Thursday, October 05, 2006
Blog 1 - Bangkok Blues
Well as this is my first ever blog on my first ever round the world trip, I suppose its a bit of a special occasion. Well for me anyway. So here goes...
This is the end of my first week in Thailand. I flew from London to Bangkok last friday 29th Sept. First challenge was to find the airport bus into town. Suvarnabhumi (pronounced su-wan-na-poom) Airport was shiny new having only been opened two days before I landed, how nice of them to lay on a new airport for me. Despite rumours of baggage going to the old airport there were no hassles.
Sometimes when you travel, especially on package holidays, getting about at your destination is a no-brainer, with coaches laid-on and tour guides etc. When you are just winging it you kind of have to make it up as you go along. Normally its not a problem but it doesnt stop you fretting about details. Like where does the bus into town stop, what number is it, how much will it be, who do I pay, how will I know when its my stop. You can just become a bag of shite in no time worrying about all this stuff. But things usually work out and they did.
I ended up in Big John's Aussie Guest House for the first three days. The first thing I saw when checking in was Liverpool kicking off against Bolton on the TV in reception. Soft landing or what. It felt like a regular home from home. What with pie and mash on the menu. Was I in Bangkok or Birmingham?
South East Asian reality set in with the first night. Trying to sleep in an oven of a room with only token air con. It really is steamy here and I don't mean the lady boys (more on that later). You get a sweat on just sitting still. So I was glad to escape on tuesday to go to the beach. I was off to Pattya to visit Andrea's brother Steve, who has a bar there.
You hear all this stuff about Bangkok being a sex capital but Pattaya is where it seems to be at for all that stuff. Its got a really nice beach with palm trees the lot. But you can't go for a walk along the prom without being bombarded every few yards by girls (and I suspect a few boys) on the game. 'Helooo big boy, you wan nice time'... weell yea but I was thinking of putting my feet up on the beach with a cold beer and my book actually. It was just a nightmare. But lots of seedy looking, ugly old blokes think they have died and gone to heaven... whatever. So I only stayed one night, with my door locked and my nighty tucked in. Needless to say I didnt sleep a wink.
So am back in Bangkok chilling for a few days. This time I checked into a walter softy hotel with decent air con and two swimming pools. One of the big differences between the hostel and the hotel is that the hotel bedroom door isn't frosted glass, so now the other guests are deprived of a fuzzy view of my hairy ass.
The weather here, apart from being an almost constant 30 degrees is really wet at the moment. Got caught out in a big thunderstorm yesterday. But I had my trusty big orange plastic cape and it was good fun splashing through the warm puddles in Lumphini park. That was until I came across this five foot long lizard hauling itself out of the park lake. I thought I had seen something bobbing in the water. In park lakes back home its usually the remains of a fishermans butties. For a moment I was transfixed, they hadn't mentioned this in the Lonely Planet. That scenario from Jurassic Park where the fat guy (thats me if you are reading this Ross ;-) is confronted in a tropical storm by a seemingly cute lizard like dinosaur, and we all know what happened next.
You can never be too sure just how fast these things can move. It may appear to be taking things easy but just how quickly can it cover that 12 feet or so between us. I wasn't expecting a Steve Irwin encounter this early on the trip. So I backed off while working out if I could still get a picture without it appearing as a green dot in the distance. You start getting a bit paranoid when this sort of thing happens. I was sitting on a park bench a bit farther on enjoying the thunder when you begin to think things like, it could be sneaking up on me right now and I wouldnt know. This bench could be where all the lizard boys hang out when they are looking for a little action. Spoiled the moment. So sploshed back to the Sky Train and civilisation.
Well thats probably too much chatter for one blog. I think you are supposed to keep them brief and to the point to stop peoples heads nodding into their keyboards.
If I'm going to do 80 blogs in a year thats about one every four days. I'm not sure if I can keep that up or not yet. Odd days you might just get the weather, what I had for breakfast and and the current state of my bowels. This is supposed to be fun, I don't want it to turn into the blog wagging the dog.
I leave you with a piece of local ancient asian wisdom.. Confucious he say.. Man walking sideways through airport door going to Bangkok!