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1 Banana, 2 Banana … How Much Luv For Wi-Fi? Let Me Count The Ways …

January 6th, 2012 · Tags:Cities · Coffee Shops · Satire · Wi-Fi



IF you know me or read the PingWi-Fi blog, you know “we luvs us some boba tea.”  Hmmm … it is pretty scarce here in Thailand … even more scarce than Wi-Fi. I finally found some boba vendors — in this case, maybe boba-teers — in Ayutthaya on the sidewalk, in the outdoor market the other day. Trouble is, you are advised NOT to drink the water here. I wonder if the the bobas — those tiny tapioca balls floating in the tea — will kill all the little beasties in the water. Hmmm? Anywho … a great example of two young entrepreneurs (pictured … nice hat). I guess this is the Asian equivalent of running a snowcone stand in the summer back, in the U.S. Ha … the kid is wearing a snowcone …

Free enterprise … a great thing.  As I gather my thoughts for this blog, I am enjoying a nice, cool, sunny Saturday morning in Thailand.  I take a walk …  For the rest of my stay in Thailand, I will have the weekends off from The Dirty Gig, so hopefully there will be lots of time to sightsee, blog, sample Wi-Fi … it what we do.

As previously blogged, the Wi-Fi at my hotel is pretty much non-existent, and I have found Wi-Fi paradise, just about a block up the highway … a cool little coffee shack called Rabika. (I have to walk along the highway to get to Rabika, which is interesing, because not only do drivers drive on the opposite side of the road here … motorcycles drive any direction they want on the shoulder … which is where I am walking.)

More on Rabika … Perfect Wi-Fi … I also reported in the blog that the baristas there laugh no matter what I say, and they don’t understand a single word I say.  So, I continue to play the game.  They say three or four sentences to me in Thai, and I act as if I understand and say “That’s what she said.” (A great line compliments of The Office.)  Well … today I have upped the ante.  Today we had English lessons at Rabika.  I am mentor.  Today, the baristas are learning to say “That” “What” “She” “Said.”  Man, I find this amusing.  Hope you do to.  I showed them the blog about Rabika.  Ha!  They liked it and I think they think I am the new owner … Everyone: “That” “What” “She” “Said.”

Oh … I have also scratched an item off my to-do list.  I have always wished I had the talent and guts to sing in public.  I have neither.  NO … I didn’t go to a kaoroke bar.  I am now singing to the baristas.  Ha … what is the song?  I am creating a tune with near-notes and everything … the lyrics? … “That’s what she said.”  I am singing in a deep, opera voice, to the tune of “Nessun Dorma” from “Tosca.” We gots culture!

I digress … anyway. Back to free enterprise.  On my walk to Rabika, I passed another coffee hut.  It is literally a hut, not just because it doesn’t offer Wi-Fi … because it is the size of a storage unit, with about as many amenities.

(Throughout the industrial area where we are working, there are even more primitive coffee huts … sometimes a mere open-air shack made of bamboo and tin, standing on stilts, over what looks like sewage and swamp water ponds … yum … I am guessing they don’t have Wi-Fi … or napkins …)

The coffee hut in the hotel parking lot serves strong coffee … but no signal to satisfy my wireless urges.  However, this morning I spied something yellow.  The coffee hut does have fresh bananas.

Yum … I luvs me some bananas too … and without too much detail, I know I am really low on potassium and fluids and stuff due to a recent 2-day bout with the local critters in the food and water … too much 411! … Anyway … they say bananas are loaded with potassium.

I entered the coffee hut and of course, first I fired up my iPhone to doublecheck for Wi-Fi.  There is a signal that shows up — the network from my hotel.  So, like I said, that means they DO NOT have Wi-Fi.

Hmmm … let’s check out these bananas.  I spared this barista and did not sing “Yes we have no bananas today.”  I didn’t even pull out my old joke where I hold the banana to my ear and say, “Hello, hello … here it’s for you,” and hand her the fruit. I held back. No time for my weak jokes … I have an impulse buy on my mind. YES, in fact, they have the daily double.  You’ll see what I mean in a second.  But first, you need to know that in Thailand, negotiating is customary.  Heck … you can even barter at some stores in the mall.  What great fun.  Well … of course in my mind, this custom should go for bananas too.  Plus, I have an angle to work …

I point to one big banana and say, “How many boht?”  The barista answers “10 boht.”  That may sound expensive, but it is about 30 cents. Oooh.  I see an opportunity.  I double check.  I hold up one finger and repeat, “One banana — 10 boht?”  She says yes.

Aha!  I have her on this one, I am thinking …  I have noticed there is a genetic mutation in the bowl.  Holy banana split, Bat Man!  There is a double banana in the bowl — two long pieces of fruit in one tight banana skin. Ha … it looks like a yellow snake that has swallowed itself.  Not sure if I have seen this back in the states.  Again, I check … yes, one banana — 10 boht, she confirms.  I then grab and hold up the two-for-one bonus banana … Ha … it occurs to me this would be a banana Siamese twin … but that is politically incorrect.  Mustn’t do that.  So, let’ say it is a co-joined nanner!  I hold it up and she smiles.  I say, “One banana — 10 boht.”

Oh she didn’t see that coming.  I have her on a technicality.  There is one banana skin, so one banana.  She will have none of it.  “No, twenty boht,” she barks with a smile.  I say “No, you say one banana, 10 boht.”  We went back and forth like this for a while … laughing.

Finally I offer “Okay, fifteen boht.”  She looks puzzled and considers it … she thinks I have offered fifty boht, due to my language impairment (Texas accent).  Stop right there … this ain’t my first tuk-tuk ride … you can’t take advantage of me missy.  “One banana, 10 boht.”  She agrees to disagree.  We reach a stalemate.  We need an international trade expert to sort this thing out.  So, I pass on the double decker banana.  I have had at least 30 boht worth of fun haggling with her anyway.  AND … I secretly mashed and bruised the banana with something extra, anyway, when I put it back in the bowl. Showed her … mean old greedy Thai banana barista girl!

I took the normal banana … at a fair price, I might add … and off I went to Rabika … a richer man for the experience and no longer depleted of potassium … but as some would say, “so full of it.”

Oh cool … as I am writing this blog, a pair of regulars just walked in the door at Rabika coffee.  Their names are Wanvisa and Peerapol.  I saw the gentleman (Peerapol) on my first visit here.  He wears Harley Davidson clothing head to toe.  And he is the real deal.  There are two gazillion motorbikes on the roads here, but almost all are Suzukis or Yamahas and mostly mopeds.  My new friend has offered me a ride on the back of his Harley … a real hawg.  I opted for a photo of him and the bike, which is equipped with a really sweet chrome skull on the front, I might add. (The couple are laughing because I thought they owned Rabika since I first saw them, but they are regulars … like I am back at my Starbucks in Texas.)

My friend takes a call … This is so interesting from the culture too.  When a Thai answers their cell phone, typically, they say “Hello,” in a voice that sounds very similar to ours.  Then they go into their own dialect, after that one-word greeting in English, which for a lack of a better way to describe it is very nasal and abrupt sounding … Maybe it is like Americans saying “ciao” even though they don’t speak a lick of Italian …

Peerapol and Wanvisa are my new BFFS … they gave me much honor and they gave me a tiny copper charm, which seems to be something Thais carry for events such as this.  I will treasure forever my new charm of King Naresuan. Just about to read up on old King N.

King Naresuan

Know what I sayin?