PILES OF PEARLS (I tried but all I could buy didn't put a dent in this supply)!
Next morning, I go back to my friend's store (again). I have now about 50 pounds of gemstones, pearls, jewelry and small antiquities and I’m working on brokering a king's crown excavated from a shipwreck site south of Burma-maybe to Sotheby's or Bonham's. I'm learning of the trade and export, import, goods, dabbling in the fast market and making connections with people from all over the Middle East here (my next trip was going to be to the mideast but It's easier here-which is why this turned into a work vacation far more than tourism).
Last night at the GraceHotel was the best sleep I've had since being here. I cannot tell you how 10 dollars or so a day can make the difference between stinky alley hotel and everything but a butler-service hotel that would be $600-$800 a night in America for about $40 a night here.
Anyone want some pearl necklaces and earrings? I have too many!
To be honest, I had no interest in Asia and my opinion of the lies, deceit and sneakiness was all correct before I got here. I was hoping to find I was completely off and they were excellent Thai business people, trustworthy and straight forward but the culture here is the opposite, as I thought. I do recall my last transactions from the states to Thailand having purchased (turned out to be plastic) "genuine gemstones" and spray painted “pure gold”. I admit I'd be happy not doing business with another Thai after being screwed over and lied to like it was a some game here (more often than not)...seedy sneaky people with a default culture whose preference is screwing someone over versus developing trust and benefit for all (it doesn’t occur to them a long term relationship could ensue if they had any foresight)!.
I bought about half of these rings (very old gold)!
I'm learning Bangkok is a great place to do international business quickly because all nations are represented here and there are opportunities to self employ with the smallest amount of creativity and ingenuity...anyway so I'm quite happy in Soi 4. It’s strange hearing the call to prayer at each day (I must have a romance about the middle east--Arabian nights, etc) LOL!
At least not a single person has tried to scam me with the people I’m dealing with. No Thais to worry about, the tuk tuks leave you alone on the back streets when you're walking in this area (for the most part). This morning, I slept in and went to an Egyptian pub where they were smoking hookas and eating kebabs and stuff. One guy comes inside off the street and I'm eating a heavenly meal for a few dollars (it's an open pavilion).
and half of these!
This peddler kept bothering me while I was eating..."Rayban-Rayban, U buy, 1500 Baht, U buy". I said, "I'm sorry, no thank you" hoping he'd understand (I was eating babaganoush, tabouli, shish kebab with an Iced coffee for a late breakfast). This guy kept touching me, pushing, tapping (come on, I'm eating here)! I looked and this time said, "NO" and shook my head in a very exaggerated way...on and on this went. He'd leave for maybe 30 seconds eyeing me from the corner, then as I had a fork in my mouth, my arm would be shaken by this Thai “person” until I decided maybe if I knocked him out, he'd stop messing with me! For God's sake, I told him NO a good 10 times (I kid you not), then he touched me again and I couldn't lean away in my chair enough to avoid him shaking and touching so I thought to myself, "Right, that does it"! --I began to stand up, and say several regrettable things.
Have you seen bigger earrings in your life?
It took more than 5 minutes for this to come to this point. I am so very tolerant--maybe he could sense this. I rarely get angry but when someone is shaking me when I have prongs in my mouth or I'm mid gulp of a drink, I really dislike being shaken! In short, his eyes got huge as I stood up pointed towards him, then the street with the other. The waiter thought it was all quite amusing and he gave me the thumbs up laughing like a hyena. Trust me, I don't like to fight, I have always been able to avoid a fight when I wanted and I believe the smallest amount of discussion can surely avert blows but it wasn't working-hand gestures, yelling, head shaking, loud NO, No, No, NOOO! before getting up. Geez! He finally left. I was happy and I hope he's happy (just somewhere away from me)! I think I’ll invent some vendor repellant to sell to tourists….
Ancient Roman era glass, aphorae, vessels (I smuggled about 10 back)!
before entering a highly populated vendor/harassing area, they can spray themselves and be free, walking through with a protective bubble around them…keeping the sales gnats from sucking the blood out of their vacation!
On my way here last night walking along the sidewalks looking for gifts for friends and family, I was touched by some Beast- I don't know what it was...a lady, transvestite or what "it" started talking to me in some falsetto Conan the barbarian voice; touching my shoulder (this was no big deal, as I was in motion and I side tracked him like I was playing American Football). A lady with a man's voice is enough to scare the squirrels right out my cage! On the way back, I found myself walking around these beasts as fast as I could (a real woman..why not a real woman just once who's not a hooker and not a man�"do they exist in Bangkok?)! Walking through the alley here, I turned one corner and was completely SHOCKED to see two elephants walking by! I've never touched and pet a real elephant before…beautiful gentle giants….
Are those dinner plates or gold rings? (both apparently- a ring you can eat on)!
This was amusing for a few minutes until I started to think (uh oh, the brain turning on again).....It's sooo sad! I seriously don't think the elephants are having a time of their lives living in the middle of the city missing their jungle life. Apparently the handler sells food to tourists and the tourists then feed the elephants. The trunks are incredibly strong and they seem so noble, huge....and sad!
I have met some of the NICEST Austrians, English, Australian and German people (among many other nations, too). I admit I am completely embarrassed to mention my country of origin (the USA-prick of the entire world thanks to an ass called George Bush)! It is clear Americans are not revered but I have been told over and over I'm very different than any others they've met. The Austrians think I'm British, the British think I'm Canadian and the Australians don't know what I am but they don't think I'm American (apparently many Americans don't have a good enough command of their native tongue)? It seems ebonics (an indigenous city slang in America’s city slums) has taken over much of America and the south (Even our own president speaks like a 3 year old--completely embarrassing)! Anyway, they just tell me I don't speak like an American (Maybe only southerners or New Yorkers come here with their heavy accents?- I haven't a clue).
Afghanistan silver crown (he wanted $600, I couldn't but it was tempting)
I'll blog a bit more later. I suspect this is all horribly boring but It's fun to sit and do nothing and write for a change. I'll see if I can upload some pics and vids here.
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