I am just over halfway through Sister and am finding it increasingly fascinating. ItÂ is well written and her use of language is admirable. So far I would not classify it as a â€˜ page turnerâ€™,Â however, I will defer my final judgement until I’ve completed the book and see what is the inevitable twist at the end.
The nightÂ before last we had theÂ pleasure of the Barlowâ€™s company at one of our favourite restaurant in town. This evening they took us to one of their favourite haunts, a restaurant roughly halfway between our hotel and the main town. Not being central therefore it was considerably cheaper than even the modest restaurants in which Michael and I usually eat. It was situated behind the stalls along a busy marketplace. The sort of restaurant which I have seen, over the years, and always hesitated to patronise. How wrong I was. I truly believe that the meal we had last night was probably the best that we have enjoyed since we arrived.Â The restaurant itself was clean and beautifully painted and the food was all individually cooked on an open/barbecue in front of the restaurant. Certainly if I ever came back here I should change the habit of a lifetime and probably abandon the Onn Onn Corner restaurant; theÂ Bam Bam Â and the Smile Moon in favour of eating in one of these restaurants..
Before dinner, we dropped into the tailor to pick up my three new pairs of trousers -total costÂ 3800 baht, a little less than Â£100. Excellent value.
On our way back to the car in the marketplace I attempted to purchase a belt, believe it or not some 45 inches long. Having found a stall that sold leather goods, John bargained with the lad who was in charge and got him down to 250 from me labelled price of 350. The bargain was struck and money started to change hands.. Now the form is in Thailand, at least that which I have come to understand over the 12 years or so I’ve been coming here, is that you start the bargaining by saying that the price is far too high and offer them just about half, or a little over, claiming poverty and being an old age pensioner etc. They will then counter offer you something little less than the asking price pleading that they have a large family to support and so on and then be true bargaining begins. You should end up paying no more than stay two thirds of the original asking price and even at that they are making a good profit. At that point, when you leave the stall Â stallholder will still be smiling and you will think you got a bargain. A win-win situation. However ,last night John â€™ done the dealâ€™ at 250 Baht, a rather bad tempered man Â appeared, presumably the boy’s father and started to berate the poor lad with Michael in the background protesting in saying it was not the boys fault. But to no avail there was no running after us with a counter offer so we walked away without the belt.
In China I found that if I pressed stallholder to hard, usually starting at no more than one third of the original asking price and going through the same process of pleading, poverty etc , if I misjudged the level at which he would deal and I was allowed to walk away, then my offer price was below that which the shopkeeper could make any profit whatsoever. Occasionally, I got it wrong and not very often..So last night bargaining efforts are a slight mystery to me.
We returned to the hotel a little bit later than usual but were able to watch the end of The Girl with the Green Dragon Tattoo. A really exciting film with a slight twist in its tail.
Â Michael kindly Â started me on a course of antibiotics today in preparation for the journey home. He.did not want to do so earlier in case there had been a recurrence of a chest infection which would thenÂ be much more difficult to deal with.. In any event, as a result I enjoyed another good night’s sleep