A group of us scoured the streets searching for the American restaurant called Cheap Charlie’s, which was supposed to be close to our hotel. We walked 5 or 6 blocks, stepping over sleeping dogs and trash and jumping over stagnant water and homeless people. After walking back through a poorly-lit alley with kimono-clad prostitutes, we rounded the corner to find that the restaurant was closed. Luckily, there was an establishment entitled “The Pickled Liver” a few shops down. Accordingly, we decided to do some damage to our own livers and have a couple drinks. After exchanging traveling tales and alcohol-induced confessions, we stumbled back up the severely damaged sidewalk to the hotel.
Later in the night, a few of us took a cab to the night market. Armed with bug spray, Del’s cell phone number, and a plan in case we got separated, we set off into the crowded bazaar to try out our haggling skills. We bought a few stereotypical souvenirs including silk ties, incense, and knock-off accessories, then continued walking through the market (which spanned several blocks), purses in death grip all the while. We decided to head back, and spontaneously decided to take a tuk-tuk instead of a cab. A tuk-tuk is a cross between an oversized tricycle and a motorized cart. We argued with the driver for ten minutes over the price and finally decided that all five of us would fit on the bench (which would normally accompany two) to save some cash. Three of us squeezed on the bench while the other two sat in the floor at our feet. While the ride (or race, as our driver seemed to think) was terrifying, we found ourselves laughing hysterically as we came within inches of death in the new lane our driver created between much larger vehicles. I laughed uncontrollably as I hung my arm as far out of the vehicle as possible, trying to catch bits of the race on camera. Our ribs aching, we tumbled out of the tuk-tuk onto our hotel’s front steps, not caring about the concerned looks from older tourists who followed us into the lobby.