The last few days have just been filled in by chilling and watching the view from our window of the Chao Phraya River...very relaxing. I suppose the highlight was on Saturday night, as a treat, we frequented the Ibis Hotel next to our building to sample their food and splashed out on a pizza. Thin, crispy crust and although I thought I was being cautious and not using the temporary veneered teeth all of a sudden one popped off. It was about 6:00 PM and thought that Thantakit might still be open so gave them a call to advise of the dilemma. They promised to call me back with a solution and within 10 minutes I had an appointment at their other clinic in Pratunam tomorrow at 12:00 and they had sent me the directions to show the taxi driver.
A short ride the next day saw me seated in the chair with a dentist glueing my veneer back on in 5 mins. We were just across from The Platinum Mall so decided. to have a look and maybe get some lunch there. The Platinum is not one of the huge, glitzy shopping malls usually associated with tourists but a huge un-glitzy with mostly locals doing there shopping. Every level is dedicated to a particular line, like kids clothing, mens, womens etc and the stores are very small but the prices are as well.
We weren't there for shopping, just eating so made our way to the food court level, where by observation, realised that you first have to go to one of the voucher desks where you decide how much you want to spend on food and then get a swipe card loaded with that amount of money. Most of the stalls don't handle cash so after you over your food they will swipe your card which deducts the cost of the food from your balance. We got some spring rolls and a couple of Roti which all but used up our credit so didn't bother going to one of the refund desks to cash in the remaining balance. Bit of a system but I suppose if you went there frequently might be useful.
Roti's are soft but another veneer popped off on the other side so, back to the dentist and another glueing. Only 2 days until permanent one's will be fitted so might be on soup until then.
We had both been promising ourselves to get our long suffering teeth a long deserved overhaul and after extensive research had narrowed it down to Thantakit Dental. Crunch time, so to speak, had arrived and we had been picked up by their driver and taken to their clinic in Phetchaburi where we filled out forms had our passports photocopied and waited for about 30 minutes before being called to our destiny.
The clinic was very swish and modern and before I knew it had numerous hi-tech x-rays taken of my teeth and was seated in the chair talking to the dentist about what needed to be done and what could be done. She had also taken digital pics of my teeth and was able to show me what condition they were in, much to my embarrassment, and how to rectify years of neglect. In my case as a youngster I had been prescribed large doses of Tetracycline which is a broad spectrum antibiotic which does a great job of killing off bugs but also turns forming teeth and bones a lovely shade of yellow. No usual UV or bleaching can make this change as the colour is right through the tooth so the only option is a crown or veneers.
In my case a set of 4 veneers and two crowns was decided as the best antidote as well as a couple of other crowns and a bridge thrown in as well. Being used to Australian dentists where anything beyond a clean and maybe one filling would take a few appointments spread out over a month or so before I knew it I was laid back with a cover over my eyes and numerous needles and implements hanging out of my mouth.
I have got to say that during the whole 4 hours I sat in that chair I never felt the slightest pain, not even from the numbing needles. It was however a marathon for both me and the very slightly built dentist as she called half-time to give me a rest and stretch after a couple of hours. By 4:30 I had some number of temporary veneers, crowns and a bridge in situ and was in a taxi on our way back to the unit.
Jo also had a mouth full of plastic teeth and was amazed at how much work could be undertaken in such a short time. We were both surprised at how quick the anaesthetic wore off as we were used to numb lips and drooling like fools for some hours after this sort of treatment.
By now we had decided we should re-establish our relationship with the gym and pool so descended to that level to have a pre work-out viewing. The gym was as we remembered, quite sufficient for our needs then proceeded to the pool area. It was here things went a little pear-shaped as the door to the pool area was locked with a notice about repairs being underway. We both stared at the notice with puzzled and unbelieving looks of WTF...surely this must be just for the day but no.... it appears the pool will be closed until further notice!
Mmmm....this puts a bit of a downer on the whole show. Not that we are poolside loungers but the thought of a light exercise bout followed by a refreshing dip was quite enticing and that was our plan for the next 2 weeks.
We retired to our "eyrie" to contemplate the possibilities.
Ok, we can try to cancel our extension here and go back to the "wardrobe" but that wasn't too attractive. To give us the best chance of a cancellation without losing too much cash we messaged our host to report our disappointment about not being informed of the pool closure. To her credit she agreed to refund our money which then set us the task of finding alternate accomodation.
Tomorrow we are both to have an appointment with Thantakit Dental to get an idea of what dental work we can fit in while in Bangkok so will deal with alternate accomodation in the next few days.
Great night's sleep and we were both happy just to chill and spent the day very happily enjoying the view and eating, drinking and napping the day away. By late afternoon we had decided to extend our stay by another week before it got snapped up on us.
Slept well with our "imported from Darwin mattress topper" installed on the standard Asian mattress and ventured downstairs to survey the property for future reference as we have decided that we can at least use this as a pied-à-terre. We had a late breakfast at the on-site restaurant which was actually very good and, as expected, well priced being mainly being used by locals.
We had to wait until just after lunch to move to the next place so spent a little time separating our gear into "must have' and "maybe not" varieties and was able to leave our larger suitcase in our "walk-in wardrobe". We were able to hail a taxi in no time and were able to direct the driver to the Baan Sathorn building where we had so enjoyed our last stay a few years ago.
The uniformed doorman was a newer, younger version but his salute was just as snappy and we collected our swipe card from the letter box next to the lobby area. This time we were on a lower level, floor 17, but the views from both the living and bedroom were just as good being right next to the Chao Phraya River with no obstructions. The ever present rice barges forged their way passed with long-tail boats buzzing around them and the day tripper tourist ferries passed way below us as we sat smug and comfortable in our eagle's nest above.
The Sena Fest shopping mall was just across the road to stock upon the usual needs for survival and the Bangkok Cafe was just below for good, tasty, cheap food. We were where we wanted to be at last.
Well we may have over estimated our ability to live within 30 square metres. It's not that is a "bad"or "dirty" condo....it's just.....small. If it was for a few days, no problems but we have taken this place for 5 weeks so we are thinking the walls might start to close in after a while. Also the location is a fair bit further from where we thought it would be, there is a pool and a gym and a 7/11 just out in the main road but that's it. Mainly inhabited by locals, not that there's anything wrong with that, everyone is so respectful of everyone else's privacy we don't hear a raised voice or a slammed door at all. Also the river view is as pictured, just doesn't show the other 120 degree view of the next building right across the way.
Also to get to the public transport we are comfortable using, the BTS, it's a 180 baht metered taxi ride so will actually get a little pricey, by Thai standards, over time. Enter Airbnb to the rescue!! In no time we had ascertained that the building we had stayed in a few years ago that was just where we wanted to be had a flat available so we booked a week there and are to move in tomorrow.
Oohhh that alarm was just too, too early and we both had a rubbish sleep with a combination of noisy guests and anticipation of getting on the road again. Luckily the Darwin airport hotel is only a short walk away so we were lined up at check-in by 4:45AM. At this hour there was no other flights so getting through security was a breeze as was the same with immigration so we were in the departure lounge just after 5:00 AM.
I was able to grab some Thai Baht from one of the ATM's but a word of warning that the exchange rate from these machines is pretty terrible but I suppose you are paying for the convenience. Our Jetstar flight is via Singapore which is a 4 and a half hour flight and although it was full plane we both managed a few short naps during the flight.
Arrival in Singapore was as smooth as it usually is at Changi Airport with everything being well signposted with plenty of security screens in operation to speed up the procedure. We were able to pick up a free wifi log in voucher from one if the information booths by producing our passports. Then grabbed a coffee and made our way to the next departure gate and settled down for the 45 minute wait till the next flight.
Another full plane for the Bangkok flight but this time we had front row seats which are great for getting a quick get away on landing but for me there is actually less leg room having no seat in front to stretch my legs under, just the bulkhead in front.
We arrived at Don Muang airport right on time and were probably the first to get off the plane and first at immigration. No waiting, just a quick stamp and through we went. Our departure to KL is over the 30 day tourist visa stay so we will be doing the obligatory "visa run" to Cambodia for 3 days later this month.
After exiting the customs area, no check at all, we were able to locate the "Dtac" mobile booth to purchase 2 local SIM cards and have the girl there set it all up for us. Then it's down one level and follow the signs to the taxi ranks. There is a choice of types of taxis to use whether you require a minibus or just the "normal" type. Dependent on what type you need there is a ticket machine that issues you with a numbered ticket that corresponds to the taxi you have been allocated.
Our driver had very little English but we had printed off the address of our accomodation in Thai to show him. He was able to program the address into his mobile phone and google maps did the rest. These official taxis are supposed to use the meter but it pays to tell the driver you want to before starting off. Our driver actually had a baseball cap over his that he removed after I told him we wanted to use the meter. Also be aware that it is expected that if you use the tollway that you will pay the tolls at the booths, usually 50 baht.
To be continued........
Tyre stayed up!!!! It was with the greatest relief that we arrived in Darwin without having to drag out the jack and spare wheel. We dropped the dogs at the kennel, dropped the car at the car storage place and were in the hotel with a well earned drink in front of us by 5:00PM.
Mind you, we had not had any alcohol for weeks as Peppi as it is ostensibly a "dry" community that it only took a few drinks and we were ready to crash in our room. Even more so as we had our alarm set for 4:15 AM as the flight departs at 6:00 AM.
OK,it may seem like I'm keen to get out of Peppi but really it's just to get out of "anywhere" to be "anywhere else".
All bookings have been made, even the in-laws who will be joining us in Bangkok in 3 weeks, then Phuket, then KL for a week. Dogs are booked into a kennel in Darwin for 5 weeks, our car is booked into the car storage near Darwin airport and accomodation is booked at the Darwin airport hotel as we have a 6:00 AM!!! departure on Sunday morning for Bangkok via Singapore. No other options unfortunately.
The only concern I have, and I've not mentioned it to Jo, is that I've noticed one of the tyres is looking a little flat so will pump,that up in the morning just before leaving Peppi and cross fingers on the trip to Darwin.
Now that I've entered back into the gainfully employed league having started work here last week I can say it's rather sublime here at "Peppi". As a comparison I regularly saw 15 people a day in Mt Liebig which has a similar population number as here. In Peppi I would be lucky to see that many in a week and a weeks overtime could be done in one night elsewhere.
Which may sound like a RAN's dream but in reality it can become a little boring. Also at the end of the day, if you are going to be living in a very remote location I think the renumeration needs to be commensurate with the locality. Particularly if you are only in a community for a short time as an agency nurse it really doesn't matter that much if the overtime is over the top as you realise it is only for "X" amount of time and then its over and you move on.
Anyway we will be moving on very soon as I'm only here for 3 weeks then it is holiday time and I have been spending an inordinate amount of time planning and booking flights and accommodation for our break. See next instalment.