First Stomach Problem

I have little to report for the last three days, as something that the cooking school fed me has left me closed up in my room for most of the intervening time. This is a little too much irony for me: the only place that has made me sick in seven weeks of travel is the cooking school. Since 99% of their clients must be farangs, you would think they'd be careful. Sickness tends to depress my interest in a lot of things, and right now my interest in travelling is declining proportional to the time I'm sick. I'm not inspired by the idea of flying back into the dead of Canadian winter though. I'll see how I feel about it once my stomach improves.

There are worse places to be sick: in my short forays from my guest house I've found that the town has at least four rather good English language used book stores. I had nearly finished Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon when I arrived in Chiang Mai, and I went through the 400 pages of Terry Pratchett's Guards! Guards! in less than 24 hours. Reading the shelves at these shops tells you a lot about the people passing through: they read a lot of Pratchett, Dan Brown, New York Times best sellers, Buddhist materials, philosophy, the horrors of Thai jails ... Not as many books here on the Thai sex trade as there are in Bangkok - you couldn't look anywhere in Bangkok without seeing those. I'll probably trade my current books in for some more Pratchett.

Cryptonomicon is excellent, despite its "great horking chunks of exposition" (as Karl's writer's group used to call it) and staggering thickness (1150 pages). It's a complex and funny story, and seems to be very well researched, particularly in regards to cryptography. I would however recommend that anyone interested in Stephenson start with Snow Crash, which is one of the seminal works of cyberpunk. As for Pratchett ... well, it's Pratchett. It's funny and I enjoyed it.