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One of my favourite things about Thailand is the soi, those multitudes of little side streets that run off the bigger roads that are little microcosms of the real Thai lifestyle.
I’m not talking about any of the sois that run off of Sukhomvit or Silom or any of the other major tourist places. I’m referring to the sois that all but the most adventurous tourists would probably not see.

One of the simplest pleasures in life is strolling down to the soi in the morning and sitting on one of those stone table and chair sets-you know the ones with the checkered pattern on top of the table- with a drink and some of those little fried pockets with curry in them, reading the paper while secretly people watching.

You can get your laundry done at the same place. Stores in the soi are also a great place to practice your Thai language skills (or lack of them.) Bumbling and stumbling away to the old ladies in butchered Thai, reactions are priceless and encouraging.

Apart from going to work or the bank, you could probably stay in the soi for week, since everything is available- well in the soi that I’m thinking about it is- a little internet shop with two computers that need to be switched on when customers come in, a drug store, numerous restaurants, a little market selling groceries, and of course the ubiquitous dvd man.
Don’t forget the soi dogs, which I always steer quite clear of.

I may be becoming a bit of a soi otaku. I recall one time we were heading home in a taxi and we were still about 2 klms from home when I spied a fascinating soi and asked the driver to stop. We got out and walked the rest of the way home, slowly through this unusually long, narrow soi that was so lively it was invigorating. People were just going about their normal dusk-time lives- schoolkids running up one side of the soi, a baby’s cries coming from somewhere, an old lady watching TV by the window, the sai krok guy setting up, it was so perfect it almost seemed fake, like a movie set or something.

Give me an apartment in a real soi over a falang-filled condo anyday.

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