Smogless Wonders

Around the World Trip: Thailand (part 1)

Wednesday 19th January

I am in an internet cafe in Bangkok. It is exactly as everyone says. Hot, humid, smelly, overcrowded and very polluted. My flight was a bit of a nightmare. When I landed in Singapore for my connecting flight I went to the departure lounge only to be told that I was on the next flight. So I had to sit and watch all the people from my earlier flight get on the plane while I twiddled my thumbs for a few hours.

Then I realised that they had taken my ticket and went to get it back but found the gate closed! Eventually it was sorted out when a woman at the helpdesk tracked down the woman who took it and reunited me with it. Apparently she wondered why she had an extra ticket!

First night here I was wondering around not knowing what to do with myself. I grabbed a pizza (it was the only thing that looked familiar!) then ended up in a couple of bars. They were full of sad and lonely European men drinking with Thai women who were too young for them. Pathetic really.

So there I was, sad and lonely, drinking with Thai women when I had my first encounter with a lady boy (no not that kind of encounter). Conversation went as follows:

LB: Herro

Me: Alright mate!! (slapping him on the back like a true heterosexual male)

LB: Where are you going?

Me: I’m with her, that GIRL over there

LB: Oh why?

Me: Well take a look at her and then you – why do you think?

LB: Oh I rerry rike you.

Me: Cheers mate (jabbing him playfully on the arm).

I think I handled it well, don’t you? Before anyone asks, I didn’t pay for services from the girl either. Oh yes and I ate a fried grasshopper on the way home. Seemed like a good idea but I would only recommend it if you normally eat insects. Tasted a bit like pork scratchings.

Other than that, I’ve tried to see the sights but spent most of my time stuck in a tuktuk in traffic. Tried to visit the Grand Palace but it was closed due to a state visit. Seen lots of ornate temples and gold buddhas, including the 151ft reclining buddha. Out of all the gods in the world’s religions, Buddha seems to be the one who ate the most pies. None of this feeding the 5000 for him obviously, only himself.

Sorry, just dodged a lightning bolt from the heavens. Strange weather they have here…

Also went to see the red light area. For some reason I was asked if I wanted to see a female ping pong game but I kept telling them I didn’t come here to watch sport. Strange idea if you ask me… After being called “Big Sir” once too many times I decided to leave for my sanity!

Right, must go, have this bloody tuktuk driver waiting for me (pictured left). I getting fed up of being constantly pestered by everyone who won’t take no for an answer, so I’m heading north tomorrow.

Thursday 20th January

I feel like myself again today. I think I left Bangkok just before my I lost it completely and then I don’t know what I would have done. Probably got a job as a tuktuk driver…

The last night in Bangkok was an early night for me – mainly because I had train to catch and also because I couldn’t face the nightlife on my own. I moved hotels for one night and what a great move! Away from all the major attractions (but near the train station), my room also had a couple of peculiar features:

1) Shower that was assembled by a dwarf. The shower head didn’t even reach my chest! Easy solution – pivot the head towards the ceiling and stand underneath the ricochet.

2) Air con that was connected to the lighting. So do I sleep in the dark and lose a stone by morning, or relax in a brightly lit cool room? I know it doesn’t take a genius but I was jet lagged, so it took a while for me to take the bulbs out. I’m getting to grips with things gradually okay?

Other features of my stay in Bangkok:

1) Losing wash bag whilst moving hotels. Left in my room, so took a tuktuk back there at rush hour (stupid idea) only to find it already on sale at a nearby street stall… not really, but it had mysteriously disappeared.

2) Taking a ‘tour’ of the attractions along the canal by motorised long-boat. Slow one way, then world record speed attempt on the way back.

3) Supporting several tuktuk drivers and their families for a few weeks as they wouldn’t leave me alone (one even waited an hour for me!).

4) Actually visiting a monument where there wasn’t a Buddha. I couldn’t help but think to myself: “I can’t believe it’s not Buddha” – get it?! Sorry bad joke. I made that up actually, everything has a Buddha but they look fantastically ornate. Bit of culture for me.

5) Trying to work out how few breaths I could take without passing out to avoid the effects of smog.

Still with me? Nearly finished! I managed to oversleep and nearly missed breakfast and my train to Ayutthaya which is where I am now, before leaving later on the overnight train to Chiang Mai in the north. Ayatthaya is well worth seeing; many ancient remains and temples. Plus it is not too hectic! The weather is easier to tolerate outside of Bangkok’s smog.

Feeling myself now (no not that, you know what I mean – not jet lagged anymore). Too many people in Bangkok wanted to rip me off or have sex with me (or both). It was just like a night out in Poole, really.

Apologies if anyone was offended by my Buddha comment. I don’t want to be accused of Buddha bashing and I’m definitely not a buddhaphobe.

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