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Today, Tim and I will sign the lease for our new house.  We're both very excited.  It will be nice to finally unpack instead of searching through various pieces of luggage and bags to find what we want to use at any given time.  I will, however, miss the House Of Travellers very much.  I definitely will recommend this place to any family members who wish to visit here.

After spending some time doing computer work yesterday morning (preparing a blog entry, organizing photos from the digital camera, catching up on my financial accounts in Money 2006, etc.) while Tim slept, I called Jon at Ananda Garden Hill Village to let him know we'd decided to rent the 12,000-baht-per-month house and to arrange for a time to do the lease-signing.  He's a very nice man, an expat from Grenada.  He took my "details" over the phone which consisted simply of my name, location I'm currently staying at, and my mobile number.  He asked what method I would pay for the rent by (cash or check) and told me to bring my passport along with the security deposit/bond (three months rent) and first month's rent (a total of 48,000 baht).  We decided on a time of 11:00am (giving Tim and I time to wake up and get up-and-moving, a process that sometimes takes some time as we both like the air-conditioned comfort of the bungalow).

That important task finished, Tim and I had a picnic breakfast outside the room (we'd purchased a few items at 7-Eleven the night before after we'd shopped for dinner at the Kathu open-air market).  It then began to pour rain so we retreated inside to wait for it to stop (I don't like Tim to drive her motorbike in the downpours).  It was nice and cool when we set out a couple of hours later — our goal for the day was to window-shop and check prices on various household items at Big C.  That expedition was a grand success and once again I was astounded to discover how inexpensive many things are here in Thailand.  For example, we found dual washer-and-dryer units for between 4000- and 6000-baht ($100-$150 USD).  I was also pleased to see such things as JIF and Skippy peanut butter and Heinz ketchup in the grocery sections.  I'm going to have as much fun cooking for Tim as she will for me.

We had a nice lunch in the basement food court, eating at the Chinese stall just as we had almost exactly four months before.  This time, I knew to purchase the food tickets first and that the drink stalls only accepted cash (I purchased two "milkshakes with coffee" for us which turned out to be just ice coffee made with water not milk).  We also looked at mobile phone prices because Tim's old Nokia is falling apart and really just a piece of junk (she mainly wants one with a camera in the phone).  The prices of these were also fairly and they don't come with a cellular plan — you can purchase recharge cards almost anywhere including any 7-Eleven.

Our next stop was an Internet cafe so I could do a bit of online work.  The drive over was in a nice cooling rain shower (it had been pouring once again a short while before and we waited that storm out in the Big C parking garage).  We had gone to Internet cafes a couple of times before yesterday so I could post my blog entries but I hadn't been able to check e-mail on those previous visits.  This time, I waded through the messages in my AT&T and accounts (the former of which had mostly junk — I only opened eight e-mails out of over 370 in the inbox folder).  I also checked the online registers of my various bank accounts to make sure everything looked good and to see the exact exchange rate used for my various withdrawals from the Thai ATM's.  It was nice to catch up on this work finally; at a later date, I still need to upload photos to Webshots (they're piling up — I'll have to burn the lot to a CD-R before because I'll only have dial-up service at the house for a while until the DSL service is installed).

After spending the rest of the afternoon back at the bungalow, we set out to get some dinner for Tim.  I wasn't very hungry so she wanted to get a simple meal of noodle soup from a vendor she knew in Kathu.  The vendor wasn't there, however, so we drove to the market instead.  A row of fried chicken proved too tempting for me so I got something to eat afterall.  Once again, we made a picnic of it outside our bungalow.  We spent much of the evening watching television (including a very interesting program about volcanologists caught in an eruption in Columbia as well) and Tim showed me several photo albums of her's.  I also learned a bit more about her experiences on the day of the tsunami.  The things she saw in it's aftermath really have had a profound impact on her and she won't even look at photos or DVD's that show the destruction.  She only has one photo of that day — it's of her in the Patong room she had been staying in at the time (Tim had only arrived in Phuket a week before the tsunami), standing on towels placed on the floor in an attempt to mop up the water that had pooled inside.  I told her we should take a similar photo of her standing in our new house and then frame the two together to show how far she's come in less than a year-and-a-half.

As I write this, I can hear the rumble of thunder.  The daily rainstorms we've had are completely out of season — April is usually the hottest and driest month of the year here.  I've enjoyed them as I love hearing the sounds of a massive thunderstorm and the air has been nice and cool before and after the rains.  We have yet to be caught driving in a downpour, however.  I need to try and remember to buy a rain poncho in the next couple of days, just in case.  Hopefully, it won't rain on us when we try and move our stuff into our house (we plan to hire a minibus).  I don't want the tile floors to get all muddy before we have a chance to buy carpet mats for the entrances.

My next entry will be written in our new house.  I can't wait!