Today was a very strange day! I started it off fine, I traded one book for another. There aren't give and take bookshelves like in central and south America but there are bookstores all over the place, or street venders with books, so I just traded one book for another, paying a small amount. Then I got my dirty clothes together to have them washed at a little laundry place near the guest house I'm staying at. The next thing I wanted to do was buy a cell phone so I decided to go to Chinatown to buy the phone. I've heard that area has the biggest market and such so I thought it would be a good place to get a phone.
I took the river boat to get to Chinatown, its a really nice way to get around Bangkok. Then when I got off a middle aged Thai guy (Antok) started talking to me a couple blocks off the river. He was really nice and we drank some coffee together at a street vender. He talked to me about Thai politics (which most people won't do, even with the protests in the city) and other stuff so I got a pretty good vibe. He invited me to his house to meet his family and have some lunch and I agreed (which was where it turned strange).
the river and me on the boat.
When we got to his house his family was really nice and we had some lunch. Antok left pretty quickly because he said his grandma needed surgery and in Thailand you have to pay the doctor first, thats what he was doing in Chinatown before he met me. His brother in law was nice but pretty soon he started talking about gambling. I had read in the guidebook about the gambling scam so I started to prepare myself for it. He said he would show me tricks to win at 21. It was really strange, he was showing me tricks and saying I got it and telling me about how to get over on the banker or casino or whatever. I told him I didn't gamble but he just kept going. Then when I supossedly had learned all the tricks he randomly got a call from his japanese banker friend that was just coming over to pick up a vip pass for a cruise ship (he works on a cruise ship in the casino). Then he said great timing we can do these tricks to win money off the japanese guy. I said I wouldn't play with real money and then he tried to give me like 400 us dollars of his money to play with to win money of the japanese guy. I just refused and said that it was a policy of mine never to gamble with real money.
Once I finally got that message accross you would be suprized how fast they got me out of the house. He went outside to give the japanese guy the vip pass (I don't think the guy even exists because I was in a side room and he left to give the pass, then was back so fast, and said the guy was already gone). Then magically Antok was back at the house at that very moment and wanted to take me back to Chinatown. I happily agreed. Antok seemed down, maybe because I didn't go for the scam, or because of his grandma, who knows. I still think Antok is an ok guy, but I don't know about his brother in law.
Antok actually helped me get a cell phone, maybe because he figured he had to do something to get some money out of me. It seemed like a good deal though. He took me to a store and translated for me and helped me choose what plan and whatnot. Then before we split ways he asked for 200B for helping me, I gave it him, he did help me after taking me for a bit of a ride.
I went straight back to the boat to come back to Banglamphu (the neighborhood Khao San is on). I didn't spend much more time in Chinatown but with walking around with Antok I think I saw most of it, and after the strange experience I just wanted to get back to the Khao San area. So, now I'm back and am going to pick up my laundry soon. I was right about people liking it over here better than on Khao San because I've seen some of the backpacker friends I met in Kanchanaburi over here and will probably hang out with them later on tonight. Also I had like 4000B left when I got here yesterday and now have a couple hundred, this city sucks it out of you way worse than the other places I've been. For example people act like a meal for 30-50B is cheap but in other places that was the normal price. And I finally got funny tummy, or Bangkok belly as people here call it, but the charchol pills work really well. Anyway, I have a phone now but don't want to put the number on here because it is so public and anyone who would want to get ahold of me knows my e-mail. So, if you want my number please e-mail me and I'll give it to you.