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Back in Bangkok

Written on: Sunday March 2nd, 2008

A journal entry from: Around The World Without A Plane

On my second visit to Bangkok I had some time to get some things sorted out. I?d arrived at 4am, the perfect time to experience the Dawn of the Dead zombies of the Khao San Road area. You have to move pretty quickly down this stretch otherwise a lady-boy or druggy will latch on to you and you?ve had it. I sped towards Ram Bhuttri again and ducked in to the Swasedee complex which has a guesthouse and a 24 hour restaurant. I was told I?d have to turn back up at around 10am to get a room, but not fancying a scenic tour of Bangkok by night after my boat and bus ride from Ko Tao, I set up camp at one of the tables, ordered an early morning breakfast and began people watching. It?s a wonder where all these drunkards come from at this time of the morning, but the place was full of people half-asleep, stoners and drunk travelers. I unfortunately had a Thai guy, off his head come and sit at my tabel. He was friendly enough to begin with, but then started to get a little too friendly. He politely asked if he could join me, and not wanting to be rude I cordially accepted. I?m not much of a morning person as it is, but after a long uncomfortable journey, and without much sleep I was not in the mood for small-talk. In contrast he was.

 

Before I knew it he had ordered us both Long Island Iced Teas and was telling me about a girl he was supposed to be meeting. At various points he would mutter something, then burst out in mad, crazy laughter spurting a volley of spittle in all directions. Then all of a sudden I found his hand covering my mouth, in I think, an attempt to stick his fingers in it for I some perverse reason. I pulled away, and angrily asked what he was doing, to which he appeared rather hurt, as if he thought at 4:30am I should have been appreciative of his actions. I told him I didn?t mind him sitting there, but I didn?t want his hands anywhere near me, let alone in my mouth. ?I don?t know where your hands have been?, I commented. He mumbled away again for a while, while I had turned my back to him and attempted to amuse myself with two Western guys who were flirting drunkenly with two bored Thai hookers. The next thing I know here?s these bloody filthy digits all over my face again. I?d had enough. I grabbed his arm by the wrist, pulled it away from my mouth, and twisted it around causing him to fall forward and off his chair. ?I told you to keep your scummy mitts away from my mouth didn?t I?? I snapped as I got up and once again enquired as to if they yet had any rooms.

 

I must have pestered the guy on reception about 10 times before I eventually got a room at 8am. I grabbed a little sleep and then went to arrange my forthcoming plans for the next step of my travels. After speaking with an Israeli girl named Gilli in Pai, I had been convinced about going to Burma. She had just got back from there and had raved about it, so rather spontaneously, just before I left Bangkok for the islands I had applied for a Burmese visa. This morning I then went ahead and booked my flight for the coming Friday. Yes that?s right, a flight!!! It?s ok though as it doesn?t affect my long term plans for the Around The World Without A Plane trip though. I merely see this as a holiday from my traveling. What?s more I?ll be returning to Bangkok from whence I left to continue onwards without any planes. A convenient loophole.

 

Anyway, thus began quite a girly and expensive day of shopping and self-indulgence. I made my way by bus and then the Skytrain to Chatuchak Weekend Market, which is a mammoth of a market, where you can quite easily get lost wandering around the many clothes, food and merchandise stalls, I impulsively brought a fake Breitling watch for 10 dollars from the first watch stand I came too. After scalding myself for splashing out, I took the train back south to the IBM building where I collected my digital camera that I broke when jumping in to the river in Vang Viang on my Birthday, that had now been fixed by Fuji Film, bless their hearts. Then I took the natural progression on to Siam Square and visited as many of the most glamorous, vast shopping malls as I could. There?s about 6 of them in a row, so I began at one end, and worked back, making sure to visit all of their food courts. The best of which was the one in the Siam Paragon where they sell the most delicious chocolate chip cookies. Maybe that guy with his hands had something on his fingers after all, as I think I?m beginning to sound quite, shall we say, camp!

 

In one mall, I got my mobile phone unblocked, while in the next I brought a lap-top, then finally in the MBK at the end I brought some DVD?s to watch on my new lap-top that I would pick up the next day. Quite a spree, I?m sure you?ll agree. So from a position of near Nirvana, one day in Bangkok has transcended me from a backpacker to some sort of new-age Asian business man. I even thought about getting a suit made up.

 

To top off the day I headed back to Banglamphu and to Gullivers Bar at one end of Khao San to watch Liverpool on their big screen. I planned on having a couple of beers over the game and then getting an early night. It couldn?t have been any more different. Halfway through the first half I was joined at the bar by an Aussie named James, who had been cycling all around South East Asia. For some reason that now escapes me he had decided that he was going to drink quite heavily this particular night. Not wanting a fellow traveler to drink alone, I joined him, and we were soon joined by a third, although I must have been drunk by that stage as I have no idea of his name or where he was from. Before I knew it I was on the podium of this bar dancing the night away. The rest of the night is a bit of a blur, but the photos do provide some vague explanation and recollection. I do remember making it to some sort of Turkish club, ordering Mai Thai?s and smoking some apple tobacco through a sheesham, with a group of Israelis. After this the next thing I remember is a member of the club staff shaking me awake from my unconscious state lying on my back across a collection of big comfy pillows, and asking me to leave as they had to begin cleaning up. As it was a rooftop bar, I could already see the sun surfacing. It was 6:30am. I, in just 24 hours of Bangkok exposure had turned in to one of those nightmarish zombies limping through the dawning streets trying to find my way back to my guesthouse that I was so trying to avoid the previous night.

 

I did nothing the next day but collect my brand new lap-top, watch the movie Jumper at the plush IMAX theatre at the Siam Paragon and randomly run back in to James again on the Khao San, where we had dinner and discussed what on earth had happened the night before. To capitulate the talk of our surreal evening the night before, an elephant walked by us as we tried to work out what had gone on.