Seems every year I come down with this annoying, semi-chronic condition...a grim reminder of my slothful days of smoking.
I've been offline for a while because the phone lines have been dysfunctional. The Thai labor crew droids have been hard at work on Soi 3, hammering, cutting, smashing, and generally destroying part of the road and riverbank. Consequently, they bundled all the phone and power lines together and strung them up in a tree, to allow passage of their earth moving equipment.
In seven more days, I will be returning to teach after my two months of holiday time. Its been a nice break but a tad boring at times when I was down for the count with my coughing spells. Therefore, I took to the roads exploring, shopping and discovering, every chance I got.
In a foreign country, you see some of the strangest things...things that seem to defy explanation, only because they are foreign and you can't figure out what they are because you don't speak the language.
One of these "Things," are the ever-present folding tables set up on the sidewalk around Thailand, with a large red sign placed on the table and a large, white, number "2" written on it. Often these tables are unmanned, with nothing on the table other than the red sign. At other times, a Thai person is sitting there with mobile phones lying about and a notebook laid out with Thai scribbling on it.
I make mental notes of these "Things," so I can later ask someone just what these things are. I don't always get an answer, but that's usually because my description of the said "Thing," is severely lacking. However, my description of the "Number Two Tables," received a quick response.
Mobile phones, even here in Thailand, can be expensive. Some of them fetch prices in the 8000 to 12,000 baht range, depending on the bells and whistles they possess. So, enterprising Thai's will set up a "Number Two Table," charging two baht per minute for the use of their phone(s).
Mobile phone-less people wander by, spot the number two table, and stop to make a call. No fuss, no muss...no phone cards or hot phone booths. The advantage to the "Number Two Table," owner? In time, their proceeds pay for the phone itself and eventually for the phone credit cards that charge them. In my neighborhood, along the main road, I've spotted as many as four of these tables set up within a kilometer radius.
Time to move on...join me at the wet market, won't you?