day before. I stumbled upon the place that I'd stayed back in 2011, a place of which I had actually written a good review, and so didn't even hesitate, again opting for the more expensive AC room, although this time with only a 100 baht difference in price.

When I'd been thinking about possibly passing through Phitsanulok from back in Bangkok, my real motivation to come here had been that it was nearby to Sukhothai, a place well known for its temples and ruins. I've never been there.

But as this trip had evolved over the last couple of days, it had become more and more of an inevitability that I was going to make it all the way up to Chiang Mai and its delightful vegetarian restaurants. And if I'm going to make it all the way there... well then I kind of just want to get there.

To go and see the ruins of Sukhothai would likely add a day onto my itinerary, so this stop in Phitsanulok had evolved in my mind as a chance to see this city again, sure. I remember quite liking it the last time that I was here. But as well, it was a way to break-up the journey to Chiang Mai; something that I was no planning on completing the next day, whether by 3rd class train (meaning a very early departure, or late arrival, such were the train times), or by bus.

I quite like to write this blog live, if you understand what I mean.

Anytime that I get a moment to myself, such as sat on a train or in my hotel room, I jot down my thoughts into my phone.

I'm sure that it can make it confusing to read, certainly when compared to everything being written in hindsight. But I like doing it this way, because it reminds me exactly how much my mindset fluctuates from one moment to another.

Having been reminded about it in a comment that I wrote in the review for my hotel in 2011, I went out to the night market once the sun was down.

There are a few criteria that go into forming your opinion of a place. How friendly are the people? How nice is the place that you're staying? What is there to do? How clean is it?

The latter of those deterred me from feeling too much affection towards Lopburi, because as much as it was a really great city in many ways... it just stank of monkey shit.

Being who I am though, the most important criteria in how much I like a place, is how easy is it for me to find something to eat?

I don't not only eat no animal produce; if that was all I cared about, eating would never be a problem.

You can get French fries and Coca-cola in any city in the world, but if that's all you eat, you probably won't live to see another Christmas.

No, not only do I avoid any animal produce, but I'm pretty strict about eating whole plant foods.

There are exceptions. I sometimes cook with a dash of olive oil. One of my favourite pasta recipes uses a tablespoon of corn starch. When I make bread I use a little brown sugar.

None of those are whole foods; they're parts of the plant that have been extracted from the rest of it.

In the main though, I eat whole plants. As little processed as possible. And finding meals of vegan whole foods, in a country where you don't speak the language, it's...

It's part of the reason that I like Chiang Mai so much. You're never far from a vegetarian restaurant there.

But going to this market in Phitsanulok, the amount of whole, fresh produce, both cooked and raw, put Bangkok to shame.

I've built up a nice little network of restaurants spread around Bangkok that I can go to. This was one little night market though, and it was joyous.

Add onto it the vegan restaurants that I'd already found in the daytime, and it was one of the few places in Thailand where I could be sure that I would never go hungry.

There was a separate night bazaar that I also enjoyed wandering through. It all built-up quite an affection for Phitsanulok in my mind, and I even started to consider whether I would leave tomorrow after all.

Maybe this city does deserve more than a day.

I was carrying enough food from the market to have a more than generous dinner in my hotel room, and I'd only had lunch at around 5pm. Sometimes though, your eyes are bigger than your stomach, and I'd earlier had a cup of green tea in the restaurant attached to my hotel, which itself had a separate vegan menu. And still possibly leaving in the morning, I wanted to try something on it before I left.

Pizza has become one of my favourite foods to cook, when I have the time to cook it.

That's actually rare, because to make the dough and prepare the toppings takes a while, but I've got pretty good at it nowadays. I make a good vegan pizza.

This restaurant had a pizza on its vegan menu and... well let's see it then. Is it better than mine?

At 150 baht, this was to be the most expensive meal of the trip, and may I remind you more than all of my train tickets combined. It'll be worth it though... right?

It was a long wait, but when it did finally come...

What the fuck is vegan about this cheese pizza you fucking morons?

There was such disappointment.

I obviously didn't eat it. I never again want dairy to be a part of my diet, but I'm also not someone who likes to complain.

I actively try to avoid awkward moments and conflict. I didn't used to, and life is just better when you do.

Never have I acted in anger, in a way that I'm proud of. So I don't ever really complain or cause problems for other people. Didn't here either.

I used the basket of sauces to shield the view of my plate from the waitresses, who were more focussed on closing down for the night than anything else. And I sat there for five minutes to finish my complimentary glass of water. Then I got up, paid at the counter and left before they'd had a chance to go to my table. I left my plate of food, completely untouched.

It soured my previously glowing feelings of affection towards Phitsanulok. Like I said, for me the one thing more important than any other, is how well I can eat somewhere and... well this hadn't gone very well.

If you're going to have a vegan menu, then why not have a vegan menu?

And it wasn't a translation issue either. My inability to speak Thai may be strong, but I could still read the Thai of this menu, and it said vegan menu in Thai too.

It put a downer on what had otherwise been a somewhat majestic time in Phitsanulok since getting off the train. And where as it might have been well-advised for me to spend two nights here, if for nothing more than to relax and catch my breath; it was hard for me to really fathom that this was still only the second day of this vacation, and that I'd only left my condo 36 hours earlier. As much as relaxing for a day might have been advisable, my mindset returned to leaving the next day.

The thing was, if I went to Chiang Mai, then I had to get back from Chiang Mai, and don't forget that the only reason that I hadn't flown there in the first place, is that I waited too long to book flights, and the prices in both directions had rocketed from what they once were.

There's no way that I'm sitting on a 3rd class train all the way from Chiang Mai to Bangkok. I can handle them for short distances, but the uncomfortable seats and lack of air conditioning is not what you want for long, possibly overnight journeys, if you can help it.

A sleeper train would be an acceptable, if undesirable substitute for a flight, but unlike 3rd class, sleeper carriages sell-out, and I had no idea if I'd be able to get a ticket three or four days from now.

Buses are equally undesirable, so my next move from here wasn't so much being determined by where I wanted to go, rather by how I'd be able to get home again afterwards.

I could carry on north from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai, because flights back from there are actually cheaper than from Chiang Mai, despite being further north. But that would add on another stop to a vacation that was already getting out of hand.

I looked into flying from Loei back to Bangkok; a rural province that I'm yet to ever visit.

It does sound a nice place, and flights are cheaper than from Chiang Mai, but I just wasn't really feeling it for some reason.

From what I'd read, Loei town had little to offer other than being a base for the rest of the province. Places worth going to seemed a long way out of town, and there wasn't a single Happy Cow restaurant listed in Loei either; an immediate black mark in my mind.

I also thought about turning around right here. Instead of carrying on further north to Chiang Mai and its wealth of vegetarian restaurants, I could instead go south and start making my way back to Bangkok.

Phitsanulok was kind of the point of no return. I could comfortably and cheaply make it back to Bangkok from here in a day, but if I carried on futher, it was going to be a longer, more expensive trip back.

Despite my exhaustion, I mulled over my options long into the night, when I'd rather have been sleeping. I just couldn't find any answer I was happy with though.

At the time of turning out the light, the only decision that I'd made was that I'd walk to the bus terminal in the morning.

I was kind of over the 3rd class trains by now, and the times of them from here to Chiang Mai were awkward anyway, so wherever I'd go, I'd go by bus.

And where would I go?

I'd decide on the walk to the bus station.

By the time that I woke-up I had an inkling.

Despite my best efforts, I still wasn't feeling overly hydrated. When the heat and the travel dehydrate you during the day, there's only so much that you can do to rehydrate again come the night. Rehydration takes time, and if you dehydrate yourself for consecutive days, it starts to take a toll.

I was also feeling somewhat under-nourished.

Not under-fed, you must understand, but under-nourished. It's hard to replicate the goodness that I get from my diet when cooking at home, by eating in restaurants.

I always start my day with a smoothie consisting of five or six pieces of fruit, four or five types of seeds, three or four types of nuts, and that's before I even think about what I eat for the rest of the day. And I was missing that. My body was missing that.

I had scoured the available flights. To go to Chiang Mai, I'd only be coming home again by bus or by train. There was no flight at a price that was palatable to me.

And when I think of Chiang Mai, I love it there for the food. In particular in my head every time that I think about it, is this place that does a really good veggie burger and a pot of proper green tea; not the powdered shite that you get in 99% of shops in these parts.

I'd been dreaming of that. That was my vision of Chiang Mai.

But when that vision came at the cost of what was now an inevitable night sat on a bus or a train I... it soured it a bit.

Up to this point alone, this trip had cost me upwards of £25 for all the hotels, train tickets and restaurants.

And yes, that might not sound like a lot of money, but there's a reason that I can afford to work as little as I request to do.

It wasn't even that I was dying to get back to Bangkok, rather I just wanted to avoid the inevitable overnight journey of heading any further away from Bangkok. But apart from the places that I'd already been, there was very little in between.

I skipped the hotel breakfast, because it was served in the same place where I'd left an untouched plate of food the night before. It'd be like returning to the scene of a crime. Instead I figured that I'd pass a fruit vendor on the 30-minute walk to the bus station.

Shows what I know, so I arrived there rather hungry.

Phitsanulok was seemingly doing its best to override the praise that I'd lauded onto it prior to pizzagate, and this was even the kind of bus station that I hate. The kind where you walk in and ten people all start shouting at you to come and take their bus, and you have to go around each one separately, checking the times, the type of bus, and the ticket price.

The prices seemed to vary wildly too, as the first guy, unless he writes a two like a nine, tried to charge me 950 baht.

I'll walk back to Bangkok before I pay that much.

He seemed to think that I'd give-up and pay if he just said "first class" enough times.

I'm flattered that you think I'm the kind of person that travels in first class, but I'm not.

Eventually I bought a ticket from this woman, more because she was the only one that wasn't shouting at me. She was just sat there quietly in her booth, and she was patient with my now nearly non-existent Thai.

This bus was only 250 baht, and it seemed fancy enough.

AC, free water. I was even handed a polystyrene box of food as I boarded, and before I'd had the time to protest, the guy had run off the bus again.

I opened it to the sight of beef and rice. And to a vegan on an empty stomach, it was almost enough to make me barf.

Something that I've never quite understood, and I've said this before, is that never in history, has food been so plentiful for humanity. Most people on the planet don't have to worry about where their next meal will come from. And for this blessing, do people choose to make the best of it, and nourish themselves in ways never before possible?

Nope, they'd rather eat processed crap.

I liken it to how drug dealers cut their product with talcum powder or other cheap chemicals, in order to increase the quantity of the drug that they're selling.

Even a drug addict wouldn't knowingly choose the chemical product over the pure one, all other things being equal. But yet with food, people not only voluntarily opt for the inferior product, but they willingly pay a higher price for it.

I've never got that.

I was at this moment sat on a bus bound for Bangkok, but it didn't necessarily mean that my vacation was over. A part of me was tempted to jump straight onto another bus once I arrived, and perhaps head south, to a beach somewhere. Especially because I'd be arriving at a bus station on the other side of the city to my condo.

I didn't envision feeling up to that after this journey. Being so close to home, it would almost be foolish not to make use of my own washing machine, sleep in my own bed, and have a fruit smoothie for breakfast. But I'd still have four more days-off. That'd be enough to maybe get away somewhere else if I wanted to.

Back to Huahin or Koh Samet if I saw fit.

This journey was far more comfortable than those of the days before. Air conditioning, a cushioned double-seat to myself, it was luxury of which I'm not accustomed.

An advantage over the trains is that we also stopped at a rest-stop a couple of hours into the journey, and this rest-stop actually had a fresh fruit vendor, so I was able to take-in some calories and nutrients.

The best part of taking a vacation though, and the reason that I need to take one about once every four months, is that's roughly how often a new Harcore History podcast is released. This latest one was on the acquirement and initial handling of nuclear weaponary. A little chilling to listen to when you think that such power now rests in the hand of a buffoon such as Trump.

But at no other point than making these long journeys, do I find myself with six hours spare. I'd never be able to get through these podcasts if I didn't take a vacation once in a while.

The bus actually took two hours less than I was anticipating, but even so I didn't ever seriously consider my plan of going immediately onto another destination.

I was back in Bangkok, and I wanted to go home, have a warm shower, put on a clean set of clothes, and cook some food.

Not to mention that this northern bus terminal, my first time coming here, was a fucking dump.

It was dirty, it was confusing, and it was full of leeching taxi drivers determined to make a pretty penny at your expense.

Nothing about it made me want to stay there for any longer than I had to, so I got out as quickly as I could.

This had actually been a great vacation, all things considered though. I always say that you don't want to enjoy a vacation so much that you resent being home again. What you can really hope to gain from a trip is to clear your head, to look back at your life from a distance, and to gain some clarity in thought. And I'd done that.

Unlike when I'm in Bangkok, I'd been forced to speak Thai on some occasions, and it made me realise that I have actually learned something.

I mean, I've forgotten most of it, sure. But I was able to ask if the food was vegetarian when I needed to. And what time, how much, and what type buses were. I do have an emergency stash of Thai in the back of my mind for when I need it, so there is something to build on.

This trip gave me the motivation to start learning Thai again, that for the last couple of months has been missing.

I still think that I'll struggle to really learn in Bangkok, because the people that I'll encounter in my day will for a long time speak better English than I do Thai; a fact not true in Phitsanulok, hence why I was forced to use it there. But this trip did motivate me to start learning again.

It was also a reminder about how healthy the lifestyle that I'm able to live in Bangkok really is.

For less than three days, I'd been robbed of the ability to cook my own foods, to drink as much water as I usually do, and to exercise how I like, and I felt terrible.

I never feel like that when I'm able to live my way.

I mean, is this how normal people feel all the time? Because if it is, no wonder they need to take so many sick-days off work.

And I wasn't the only one who'd been through the wars. My phone too was showing the scars of being sat in my pocket as I paraded around Thailand in sweltering heat.

It was almost a year ago now that my phone had to be sent off to Apple in Singapore and ultimately replaced because of a swollen battery, something that I baselessly attributed to taking her running with me in both Thailand and China in temperatures so high that others sought only shade.

Well the first sign that I'd had that anything was wrong with my phone then, was that a faint blue line was visible on the screen when displaying a white background.

From what I understand, and this might be incorrect, this blue line was caused by the expanding battery pressing against the screen.

Well in the exact same place as last time, the same thing has started to happen again. And I think it no coincidence that my phone was in my pocket through all of the 3rd class trains and sun-drenched wanderings.

When I bought this phone almost two and a half years ago, I said to myself that my best case scenario was to get two years of use; anything more than that was a bonus.

Still going strong now though, I'm hopeful that she can last me until the 2017 iPhone comes out, whether it be the iPhone 7S or more likely the iPhone 8.

Little about the iPhone 7 appeals to me, and if the rumours for this year's model are only partially true, then it'll be a huge upgrade from past models, so now my focus is to prolong the life of my current iPhone until September. And these three days away might have been a big blow to that.

Feeling as I did, that first night back was all about rehydrating myself, renourishing myself, and then relaxing and sleeping. And it made the world of difference. I woke-up feeling like a new man.

I opened the BBC app on my phone before getting out of bed, to find that the biggest news story of the day was 'Eating the food that your body evolved to eat makes you a healthier person'

Tomorrow it's going to be 'Jumping off tall buildings leads to a higher chance of broken legs'

Seeing as I'd been expecting to be in Chiang Mai, I had no big plans for the day, other than I wanted to find-out how much a PS4 would cost me.

And if I wanted an omen, my day started with my landlord messaging me and asking 'What time will you be at home today?' Sort of.

Well that depends, what do you want?

I had previously messaged him on December 6th detailing a problem with my AC unit.

Today was February 23rd, and I had long lost hope that he was going to do anything about it.

That's the thing with my landlord. Lovely person, but not overly efficient. A simple question about my AC took ten weeks to answer.

I'd given up and paid someone to clean the units weeks ago. I'd thought nothing of it.

Well to cover (most of) the costs of this, he told me to take 1,000 baht off my next rent payment.

That more or less covered the cost of my vacation, so if that's not an omen to waste a load of money on a Playstation, then what is?

Sitting on the bus to Bangkok the day before, it had also completely escaped me that I was due a pay-cheque from work, when suddenly my wrist vibrated with the message of an equivalent £610 deposit into my account.

Fuck, I'd forgotten about that. I'm unexpectedly rich.

And it pushed my savings past the threshold of 100,000 baht (£2,294) for the first time since moving back to this city. So all of my trying to not work very hard, and only spending money on completely essential things like Apple Watches and over-priced games controllers, was paying financial dividends.

And a PS4 is actually cheaper than you might think it would be.

Still more expensive than if I were to buy it in London or in the US, but what's new? I could get a PS4 for rougly 60% of what I paid for my watch.

Of course, as is always the case at around this time, any decision that I make hinges on the schedule that I get. And as I type this sentence at around 2pm on Friday, it's yet to come into my inbox. But unless my new manager follows a different protocol to my last one, it'll be here by the end of the day.

When I filled-out my preference form, I requested to not work very hard. I also requested to teach levels that I've taught before. I do that every term though, and rarely are my requests honoured.

If I get that easy schedule, then my attention turns to how I'm going to study Thai.

Am I going to get another tutor? Am I going to try and find a suitable school?

Or if not, then what exactly am I going to do?

I want to learn Thai, but I also want to be a happy person. And last term was a clear demonstration that you need to have the time to relax if you're going to be that.

I imagine that sometime soon I'll have a PS4 regardless, although a part of me does fear about the amount of time it could consume.

Nothing gets decided until I know my schedule though, so now I sit. And I wait. And I probably watch Game of Thrones, because it's actually pretty good.