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Written on: Sunday February 17th, 2008

A journal entry from: Around The World Without A Plane

The sleeper train that took Carry and I to Bangkok was a pleasure to ride. Way more spacious than the Chinese trains, and with tables and comfy chairs that sit opposite one another, that at night convert in to a bed with a second bunk above, it was a much more relaxing way to get to Bangkok, if a little more expensive than the alternative of the bus ride. I had decided to miss out a few of the sights between Chiang Mai and Bangkok in favour of heading south in time to meet back up with Dave again at the Full Moon Party on Koh Phangan. In addition, Carry, Kara, Darren and a vast number of others I had met along the way would also all be dancing their nuts off on the famous Hat Rin beach come February 22nd.


We stayed just around the corner from the infamous Khao San Road, on the nicer Soi Chana Songkhram at the My House Guesthouse. There were no real plans for Bangkok, it was merely serving as a stop-off between Chiang Mai and Koh Phangan, but the Pai virus was to return and haunt us once more. I was starting to feel mildly better, but it seemed this time it was Carry who had it catch back up with her. She had already put back her flight so that she could head down to the island of Koh Phangan and enjoy one last party in Asia before flying to Australia where she is planning on basing herself for a while. But with the stabbing pain she was still feeling in her stomach that had been there since Pai she wasn?t in the mood to party.


With my fondness for hospital visits I managed to convince her that the best bet was to get it looked at so that she could at least know what was the matter, and get something done about it rather than have both the pain and the worry of not knowing what it was that was afflicting her. We took a taxi to one of the cleanest and poshest hospitals I?ve ever seen in my life. It looked like a five-star hotel and even had doorman to open the doors for you. It was spacious, efficient and welcoming, with no smell of putrid vomit and nauseating chemicals like many others I have had the discomfit of visiting. It even had newspapers in English that I could read while Carry was being seen too. Within no time at all she was seeing a stomach specialist, being checked over and had an ultra-sound. After about an hour we were out of the hospital, Carry with a bag full of antibiotics to clear up the stomach infection she had and a much more smily outlook on life, and me caught up on all in the Premier League.


We checked out the huge Mah Boon Krong (MBK) shopping centre on the way back to the Banglamphu district. 8 floors of just about anything you could think of buying wove it?s way through this building, culminating in dozens of eateries, a bowling alley, internet café and cinema at the top. We decided to stay and watch a new movie about an American political affair. It had Tom Hanks and Philip Seymour Hoffman in it and wasn?t a bad movie, but couldn?t have been that brilliant as not only the plot but the title has since crawled to some obscure, unobtainable part of my mind. What did remain though was how everybody in the cinema rose to honour His Majesty The King of Thailand who is one loved man out here. There are pictures of him up all over Thailand, and if you throw any Thai money on the floor, which features his face you could, if caught face a term in prison. Here at the cinema a montage of pictures of him taking part in everyday kingly life, like fly-fishing and carpentry was shown with us meek viewers looked on in awe.


Kara met back up with us the next day, only briefly though. She had taken the bus down from Chiang Mai and was later that day booked on another to take her part of the way to Koh Samui. The three of us found ourselves at the Red Cross Hospital which bizarrely hosted the Snake Farm, one can only imagine for the reason of being close to medical expertise should one of the snake shows that we watched go disasterously wrong. Another hospital for me to tick off. The show itself was pretty good, especially when one of the snakes leapt from his handler and make for the crowd. Every time the handler went to reclaim the snake, it viciously turned and let out a fury of venom in his master?s direction. It took him a few minutes to secure it and get a hold of its neck, by which point the elderly couple in the front row of the crowd had swallowed their dentures and were a lot paler than normal. At the end of the show a huge python was brought out which the handler very kindly allowed us to hold ourselves and receive the obligatory photo shots. The snake took a particular liking to coiling itself up and in between my legs, must have been a female!


After Kara left, we then returned to My House and met up with Troy and Alan who had just arrived. They were friends that I had met in the revelry of Vang Viang. They too had also succumbed to this illness that was festering on northern Thailand. Nevertheless, not wanting to waste their time in Bangkok they joined Carry and I to visit the much-heard about Ping-pong club. Mum, at this point this is where you finish reading. Everybody else I imagine you have already heard about this shady institution, but like everybody that has passed before, seeing must be believing. A tuk-tuk driver whisked us all there, only for Alan to throw up in the bushes even before he?d walked through the door and seen the hideous sight of naked women inserting strange objects inside their nether regions. Sweating like an adolescent finding late-night satellite TV, he departed leaving the three of us haggling over the price of the entry. We did pretty well in the end, getting our entrance for a little over ?8, which included a free drink and our seats at ringside. What followed will sadly live with me for the rest of my life, as a series of women came out from the back of the stage and performed some of the most bizarre and degrading sexual acts that I could ever imagine. The ping-pong girl herself was one of the first on, and was actually very disappointing, shoving the balls between her legs then trying, very unsuccessfully to drop them in to a glass tumbler. Others were more entertaining, as well as shocking, especially the girl who proceeded to pull a piece of string from herself which had to it attached about 50 razorblades, which she then used to cut a piece of paper in to quite a fine paper-hat. At one stage, members of the audience were handed inflated balloons, one of which was given to Troy. The audience members then held these aloft, while a feisty looking Thai girl on the stage reclined back and fired darts from a tube in her vagina attempting to pop each of the balloons. The problem with this was that Troy chose to hold the balloon directly above my head, and I wasn?t so sure of her aim. How was I to explain the loss of my eye, not only to the doctor at yet another hospital, but to my poor mother. Lucky for me she was quite the professional at the sport (although I don?t see it making the 2012 Olympics). The piece d?resistance though was when a guy appeared completely naked, followed by an equally naked girl and got right down to business. Right there and then on the stage in front of our bewildered and shocked eyes. It was like he was getting paid per position as he manipulated this emotionless, doll-like girl around the stage. It was as erotic as having a circus-group of midgets run around you hitting you in the genitals with barb-wire clad batons. As the unappreciated ping-pong girl took to the stage signifying the beginning of the show once more, we left not really knowing if what we just saw really just happened.