Alex and Zsolt attempt to find acccommodations at 2 temples and on meditation center without success. Claire offers her home, but the catch is that 15 people (grandmother, 2 aunts, father, mother, siblings and cousins) already live there. They cook a dish called Prao Tai consisting of crushed garlic, chilis, chicken, what looks like bok choy, oyster sauce, cooked and served over rice. One of the aunts has a hairdressing salon next door and offers Alex a haircut after 4 months on the road.
Wat Say Yong Temple agrees to house them for 2 nights. They converse with the senior monk in rudimentary English. There is no bed but no curfew. Alex rises with the monks at 5am to go collect breakfast donations throughout the neighborhood. The same happens for lunch, but there is no dinner. The Chao Phraya Port is nearby. In buddhism, charity = merit and humility is highly prized. Two monks tell each other what they have done wrong on that day already and one has to stay lower because he is less humble and needs reminders of how he should act. They leave the monastery the next morning with the senior monk paying for their taxi to meet another network person who will house them.
Frank is a network member who wants to help. He appears to devote his life to taking care of Alex and Zsolt for the next day or two. He buys every meal for them. He takes them to the Red Light District on Potphong Road. They find that the women are mostly in the *** trade and are very agressive. Frank buys Alex a ticket to get to Koh Sahmui where a restaurant/resort owner has work that Alex can trade for room and board. Frank is a consultant for time magazine in Thailand and Cambodia. He has the website 2Bangkok.com. From him they learn that Bangkok is "like Los Angeles", which is approximately correct as Los Angeles County has 9.9 million people and Bangkok about 9 million.
Alex and Zsolt take the overnight bus to southern Thailand and a boat out to Koh Samui, with Alex paid for round-trip by Frank. They are staying as guests of the Secret Garden Resort and Restaurant. Alex's work is to develop marketing materials for the resort and restaurant. He decides to give them a video highlighting the features of the place.
Alex and Zsolt are taken by another local fishing at Costa Moi. Back in Koh Samui, Alex gets to taste bugs as the main course. There are giant water bugs, beetle larvae, beetles, crickets, grasshoppers and a frog. Yummy! What Alex won't do for compelling TV. He does try to give some away to passing American tourists.
They go to Koh Samui Canopy Adventures for zip-lining.
Next Alex and Zsolt leave Koh Samuui on the boat going almost back to Bangkok, but they divert and head to the Thai/Cambodian border and cross to Poipet, a dusty and dirty town on the make. Alex states that "everyone here is trying to make a buck; I don't have a buck." They stay one night with 2 monks they met while wandering through their neighborhood. There is immense poverty here and again at Siem Reap when they reach there. In order to get there in the"no money" spirit, Alex had to accept a ride from a Phnom Penh person who drove up from Phnom Penh to Poipet, 450 km, to make the 160km trip to Siem Reap. Alex and Zsolt get a very brief tour of Angkor Wat before it closes that day.
Another reason to get to Siem Reap is that they are offered the chance to work "for humanity" as medicines and other things are delivered to children in rural villages of Siem Reap Province as coordinated by the Red Cross. Alex helps to carry mosquito nets worth about $5 to people's homes but they must pledge to not divert them into fishing nets. Alex and Zsolt get to Phnom Penh on a boat going from Siem Reap on Tonle Sap all the way to Phnom Penh. I have previously conceptualized Tonle Sap as a very large lake, but the river that flows out of it is also named Tonle Sap.
When they get to Phnom Penh, their host takes them to a Thai restaurant owned by his friend. He also takes them to the entertainment section; it much tamer than the one in Bangkok. Alex watches the dancers pulsating and even tries to kick it up a notch.