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#officeoftheday

Day 316: Checking out L’Usine Heritage, the original at Dong Khoi for an #officeoftheday

This was another one of those businesses so effectively tucked away that I’m amazed we weren’t the only ones sat in there. I’d actually come to this location a few days before to meet my friend after failing to realise there was more than one L’Usine. After walking up and down the street a few times and finding no L’Usine it came to light that I was at the wrong branch anyway. Still, I didn’t understand why I couldn’t find the wrong branch. It was alleyways again.

This time my friend was already waiting for me and had predicted her foreign friend would have trouble so she had snapped the alleyway for me that I had to go down. It was named something completely different and it wasn’t until you had walked a long way into it that you saw the first sign pointing the way.

We had been lured back because she was given a free coffee voucher at the last L’Usine, but it wasn’t a hard decision to make. The food was great and the WiFi was strong.

Story Time

Day 316: How does a chicken cross the road, and other Asian traffic tales

Rush hour? Not rush hour.

Arrived in Vietnam! Got in a taxi at peak rush hour yesterday. It looks like we drove into a pedestrian zone? No that’s wheel to wheel floods of moped riders trying to get home.

(Actually, I showed this to some Vietnamese people and this is not rush hour at all, somehow it gets even more intense).

Just like a dogs leg goes when you scratch him, my foot was stomping on the imaginary brakes at every twist and turn. Each time there was the slightest gap in traffic my driver put his foot down to get moving, while at the same time mopeds in front would suddenly lurch out at 90-degree cross angles to us and cyclists just seemed to exist carefree in the middle of this. It was gut-wrenching!

It seems that the only responsibility you have as a driver is to make sure it’s clear in front of you. It’s then everyone’s job behind to swerve you, no matter what mad stunt you have just pulled.

There were people riding the wrong way down the street, on the paths, and doing u-turns all around us.

Somehow it works. I saw no one even bump, let alone crash while I was peeking out.

How does a chicken cross the road?

OK, so watching it from the relative safety of a Grab taxi is one thing. However, the next stage of becoming one with the traffic was finding myself at street level, feet on the tarmac, face to face with the bustle and throng.

I’ve been to Bangkok, and I thought I had learned the secrets of crossing traffic. I was fresh off the plane. Everything was an exciting, eye-catching distraction. Now I was stood at the edge of a 6 lane major road in downtown Siam, wondering how anyone got anywhere.

As I prepared to dash out at full speed the first time there was a glimmer of a gap in the traffic, two older ladies arrived at the edge of the road. I’d already been having a hard time imagining how I would make it to the other side, how were a couple of nice old ladies possibly going to fare well?

After barely a pause they just stepped out into the traffic. The thought flashed through my mind that I was about to see two people get run over, but that’s not what happened next. It turned out that their age was the magic sauce for the situation. Their slow pace blended perfectly with the pace of the traffic and they merged together like the teeth on a zipper. As they stepped into the gap between two cars, the drivers slowed slightly and by the time the car would have been worrying about hitting them they were already into the next lane.

It was my only option so I did the same as them. The next few moments were a blur but I found myself on the other side of the road with no scratches and nobody cursing me for this reckless behaviour.

But I digress, I’m not back there in Bangkok any more, I’m stood about 750km away in the tourist district of Ho Chi Minh City and I need to summon the courage to take the same leap of faith.

What’s changed this time to set me back to square one? Well, it was one thing to step out into the mildly progressing Bangkok traffic but Ho Chi Minh City has a very different traffic profile. It’s not 2-3 cars you have to contend with, its 30-50 mopeds, motorbikes, cyclists, taxis and buses that you have hurtling towards you at “that will hurt” speeds.

Like before in Bangkok, the last thing I thought before I stepped off the pavement was “my mum will be so disappointed with me if I get myself taken out in such a stupid way”, but I’d already been told success was for the bold so I started to walk out into traffic. I suppose you have figured out that if I managed to type this up I somehow survived. Maybe you are secretly hoping I’m going to reveal this was typed from a hospital bed? It would have made for a fun post but no, I am fine, the traffic is fine, and despite me going against everything my parents and teachers taught me about crossing the road, the world is still fine.

In Vietnam, when you step out into fast-moving traffic you are not met with anger, you don’t become the target of a honk or fist shake, you are not immediately mowed down causing a 20 moped pile up. No. They want to get to their destination just like you do. You just become part of the contract of the road. As long as you proceed at a casual pace the traffic will adopt you as their own and flow around you.

It’s maybe better to do it the first few times either with a local or just be not really looking. Mad I know, but staring oncoming traffic down inspires the sudden need to dive out of the way and that’s the worst thing you can actually do on these roads.

I actually saw a taxi do a u-turn on this roundabout. Imagine that middle left white taxi, just slowly turning right and going back the way it came. It blocked everyone up for a minute but nobody got angry. I also saw a white couple just stroll from bottom left to top right without anyone batting an eyelid.

What the beep?

The sound of beeping horns is the bedrock of Saigon’s background noise. It is an erratic yet consistent sound that will lull you to sleep at night. I could sense there was some kind of pattern to the siren song but I couldn’t crack the code. Luckily I have a babysitter while I am here in Vietnam so I have access to a source of local knowledge when I have these types of questions.

I just couldn’t figure out the tone behind the beeps. It wasn’t conversational – they hadn’t spotted a friend. It wasn’t confrontational – people were not shaking fists. Yet, it didn’t feel functional either. No matter where I looked I couldn’t see what it was that was actually being beeped at.

So obviously I concluded that if it wasn’t obvious to me then they were all insane, erratic honking madmen.

As I’ve written earlier, it appeared like it was every driver for themselves on the roads which had stopped me from thinking laterally about these strange honks. My local guide told me a tale of her father and how he beeps almost constantly when he is driving, so much so that she has to tell him that she can not hear any more honks, please. Why is he doing this? Well, I cannot possibly drag this out any further, despite my obvious attempts to do so.

The reason for many of the honks is that, as I observed before, the riders are only interested in whats in front of them. Often riders will simply come barreling out of a side road without stopping to check if there is any traffic on the street they are joining. So many of the honks are actually not at anyone or anything, they are just to warn the potential side-street traffic that there are other players in the game.

The rest of it seems to form a kind of sonar-location system that gives the drivers in front a bit of information about the traffic behind them. Car wants to get through? Honk. Somebody is trying to merge into a space they don’t want to give up? Honk. You just joined the back of the traffic. Honk.

And yes, once I did see a rage-honk from my taxi driver when somebody didn’t get the message. That was more like honk, honk, Honk, Honk, HONK.

Daily Life

Day 315: Weight up!

In other news, I was gifted the lovely experience of being the 7th person in a 9 person rated elevator today and I set the weight limit alarm off.

I’d already dashed for it, only to miss it by a hairs-breadth. Luckily one of the riders pressed the door open button and gave me a second chance at travelling up with them.

After sliding in we all stood there for a moment looking at each other before we realised in unison that the beeping noise was because I was too heavy to ride.

Cue me shuffling out again backwards with an awkward smile and my new friends taking to the skies without me.

#officeoftheday

Day 315: Evening #officeoftheday with Mr 8 and egg coffee

After dinner, we decided to put in a few more hours at the laptops, but we definitely needed a boost. After walking around looking for a suitable coffee chain we settled on Mr 8 Coffee. It looked like a tiny 1 table coffee shop at first before we headed upstairs, where it looked like a slightly larger, tiny coffee shop. Big enough to set up a laptop so we were happy.

My friend convinced me to try egg coffee, which sounded like it was going to be some kind of raw egg but was actually a tasty sweetened experience more like a blended egg custard. We also spotted two names that had very funny accidental meanings in English which left us with the serious giggles.

Then I spotted another set of stairs going up and when I poked my head around the corner it turned out it wasn’t a tiny shop at all, there was a full-sized coffee shop layout, with another 10 or so tables and even a merchandise shop up on the third floor.

We found an entertaining spot that looked out onto the roundabout below and I mostly just wrote blog posts rather than getting anything done for my clients.

#officeoftheday

Day 315: Spending the day at L’Usine Le Loi #officeoftheday

My first taste of L’Usine was a literal first taste. As soon as I walked into the shop part of the business I was greeted by my friend who eagerly directed me over to a food cart. Turns out they were preparing for a new menu that day. In exchange for filling out a small form with my opinion, I was invited to sample 5 of the potential menu options. It was a delicious start to the day.

We spent the entire day there in the end, devouring coffees and smoothies before moving on to sharing cakes and a salmon bagel.

Update: Just looked it up and L’Usine means The Factory.

#officeoftheday

Day 314: The Snap Cafe #officeoftheday

This is a family-friendly cafe is in the posh area of Saigon, over in district 2. Upon arrival, we were teased between the choice of sitting over in the side with the childrens park or sitting in the quieter area. There was an attractive looking table that caught our attention in the kids area but just as we were about to set up one of the wait staff asked if we had children with us. We said no and he told us we couldn’t sit on this side then.

My friend said something in Vietnamese to him and I just had a gut feeling I knew exactly what she said. “Did you just tell him I was a big kid?”, I asked. “Yes”, she laughed, “but he still says no.”

I guess it turned out for the best as we moved to the quiet side and got an equally good quality table, near to a power socket and away from the distractions of playful children.

Daily Life

Day 314: Celebrating my digital nomad Pi day

I was going to hold off until my first year before writing another “I’ve been a nomad for X days” posts. Then I realised today was my Pi day and threw my reservations out the window.

Today is my digital nomad Pi day, which is not something I just made up, it’s totally a real celebration.

I took this screenshot and spoke about it a bit with my friends but didn’t get any further than that on the actual day. Even when I had planned to post this I was still just thinking that would be all I had to write about.

But it’s not going to be.

I went back to that day to look at my photos. This was only 5 days ago and it already feels like a lifetime ago.

I am always ready to tell people that “I’m not actually on holiday all the time, I just live there”. Taking a look back at this random day though it’s hard to deny I’m not cramming a lot of fun into life.

The day started off optimistically, with an attempt to convince you I had a healthy breakfast and a photo that was to be my “digital memory” later on:

The photo of the packets was the snacks that I had started devouring when I arrived at my hotel. I was excited to find a basket of snacks and a fridge full of beer. There was no price list anywhere so I concluded it was the same as the coffee and water; free welcome gifts. I had already chomped through three of them before I spoke to Giang (pronounced Yann), my Vietnamese friend. She told me this was a standard trick by the hotels and they would have the price list down in the reception. Don’t forget, she cautioned, I was staying in the tourist district of Saigon.

I had seen some of the snacks in the local shop so I planned to replace them before the hotel got involved. I ended up forgetting all about it though and when I arrived back that evening the snack bar was already refilled – it was too late to cover up my food crimes.

In the end, they charged me 30k a snack which I thought was good/acceptable/small enough to not care (1GBP each). And I really didn’t care, until I got to the next hotel and they had the price list in the room with a lot more reasonable 12k per snack (about 40p).

Deep breath. Breathe out and let it go Matthew. Moving on.

After that, the day was beginning. So far we had been heading to local spots on foot. Today, Giang had ideas to take me a short taxi ride away over the Saigon river, to the posher District 2. We went to The Snap Cafe, a place she had worked from regularly before when she was remotely working for a company. Desks, WiFi, smoothies were good. I also randomly ordered myself a pint of Craft Ale and got my buzz on from that for a while.

You can see from the photos that it has some nice styles to it with plenty of greenery bursting forth from every angle. All of the desks had their own style to them and it was both spread out and kind of set up as private mini-areas at the same time.

There was also a pool table that you could unwind on, and there is a kids area over on the other side. Upon arriving you are given the choice between the kids play area or the quiet area. The kids play area had some really cool looking custom built kid-sized buildings. Stuff like a shop and house, with stairs to get on the roof. I was jealous, but I was also about 25 years too old to go play.

The risotto was either awful if they intended to do it that way, or just embarrassing if they forgot to put the cream into it. Seriously, look at it in the gallery above, it was a brown oily mess, not a white creamy dish like the rest of the world knows it.

We also had a friend-of-a-friend meet up with us for lunch while we were there. We had an interesting conversation about rent, locations, startups and travel – she had previously spent two years in Chiang Mai working for a company that has a base over there.

The night before we had met some of Giangs climbing buddies. During the conversations we had agreed to meet them today at the climbing gym, so after a productive day we got in a Grab and headed over to their location. The taxi got more than a little bit lost as this gym was tucked away in an essentially hidden location but we got there in the end and spent a few hours climbing:

Conclusion: I really like climbing! After some introductory tips from a local expert, I was ready to tackle my first climb.

They have colour-coded tags at the bottom which tell you how hard each one will be. I started off with the simplest and rocked up the wall so fast I felt like a superhero. The coloured rubber bits are called holds. You have to dangle from the top hold for 3 seconds to officially complete that route, then you can come down using any hold you want. Moving left to the next wall, I was again to the top before anyone could stop me.

I’m amazing! World-class! A natural, I said to myself.

Then I got to the one in the pictures above.

The combination of some long stretches and being tipped backwards quickly and very permanently brought me back down to earth. Over the next hour, I slowly exhausted myself taking runs at this course. I wanted to do it so bad and made it a little bit higher a few times but at the end of the day, my weakling little computer arms and rapidly deteriorating grip strength were not going to see me through this challenge.

Even though I spent the next 3 days with sore arms, I’ve been through that initial period of starting a gym many times and know that would quickly fade. I would go back another time for a climbing session somewhere for sure. New hobby!

After that, the night was still just getting started. I jokingly said I could do with a beer now and Giang was like “yep” straight away. Normally I am used to being told no when want to get some random drinks so I felt a bit spoiled that she is up for this sort of thing as well as being a great daytime motivation partner!

We said bye to our climbing friends and took a taxi back to District 1. This time we went under the river through the tunnel and got dropped off at drinking spot she is particularly fond of, Pasteur Street Brewing Co.

They do a taste testing option on the menu. You get 6 drinks of your choice, and as soon as we saw it, it was ordered without hesitation. They were all quite nice except for the dragons salty nutsack or something like that – the pink one in the middle above. Not recommended.

The rest? Recommended. The spring rolls – recommended. The company? She is also recommended, but limited edition. Spending 10 minutes trying to eat the bar nuts with chopsticks? Well YMMV but I enjoyed it.

We were definitely tipsy by the time we barrelled out of this bar but also starting to feel the rumble of tummies, so the journey wasn’t over. This time we weren’t going to miss out on the food court near her hostel. It shut at a, quite frankly, unreasonable 10pm each night so we had already missed it before.

This time we were there in time to order something, and that something was the abso-fricken-lutely huge Vietnamese Pancake pictured above. It was filled with bean sprouts, vegetables, shrimp and other interesting things. Next to it, there was a huge plate of green leaves which were for two things – the large tasteless ones to use as wraps, and the others to use as seasoning. Then sweet chilli sauce on the side.

I’m typing this and realising how grateful I am to my guide, I wouldn’t have figured out so many things on this trip without having her by my side (if you read this thank youuuuu!)

Despite her going into a serious food coma after our food, the night still wasn’t over. I walked her back to her hostel to drop her off. On the way, she went really spaced out for the first part of the journey, but then she rallied at the last minute and took me up to the roof bar on the top of the hostel.

In fact, she got back into it so much that she tried to order more drinks after last orders and started brainstorming somewhere else we could go before I sent her to bed!

So here I am 314 days deep into this journey. Life is still very new and exciting most days. I am really happy that I have found this opportunity to direct my energies into.

I guess people can end up having different digital nomad experiences. There are many different types of business. Peoples skill sets are developed at different levels. Their businesses are more or less stable. They are more or less disciplined.

I have been lucky that my 314 days have been pretty smooth sailing business wise and I have been free to concentrate on the experience itself.

If you can figure out a way to, and it interests you, I would recommend trying out this lifestyle to anyone that can come up with a way to make money remotely.

Story Time

Day 314: Stay humble and soak in the culture gracefully

Don’t get cocky when you have no idea about the history of a culture. That was my lesson for today.

I’d had a few drinks, that was true, but suddenly I thought I knew better than hundreds of years of Asian history.

I was looking at some art on the wall of a local food hall of a typical historical scene.

“Why do they make it hard for themselves?” I blurted out to my Vietnamese friend, “They should just get a cart with wheels!”

I was referring to the street sellers that carried their shops around by balancing a stick on their shoulders + dangling the wares at each end like a pair of counterbalance scales.

She was calm with me but I needed to be brought down a peg or two.

Firstly, she patiently corrected, the wheeled trucks don’t come for free and not everyone has the money to invest in something like this.

We had actually been talking about homeless people a few days before and this prompted a new thought to form in her head. “I think maybe the reason that Vietnam doesn’t have such a homeless problem is to do with the culture. Here, if we get into difficulties then we can always go and stay with our families for a short period. It is common for many people to live in the same room, which makes rent very affordable. Perhaps even as cheap as 10USD per person a month.”

“In fact, it’s very common to live together with your family when you are younger, in order to save money. People live close together because of the population levels. We have a high cost of land here compared to our wages.”

“Also it is very simple to get started with a small business in Vietnam. You can just get a stick to carry some things around, or buy some small wares to attach to a push bike and you can start to make some money. I think the combination of having the support of your family and the ease of getting going with a business like this means it’s more difficult to end up homeless.”

And secondly, she concluded, the sticks are a product of their environment. Often the sellers would need to cover rough terrain. Concrete paths and tarmac like in modern cities have not existed for long and even today the rural areas are hilly; a wheel just isn’t appropriate everywhere.

“Oh yeah”, was the best I managed to reply.

So I managed to both make myself look stupid and learn some new things at the same time. The important part, I think, is to be curious but not to assume I have better ideas 5 minutes after getting into a country vs centuries of established living practices.

#officeoftheday

Day 313: #officeoftheday The Maker, Ho Chi Minh City

The first time I’ve posted two #officeoftheday shots on one day. I feel like a digital nomad lothario, getting around town like this.

The second stop of the day was The Maker which was set inside a huge block of apartments, which have since been converted to a myriad of small cafe’s, fashion shops, and other establishments. It’s a complex building, wrapping around on itself in interesting ways.

The entrance to the building is down a small non-descript alleyway. Something that really caught me by surprise to start off with but I would later realise is actually standard practice for many of the commercial buildings in Ho Chi Minh City.

 

#officeoftheday

Day 313: #officeoftheday at The Workshop

I’m being guided around Ho Chi Minh City by a Vietnamese girl that I met while travelling.

The first place she has brought me to is a trendy cafe called The Workshop. It’s popular with coffee snob hipsters and co-workers alike. Ordered a blend that I did not comprehend and a filter that I couldn’t discern, but I still felt very cool doing it.

The photo shows my leather bound beaker that I decanted my fancy coffee from. Also part pictured is a plug-socket friend I made who asked if he could plug into our extension cable.

If this means anything to you, I picked from the pour-over category and went for a Kalita Wave.

Daily Life

Day 301: Street market scorpion attack

Close call in the night market this evening. So far I’ve seen cockroaches, rats, soi dogs, and even snakes. It’s day 301 though, and I did not know I was supposed to be on the lookout for scorpions as well!

We were just casually browsing some of the standard clothes when this little bad boy came barrelling out from under the rails and caused quite a kerfuffle.

The photo doesn’t have any post-processing on it, we were just nervous to get to close to its little snippers! Nobody knew how dangerous it was and even the locals were exercising caution, so I snapped this one and retreated quickly.

Eventually, it was captured in a plastic bag by a stallholder and taken off at arms-length. No fatalities.

Daily Life

Day 286: Beautiful wats are all around Chiang Mai

When I first came to Thailand I was on a mission to capture everything exotic and “Thailandy”. Since I’ve returned it has not been such a focus.

It’s amazing how quickly something so beautiful can blend into the background.

Today, in between going to the hospital and renewing my sim card I took a few moments to stop off at a few of the temples scattered around the edge of Old City.

Travel Tip

Day 286: How to go to hospital in Thailand

If you spend any amount of time out of your home country then sooner or later you’re going to want some medical help. It might be for something minor or you might be unlucky enough to need some major assistance. Either way, you will be in a weakened state when it comes down to it so it can’t hurt to brush up on the etiquette before you need to do this for real.

I had to go to the hospital today. I should have done this about 4 countries ago but each time it flared up it wasn’t convenient to take the time out. I was either about to board a plane, on holiday with my parents or just generally failing to adult.

This wasn’t the first time I had ended up in a hospital on this side of the world. I’d been in for a similar thing in my first month of being a digital nomad. It was a lot worse that time I was rolling around on my bed in proper pain. I was a long long way from my mummy. Despite having made friends at the hostel I was still a long way from anyone that I could turn to as well. It was a tough time. I realised just how weak and exposed I could feel out here in the world.

This time it was more of a mild annoyance hence why I had been putting it off to just travel around and have fun instead.

But having been to a hospital in Bangkok and now in Chiang Mai, I have spotted a standard pattern for what you can expect. You may have different ideas running through your head but let me say that my experiences with the Thai medical system have been nothing short of amazement. They are super clean, super modern and super efficient. Here is what you can expect:

Your passport is required!

Before you set off: Don’t forget your passport and any other essential notes you don’t have in your memory like your Thai address, phone number, and any information about travel insurance if you have it.

I also went armed with a wedge of THB, my credit card and the medicine I had been self-medicating with up to now.

Picking your hospital

For me, this was a case of just asking somebody. Another friend at the hostel in Bangkok had been poorly the week before. She had visited two and recommended the second one to me as it was the most modern.

Here in Chiang Mai, I turned to the ever helpful MJ who owns In The City Hostel which I’m staying at right now. She directed me to Chiang Mai Ram Hospital which is just on the northeast corner of Old City. Easily within walking distance of my accommodation.

Arrival

After dragging yourself to the nearest hospital you need to head for the biggest looking entrance you can see. They actually have people stood right inside the door and if you hesitate and look like you need assistance somebody will attend to you in seconds. The first step is to be taken to the new registration desk.

I actually barrelled into the place so quickly this time around that I didn’t spot these helpers on arrival. I only spotted them on the way out as they were helping the next wave of unlucky tourists to get situated.

Form

You will find that everyone speaks great English inside the hospital which is important when you want to describe the nuances of how it hurts when you do this or how this rash wasn’t there yesterday.

Forms in various languages, red was English

The first step is to head to the new patient desk. You will be given a form and they will take a photocopy of your passport while you are filling it out:

They will want to know, in broad terms, what is wrong with you. They will also sit you down and take a quick photo.

Ticket

After that, you get a ticket. Clutch on to this for the whole journey through the hospital, it is your ID. Once you have this ticket a nurse will take you to the next stage if it’s a long way away. In Bangkok, I was taken through halls and up an elevator before being told where to wait. In Chiang Mai I was told to head over to counter number 4 and give them my ticket:

Waiting

After they checked I was in the right place I was asked to sit down in the rows of seats and wait. I pulled my phone straight out and set about playing my latest puzzle game du jour. The waiting time in both cases was under 20 minutes.

They had asked me a few questions and then I had replied Chi (which is yes in Thai) and then they were like oh do you speak Thai? I quickly realised I was out of my depth. This was no place for me to be acting like I was multilingual just because I’d learned the half-a-dozen most popular Thai phrases, so I sheepishly said no. After that, I stuck to my mother tongue for the rest of my visit.

Examination

The gross bit: I have an ear infection, the doctor said it is from dirty water getting into my ear. I suspect that it’s because I used those little cotton bud sticks and cleaned my ears out a little too well, exposing my ear to the ravishes of non-potable water.

Potable water means drinking water. Did you know that? I didn’t until just a couple of months ago but it seems that it’s a widely known phrase. It went into my vocabulary builder anyway so it’s not getting away twice. Not sure how I missed it all these years!

The examination both times started out with a quick chat, then they told me they were going to take a look and performed the initial examination. In my home country, this is where your journey would end, with an appointment to return some days in the future. Not here in Thailand, both times they have said yep this needs some work and moved straight onto a procedure.

Warning – additional gross-ish bit: Now I must admit, I was somewhat spoiled in Bangkok. The Dr had two mysterious flatscreen tv’s mounted up in the top corners of the room. When he started the procedure they sprang into life. It was deliciously hideous. I was both repulsed and entranced at the same time. And I could not look away. The tool he was using had a camera mounted and I could see what he saw inside my ear. It was a mess but he worked to extract the bad bits. There was no pain. He said that there were no pain receptors in there so he could get on with it no worries. The sensation when I saw him remove the bad bit was utterly unique. It was like watching one of those standard medical procedure tv shows but as he pulled it out it coincided with an enormous sense of satisfaction as my hearing came back after being lost for the past three days! I kind of wish I could have got the video.

Ok, the gross details are done with now. After that, in Bangkok, I was then quizzed by the Dr about my knowledge of the safety, living cost and university quality of varies cities back in England. He was Thai, but it turned out his child was going to be going to uni in England and he was worried about which one would be the best but safest place to send her to. In the end, he applied a sort of bubble sort to reach his decision. Manchester or Leeds? London or Leeds? Leeds or Birmingham?

I think he was happy with his advice, and after the wonderful work he had just performed on me I was more than a little bit in love and would have helped him with any questions he had whatsoever.

Wrap up

After the fun was over the nurse takes you back out to the main waiting area. They prep your details on the system, transferring the notes the Dr has just passed along, so the next stage is ready for you. The nurse then took me over to the payment desk.

Payment

Even if you have insurance you still have to pay now, claim later. They have an announcement system which reads out the numbers in Thai. I sat there silently cursing myself for still having not learned the numbers yet. But they were ready for me and when it got to my number it switched to farang mode, doing the whole announcement in English.

Waiting to pay

At the desk, I pulled out my credit card to make the payment. The prescription was printed off with the rest of the invoice paperwork and was whisked over to a window in the wall which opened through to the on-site pharmacy.

The total bill for this wondrous service? 1989THB. That comes to roughly £47. Pretty reasonable in anyone’s books! And it includes the cost of the prescription as well.

As you might be able to make out, if you squint, the first 700THB was the Dr’s fee. The prescription medication cost 1029THB and then the remaining 200-300THB is the cost of the bits, the nurse and general hospital costs.

Prescription

I kind of like the way the prescriptions are presented here in Thailand. You get a little goodie bag and walk away feeling like you have just been to a children’s party:

You get a goodie bag from the pharmacy

They prescribed me Ibuprofen, which I was already taking. This costs about 10thb for a packet in a Pharmacy on the street. The ones in my goodie bag are Neurofen brand name ones. If I had realised that before I had paid I could probably have turned them down and maybe saved a few bt. Not the end of the world but I just feel compelled to try to optimise things so that sort of things niggles at me.

Healing

So I am on antibiotics for the next week, alongside ibuprofen and ear drops. The ear drops have to be done to both ears which means I can look forward to doing my best impression of Plug, from The Bash Street Kids in the coming days:

Looking like Plug from The Bash Street Kids

And that’s it. A pretty simple process, great value for money and super clean and high quality throughout. I recommend you cultivate your own medical situation as soon as possible so that you can have this experience too! (Disclaimer: If I actually have to disclaim this you are probably already a write-off).

Review

Day 285: The Glass House, Chiang Mai, review

Nomad friendly? No.

Not every day can be a glorious winner as a digital nomad. I somehow messed my sleep up and woke up early, then went back to sleep and slept until gone 12. After that, I had my breakfast and just never really managed to get into the swing of things.

I’ve said this before, even if I get my 8 hours in, unless they are at the right time, with me waking up in the morning, they don’t seem to count. Despite knowing this I have run the worst-managed sleeping cycle that I possibly could for basically all of adult life.

After wasting most of the day I decided to at least stay true to my new plan of trying out more mid-range cafe’s. I had walked past The Glass House so many times, during my first visit to Chiang Mai and during this return trip, always peeking over the fence at it and planning it for “one day”.

It’s not hard to catch your eye as they have got a great setup with lights in the trees and stylish surroundings throughout:

Now maybe I’m not being fair on the place as I ordered beef burger and wedges. I know it’s western food and maybe they do some really tasty local dishes, but it’s one of the things they advertise outside on a specials chalkboard and they have a broad range of western food items on their menu so I think they brought this upon themselves.

It started off well, stylish table, koi friend swimming in the pond next to me, water feature gurgling away. They brought me a free little shot of something to welcome me. As soon as they delivered though I was greeted with the sadness:

The plate looks like its missing some stuff with that huge gap. The burger was basically the size of a 99p one in Burger King. The bun had a chewiness to it that betrayed the fact that it had just been defrosted in a microwave. The meat was actually quite tasty but it was one of those ones that are processed frozen meat like you would get at a fairground in the UK.

I opted for the cheese upgrade which was a good job because if I had not then it would have been a lonely burger. Inside that bun was exactly two things, a cheap patty and an unmelted cheese square. You can see it was joined by a total of about 9 wedges.

Food scoffed. Tummy rumbling. Wallet 175thb lighter.

Sample Menu Items

Didn’t get a photo of the menu, it was too dark as I was leaving. I might be able to update this with a day shot later…

Most items were in the region of 100thb to 250thb with a 350thb steak outlier.

My beef burger was 150thb, with a 25thb cheese upgrade.

They had a pork/chicken burger option for 125thb.

I remember seeing Chicken with Cashew Nuts for 165thb.

Nomad friendly?

It was a proper restaurant setting so definitely not feeling nomad friendly. They did have free WiFi though.

Recommended?

Not highly. It seems like it could be a good place to bring your parents if they were over visiting but for standard nomad life, I don’t think I will be returning.

I don’t know why I feel bad for it, but I kinda do. I feel like I’ve kicked a puppy. I’m sorry restaurant but you just didn’t deliver and if I’m not going to be honest then what’s the point in this?

Bonus snaps

I snapped a few scene setters to try to show off the awesome decor. There was also a huge cross-section of a tree trunk that was for groups down the middle that I didn’t get a picture of. And a little wooden swing outside.

 

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