One of the most charming moments in my stay at Colin’s came from one of his Bangkok visitors, Khae, who was the UNO shark of the crowd. However, every time she slapped a “Draw Four” card on me (the worst card in the deck), and she did it a lot, she would make a face of abject apology and say “Sorry” so sweetly that I just had to believe her. Almost.
The joke of the week was about rock star Bono, who has been known to pontificate on social matters from time to time. At a U2 concert in Scotland, the band finished a song to wild applause, and then the house lights faded to black. A single floodlight illuminated Bono on the stage, and he said to the audience “Please be totally silent.” A hush fell over the auditorium. Slowly he clapped his hands together loudly, then again and again, once per second or so, for fully half a minute. Then he said in somber tones “Every time I clap my hands, a child in Africa dies.” A voice rang out from the back of the auditorium “Then for God’s sake, stop clapping!”
Although incomes are low in Thailand (minimum wage is about $7 per day), prices for consumer goods are very cheap by Western standards. As a tourist you need look no further than hotel and meal prices. I am staying in a perfectly pleasant room (a detached cottage, actually) with aircon, tv, fridge, double bed, en suite bath, right in the center of town, for $15 per night in the high season. I had a couple of weeks’ worth of laundry washed, dried and folded yesterday for $3. They seem to have misplaced a pair of short pants, but I trust they will find them before I leave.
A meal in the local market runs a couple of dollars, for pad thai freshly prepared while you watch. The bicycle pictured below is about $40, and the washing machine, about $200, both prices well under half what one would pay in the US.