Monday, March 10, 2008


I need to replace my watch's band and battery. Normally, the watch repair guys operate off a cart, but my soi has a glass-enclosed shop. It's way small (say, 6' X 4'). Even so, the purveyor has managed to air-condition the joint.

I show the guy my watch, and ask him how much. Not more than 200 baht. How many minutes must I wait? 10 minutes. I tell him I'll have lunch, cross the street, and find some "Kao Soi Gai". Delicious Northern Thai cuisine, though it'd be even better in a place like Lampang or Chiangmai. The noodles are key, and nobody seems to get them right in Bangkok.

I slurp down the Kao Soi, and return to the shop. The guy hasn't begun the repair. That's to be expected, so I'm not irked. He invites me to sit on a stool in the shop. "Songs for Life" music is playing, and he begins the repair.

He interacts with a number of folks via a little sliding window. First, there's a boy who opens the window and asks a question. The purveyor closes the window without an answer, and the kid smiles. Second, a guy has an issue with his leather watchband. He gets redirected to a shoe repair shop. Another guy has some kind of question. He gets ignored, walks away, shows up again a couple minutes later, exchanges a sentence or two, and stays.

The cost is 180 baht. Opening the door, the music segues into myriad voices, and the temperature soars. There's a woman chatting on her mobile phone, blocking the way to the soi. She's not aware of me. There's no reason to be aware of me. No sane person would care about such a momentary impediment.

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