Today's adventure was a trip to the floating tourist trap. I was told I was buying, for $75, a package including a car & driver to the market and the boat tour around the market. They lied. The boat tour was an extra $30. The purpose of the boat tour is to convey the tourist to an infinite number of schlock vendors, all selling the same thing. Well, sort of. Chatting with one of the workers at the obligatory coconut sugar factory store, it seems the government, in an attempt to promote jobs and tourism did two things. First, they moved the market out of Bangkok to a formerly unknown town with lots of canals about 90 minutes by freeway from the city. Second, they put together three or four sets of tourist goods, and gave the vendors the opportunity to rent space along the sides of the canals, choosing any one or combination of those packages. One package consists of cheaply carved animals in several sizes, carved faux buffalo horn and shiny purses with elephants on them. Another package is hammocks in many colors. There's also the T-shirt package, some very nice Floating Market photo shirts but not a single one with any Thai writing on them. There's a hat package and a lamp package and a spices of Thailand package. There are a few older women selling fruit and veggies, and every now and then a floating noodle shop, but it's 99% crap now. Sic transit and all that.
It took an extra hour to get back to the hotel because the driver doesn't read the newspapers. The road he wanted to use has been barricaded by police for the past month, as a result of some riots between pro-democracy and pro-democracy groups. Not so difficult to imagine, sort of like Hilary-Barak riots.
I'm writing from an Internet shop on Patpong Road, where all the strip joints are, but there is also a night market and non-pron shops. My hotel lied about their internet connection, there's a sign in the lobby on how to sign up at the front desk, but the front desk says "we don't have that today". Or any other day, apparently. Starbucks has wireless, but it's not available unless you have a local DSL account. No AT&T here.
So as far as Bangkok goes, bringing the Eee with me was a waste. Maybe I'll do better in Phuket.
Enough for now.