Thursday, February 15, 2007

Outside my Monkeysphere

So I continue my quest to broaden my monkeysphere. Whats a monkeysphere, you ask? Its an unscientific term for the study of the primate neocortex that determines the total number of interpersonal relationships a primate can have. The scientific paper about it is here. A much easier to understand and hilarious summary of it is here.

Anyway, I've moved up north. I left Bangkok behind and now I'm in Chiang Mai, the second largest city in Thailand which is nestled between mountains I can't pronounce, just southwest of beautiful Laos, and about 60% less smoggy, which is a bonus.

I'm working on another laser for Chiang Mai University up here, and I gotta say, the scenery is a lot more serene than the crowded Bangkok, though finding food has been a much more difficult chore as the english language is not nearly as prevalent here in stores and restaurants than it is in Bangkok. There are one type of service that provides a lot of english translation...

Internet gaming! (That girl totally caught me taking pictures of them playing WoW, luckly her shadow elven acrobat was in a pitched battle with a Trollkin orc barber so she couldn't call me out in front of everyone) They like the internet gaming here.

But like I said, finding food has been difficult. Whereas nearly everything in Bangkok has its english equivalent written under it in menus, here I haven't yet seen any place that caters to us farang. Well, that's not true, there is one area of town I walked by...

I think tonight I'll waltz in there and just say "Whiskey!" to the bartender, like I'm some sorta Wild Bill Hickock and see if I actually get whiskey, or if they just stare at me like every other place around here does when I say that.

I've been forced to live on convienience store food, which wouldn't be so bad except I don't have a microwave or anything, and the flavors of normally regular items around here are simply insane.

That's right. Grilled Lobster flavor potato chips. I tried them and sure enough, they taste like grilled lobster! Well, they taste like a molecule that fits in the same binding pockets in your tongue that grilled lobster occupies. That is to say, it tastes like grilled lobster, except they also taste like chips, and there's no doubt in your mind that you're eating fake lobster chips. I mean, after eating the whole bag, I just wanted to throw up.

The university is pretty cool though. Its built right into the Jungle around it.

That's the science building I work in ("Science Complex Building #2"). I did a little walking around campus and all the old paths are very nice (nobody uses them as EVERYONE owns a motorcycle or skooter and drives them with reckless abandon around the university. So the walking paths are nice and uncrowded.

They have a lot of the same civil engineering designs of Bangkok.

Shops immediately next to highway? Check.

Too many motorcycles and completely no regard for helmet safety? Triple Check.

Thats three ~86-lb girls speeding by me on a single motorcycle. I see that shit all the time.

And finally, random wild dogs just laying around everywhere? Check!

I gotta say though, I love these dogs. You can walk right between a group of them and they won't so much as look at you (no begging, no growling, no nuthin), and they survive just fine without our help. Contrast that with what we make our dogs do over in the states.