Thailand. Part I. | Feb 25th

Flying to Thailand, or if you want more specifics, Bangkok. A country and a city that I have very little knowledge or have given much acknowledge to its existence, not because I've never been overly interested in the place (even though that's true) just always seemed a bit 'nothingy' to me, but regardless, I have some great friends going and if you've friends that are somewhere you should be there also, also a chance to recreate Hangover II should never be turned down.

The flight from Perth to Bangkok was to be expected on a budget airline, 12 hours of as much as fun you can have within a hard cramped space, though the 4 hour layover in Singapore on what was quite possibly the most comfortable tiled floor that has ever existed, was the highlight of the trip so far.

Arriving into Bangkok Airport at 'It's still light' o'clock, us 6 rendezvous together in the arrivals hall 2 from Vietnam, 2 from England and 2 from Australia, all looking bleary eyed and in a bit of a fly-daze from backpacking, hangovers and red-eye flights (in that order), re-enacting the ending of Love Actually, but I didn't care for all that emotional nonsense, I was just happy to be within 1000 miles of a Starbucks.

Cramming into a cab that's way too small for us and barely legal to do in sensible countries, you know instantly we've arrived in outlaw country, this would be one of many reminders today. Bangkok is as you'd expect from an Asian city, dirty urban sprawl of highrises and pollution, neither much to look at or nothing to look at, it is just is what it just is, functional.

We arrive to our hotel via some seedy looking alley/road, with a tired looking 7Eleven and countless stalls of street cooking stalls, dubbed “Streetbeef” the hotel was surprisingly luxurious considering its surroundings with people in matching outfits and lots of marble, wasn't until we explored Bangkok a bit more you realise that this was as good as it was going to get.

Daylight still shining through cloudy polluted skies, we head out to see what Bangkok had in-store for us, grabbing a few beers and Red Bulls in medicine bottles we flag down a couple of tuk-tuks, and proceed to aim for Chinatown for whatever reason.

Riding in a tuk-tuk is quite possibly the most fun you can have on a three-wheels, racing each other through the streets of Bangkok in an over-exposed machine that has been cobbled together with scraps, noisily weaving in and out of traffic with a beer in hand, the wind in your hair and feeling bugs hitting your teeth as you smile. At that point, I was ready to leave Thailand, as far as I was concerned it would all be downhill from here.

We got dropped off and not knowing what to expect, this is not what we expected from Chinatown, although, I'm not even sure if we were heading into Chinatown, in fact, I have no idea what was going on, a theme that would be a common factor with this trip, it was fine, after leaving Perth it was refreshing to see people outside using these things like side-walks and green spaces.

Wandering around for bit to give each other reassurance like this was exactly where we wanted to be, we all faulted and the others asked a nice man in a hat for directions as I snuck out from the conversation to join in with the adjacent temple's ritual of lighting incense and looking at a gold buddha.

It was decided we'd get in another tuk-tuk and go, somewhere. More streets and back alleys later, we were confronted with a man with a small bar and a boat, putting the pieces together I came to the conclusion that Chinatown wasn't going to happen and we were instead going to go on a boat trip.

After some bargaining we hop on a boat with some beers and surged down the river looking at other boats enviously with their V8 engines carving their hulls to the river bed with their speed as we were on the equivalent of a snail drawn aqua-rickshaw, as our boat chugged along with all the gusto of a corpse.

This gave us plenty of time to take in all the sights as we drifted down the main river and into the canals looking into these tatty waterfront properties that were slowly subsiding, with people milling about on their balconies in-amongst their freshly washed sheets, trying to make it a home with some plants, children jumping off bridges without a care in the world about where they are all they had to do is avoid boats and floating litter.

Passing this temple we make a pit-stop as we were ushered into buying some bread to feed the fish for good luck, paying the costly sum of 20p for a loaf of bread, my expectations of this event was going to be like feeding ducks at the lake, all very calming and rewarding like a childhood memory should be, but this in Bangkok.

Ripping off the first chunk of bread and flinging it in without too much care, a torrent started in the water as hundreds of carp rose from the depths and went absolutely ape-shit at the surface, jumping over each other, splashing around getting us all wet and generally causing an enormous rawkus as this delicious bread entered their domain.

As we got braver with the bread, so did the fish with taking it, their mouths popping out as far as their bodies would let them, just snatching it from our hands as we neared the surface with it, it was exhilaratingly frightening, that something as tame as a fish could become vicious doughnivores.

With that fun experience we were riding on a high and we get to our next stop where one of our friends wanted to go, The Snake Farm, sounded interesting and judging by his enthusiasm for the place as a 'thing we had to do', we had to do it.

Paying an entrance fee we walk into this filthy, disgusting, god awful zoo, small concrete pens with giant crocodiles, bears, birds etc. all looking like they could quite happily be given a shotgun or a couple of cyanide pills. I found the whole thing way too distressing and made me very angry that places like this exist and I paid and fucking entrance fee, I wanted nothing more than to get out of that stupid fucking hell hole, as soon as possible but we had a show to go to.

The 6 of us sat in this circular arena as we were presented some nonsensical thing about snakes, 3 snakes were taken out their cages and their handlers would annoy the snakes in turn into attacking them, then they'd draw the poison from the cobra, did something to another snake and made us wear the python. The only highlight from this zoo was our friend who is completely and utterly scared of snakes and freaking out over them, even though there were quite some distance away, behind a fence and have no wings in order to fly over and attack him.

We hopped on the boat and navigated out of the canals passing some big water lizard munching on a freshly caught fish along the way and we reach our final stop at the Temple of Dawn or Wat Arun as it's known locally, we walked/climbed up these precariously steep and shallow steps to the top of the central prang and were be greeted with a late afternoon sun soaked view over Bangkok, was a great way to end what had been a horrific experience prior at the zoo.

Yada yada yada and some stuff happened in between the Temple of Dawn and such as food, walking through a green space with lots of kites and more incredibly dangerous driving and getting over a minor incident involving shoes, we arrive to the State Tower Rooftop cocktail bar/restaurant.

This was chosen by the guys of the group as this was one of the locations used in the film Hangover II, and it was pretty obvious to tell the guests, the ones with money dining at the restaurant enjoying the entertainment and quoting Shakespeare, from the tourists, squashed onto a small corner of the roof with the bar enjoying the view quoting Alan from Hangover I.

Only having one drink there we headed to the complete polar-opposite of Bangkok's social scene, I don't know it's proper name, but it this entertainment goes by the name of 'Ping-pong show'.

Entering the street where this happens you're harassed by guys with menus and prices of what particular thing you want to see; Pussy opens bottles, pussy plays flute, pussy read book, pussy paints picture, pussy renders bricks, pussy pets cat, pussy fucks dick and other such things.

God knows how anyone would bother with this, but they would and we did. We walked around looking for the perfect place to have this act burnt onto our retinas, we latch on to some Americans that look like they know what they're doing and join them into their second show.

Walking up into this seedy room that looks and smells like a horrible dark social club where the great unwashed come to make themselves feel better cause they're not as bad as these guys, we sit down on a long bench with a lit podium and in front of us watch these girls dance with as much passion, as the caged animals we saw earlier, wanted to live.

Then from amongst the shadows this girl/woman/female person that could only be best described as 'AIDs-ridden-ropey-roadkill' started to open bottles with her special talent (her parents must be proud) and everyone was disgusted as that was the point our drinks turned up.

AIDs-ridden-ropey-roadkill, came up to us all asking for tips and everyone refused and as me and my friend were at the end of the line of these people, and also refused we got the most grief for not tipping. So, another mange-ridden girl took to the stage and did something 'elegant' with ribbon, again the same tip scenario happened.

AIDsy took to the stage again and this time had blow darts and started to pop balloons, fairly impressive and again came up for tips and everyone said no, this was when she lost her temper.

She collected up her darts and sat down on the floor next to me and my mate and uttered something in Thai and fired a dart into the wall to the right of us and it had so much force it stuck in, she then menacingly turned around 90 degrees towards me and my friends and fired off a couple of rounds at up, like some sort of perverted action film.

None of this was fun, but was fine having AIDs darts showing down on us, it only became really a problem and a time to leave when one dart pounded the gap between me and my friend and stuck into the seat, that was when we both said together, 'Time to leave'.

That would be the big grand finale for our first day in Bangkok, as we got a taxi back to our hotel to pass out, recover, recoup and get tested for any STDs.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I just don't like snakes