Traffic is pretty nuts. There are road names, but good luck finding it when you’re driving or walking around. Lanes are very narrow with barely any shoulders. Scooters may pass on the inside or outside of cars, and they usually end up in a pile of hot exhaust at any stop (not sign because I’ve only seen one) or traffic light (have seen three). Generally speaking it is unorganized chaos, as was Thailand, but with even less organization, more like Cambodia. Have not yet seen an accident, knock on wood, however, A couple near misses, when Josh almost rammed Jared, and he almost rear ended a van, and narrowly clipped a pedestrian tho crossed at a bad time, on separate occasions. Mostly in rush hour those things are tough to avoid; there are hundreds of people moving on smal roads, and you are going very slow. But we’re all fine, using Kirk’s navigation skills and “short” cuts. The roads are so windey and random, its pretty tough to find your way around, but its easy enough to ask people along the way. last night we tried to navigate to Echo Beach for dinner, which ended up in asking 4 random people along the way, getting stuck in traffic, followed by backtracking home to catch a cab there. We were on the right track. It would have taken usa good 30m inutes to get there, however.
The weather is VERY hot and VERY humid. When I packed I thought I knew wha tto bring after spending 3 months in Mexico. Wrong. It’s way hotter here. Hoodies are useless, even at night or in the rain. Tight clothese are not smart, and very sweaty. Bathing suits; perfect. 50 sunscreen is also good. Sitting in the sun for more than 15 minutes results in a fry, severe sweating, and an immediate need for a pool or a jump in the ocean. Ahhh. Scooter helmets and traffic also produce this need for water. The water is not pretty blue like other places (Thailand), but more dark and misty due to humidity. The waves are huge, and we were unknowingly spoiled in Mexico. The water contains garbage, unfortunately, but they don’t seem to have a good waste removal program. There are bugs, but haven’t seen any cochroaches yet, just tonnes of spiders, musquitos, my friend Hugo the gecko (followed us here from Mexico).
The people are VERY friendly & polite. They always are the first to smile and say hello, just randomly on the street. They are willing to help if you are lost, and most of them can gesture directions if they don’t speak much english. The beach hagglers are a bit more persistent here, but not unlike Vietnam.
I cannot forget to mention the shopping possibilities are endless. Anything for your house, your bathroom, back deck, clothes for surfing, lounging, and pretty much any kind of anything you can buy here, for very nice prices. So nice, I sometimes can’t even barter with them. Example, $5.00 for 2 pillow cases(15×15) made of Bali Batik. Ok. I’ll take those for that. Sometimes we pay the taxi guy more, or the transport guy and tip the waitresses (which they don’t really do here), and maybe that’s going to lead t higher prices for tourists, but we just don’t want to be petty and get our change of $0.50 back. Sometimes you argue over a dollar. For what, I’m not sure. Principle or the game I guess. I would rather the fair price was listed on the item. Just tell me what the price is so I can payyou, as long as you aren’t completely ripping me off.
Overall, this is not the same place I came to 14 years ago. It’s like a new country, one I’ve never seen before, which is great in a lot of ways.