Bangkok, Thailand
13° 45' N 100° 31' E
Dec 17, 2007 03:45
Distance 415km

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Text written in: English

Hustle and Bustle

I arrived in Bangkok at 1am. After my last minute departure I didn't have time to book anywhere but trusted that there would be plenty of other travelers I could quiz on the bus. I had booked a room for the following evening in a place called Sukimvit so shared a taxi with 2 other guys who were headed in the same direction. Damo, Irish bloke from Belfast and Martin from Holland. They didn't know where to stay so I suggested we check out the hostel i'd booked for the next night. We went straight there but they said they didn't have room for all three of us. I was tempted to stay but felt bad having dragged them there so off we went in search for a place that could take us all.

I must have said this a thousand times but I believe it each time I say it. I have never sweat so prefusely in my life. Lugging two, rather heavy, rucksacks around Bangkok at 2am will bring a few beads to your forehead (and underarms and back and front.. I know I know.. you get the picture). Everywhere was charging an arm and leg.. which one of the guys was willing to pay but myself and Martin, simply could not afford it. We eventually came across a 'hotel' that was within our budget but Martin and I checked the rooms our first before handing over any cash.. when in doubt! And i'm so glad we did.. oodles of cockroaches.. I mean oodles.. running around everywhere. Couldn't seem me for dust.

Before we knew it .. it was 3:30am and I was getting knackered from carrying my bags (the pansy boys had roller suitcases). So I told them I was going back to the hostel we'd started at. They followed suit in the hope of getting a double room for them and i'd go into a dorm. When we arrived the man at reception, whose English wasn't great, eventually told us he did have room. Turns out he though we wanted a room to share for all 3 of us. Oh the perks of language barriers. I was just glad we had somewhere and I hopped in the shower before you could say bob's your uncle!

....Update..... Whilst Damo slept off his hangover (I swear I felt tipsy just from the smell in the room) Martin and I headed out shopping in the city centre.. i've heard it's one way to pass the time in Bangkok! The shoping centre was a bit crazy.. there were a few different ones.. some stocking Gucci etc.. others Mango and the like but for me it was the stalls .. travels budget allowance. So everywhere I went I was told I would get 'goo pri good pri faw yoo meess'. I managed to scramble enough money to get a few essentials but sadly had to turn away from all the clothes that were giving me the eye. We spent quite some time looking through all the thousands of stalls.. there were times I had to leave Martin on his own.. that bloke was worse than a woman. I have definitely improved on my bartering skills though.. it slightly worries me as to how much though.. I can see myself getting thrown out of the local Glaswegian corner shop trying to get a half price kit kat.

After our long day we caught a movie.. 'I Am Legend' (Will Smith). At the beginning I was innocently muching my popcorn when everyone in the theatre stood up.. apparently it is a ritual to show respect for the King before the showing of any film. They played a 2/3 minute film with flutes in the background and pictures of the King. It was.. interesting. Can't quite see us doing that back home with 'Her Majesty'. After that we decided to take a look around the night market. Which is promptly where my camera decided to run our of battery.. darn it. The night market was like the day ones but only more intense. If you so much as glance in the direction of the locals they automatically assume you want to buy something from them so you have to keep your head down otherwise you get a stream of 'ello meess.. yoo like? I geev yoo goo pri..(this is where they interject some ridiculous price - apparently the begin at, at least, 100% ontop of what they want to sell the item at).. then i'd shake my head and say 'Mai Korp Kun Ca' (no thank you) and they hand me a calculator saying 'ok ok.. yoo tewl me how maa yoo pay fo eet'.. and all this when I didn't even want anything in the first place! I tell you.. a couple of hours making your way round this was tiring work. We went for a couple of beers to fight off the sweltering heat and then went to take one last look. I don't know if it was the buzz from the Tiger Beer or the fact that I just couldn't take it anymore but I began to find it hilarious the more I was being pestered to buy things I didn't want. Saying no thank you doesn't help.. I think they think it means 'yes please i'd like to buy this.. i'm gullable .. i'll pay hundreds'. That's just my guess. We had to walk back to the hostel that night as buses won't run out to out hostel from the night market. It took us a couple of hours but was worth it in the end as it worked off my cinema treats.

The next day we made our way to Khao San Road. The bus took forever so I took all my bags with me so I could leave on a night bus to Chiang Mai straight from there. We spent the day checking out all the stalls.. some selling genuinely nice stuff.. others selling cheap and tacky knock-offs. We stopped around mid-day and indulged in some delicious thai green curry (when in Rome), it only cost 32p! We ate at a food stall so I had to use a 'public' toilet and pay 5Bhat. Which I was fine with doing, had it not been the most disgusting pit of unhygienic mess I've encountered so far (I say so far). I could barely stand on the floor.. ( I'll not go on.. you get the picture).

That afternoon we enjoyed my Tiger beers on Khao San Road before I headed off to catch my bus to Chiang Mai and Martin, after winding up plenty of locals who approached us at the side of the road, went off to get himself some cheap suits before making his way back to Holland.

I've had a great time in Bangkok but i'm looking forward to being able to breath something else other than petrol fumes, dirt or anchovies (oof). Chiang Mai here I come!

Photos / videos of "Hustle and Bustle":

The night market Night market Khao San Road and a delicious road-side restaurant (a la thai green curry for 34p!) Again Side street from Khao San Road Khao San Road Martin and some crazy Thai lady who kept coming back to talk to us while we drank our beers Khao San Road Enjoying some afternoon beers on Khao San Road Me