Sunday, January 6, 2008

Life is easy on the road

I really have not shared that much logistical information about traveling since I posted my original equipment list since my family and friends seemed more concerned that I was not kidnapped or hopelessly lost in a strange country.

But I thought some readers would be interested about laundry on the road. When I first started this trip, I imagined that I would be doing a lot of laundry by hand. And I do, in fact, carry a bit of laundry soap, a universal drain plug, and a tiny clothesline. But, for the most part, I have not done any laundry since I left the USA four months ago.

In most developing countries, you can get your laundry done for about one dollar per kilogram (2.2 pounds). Hey, I would pay several times that. One of my first items of business when I change locations is to identify the nearest laundry!

So I just put my dirty laundry into a plastic bag and drop it off a couple of times a week and I come back the next day and pick up my freshly washed (and often ironed) clothes. My average cost for this is probably around 50 cents per day. Gotta love it (1 dollar = 33 baht)

Another thing that is difficult for travelers in developed countries like the USA is the expense and trouble of transportation. Taxis are expensive and sometimes difficult to find. Renting a car is a major hassle and cost -- especially when you consider insurance. But in developing countries you just walk out to the road and quickly flag a tuk tuk or taxi.

This morning I needed to extend my permission to stay in Thailand stamp in my passport so I had to visit the immigration office which is located on the other side of town. I just walked out of my guesthouse room and instantly got a taxi. When I was finished and ready to leave I instantly got a tuk tuk. I paid about US $5 for the round trip. And it was much more convenient than having to park a car, etc. since I do not even know my way around well enough to quickly find these places whereas the locals know exactly where things are located.

Today I went out to lunch with Billy and Akaisha. We walked about 100 meters to a local restaurant and had a delicious meal for about 35 baht per person (about 1 US dollar). It hardly pays to cook for yourself when such inexpensive and delicious food is so readily available. Life is easy here.

Dave and I are flying to Bangkok tomorrow, Tuesday the 8th of January. It will be tough to leave Chiang Mai!

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