The Big Bang with Condoms

Trip Start Jan 08, 2005
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Trip End Ongoing


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Sunday, April 30, 2006

Dhaka at 5am in the morning is bliss. Surprisingly for a city of 14 million there are very few on the streets at that time. Lucky for us though we did find a cabbie who was willing to take us out to the airport. The ride out was amazing. If you had landed at the airport and driven in you'd be devastated by the time you got to the centre. It's deceptively clean with medium strip gardens and lawns down the side of the road. I'm glad I got the bus.

Biman Air is questionable. The air-hostess was nice enough but the plane was worryingly tatty and very old. Our seats were the floatation devices just incase you even survived a crash (yeah right!) and mine kept sliding off anyway! There were cracks in the walls and I've seen better toilets on a Pakistani night train! Although the food was more edible than the vegetarian meals on Singapore Airlines.

We arrived safely in the Big Kok just in time to hit afternoon peak-hour traffic so it took longer than usual to reach the familiar backpacker hangout of Khaosan Road. It's sort of the same but a hell of a lot cleaner than when we first visited 7 years ago. There aren't so many dogs anymore, in fact practically none!! More 7 Eleven shops, more Boots the Chemist shops. Our mate Dave had a swanky new dive shop (called Buddha View) which is now air-conditioned! So we said our hello's, dumped our bags and went to find digs for the next few days. David's old diving instructor was in town as well so we grabbed some beers with him and they reminisced about old diving times.

Coincidentally one of David's friend's from London was in town with his girlfriend beginning his two week vacation so we went to meet them for dinner at the Condoms and Cabbages restaurant. Ever since they told me about it, I've always wanted to go. At the end of the meal they hand out condoms instead of after dinner chocs! I wanted to know why David and Paul got two condoms each but Julie and I only got one!!

We then went over to Pat Pong Road area and had a few beers in a bar - no, not one of the girly ones! There were loads of bikini clad young looking women dancing on raised platforms in the clubs that you could see from the street. I've heard there are some very talented women in these places!

Paul and Julie are off on to Laos tomorrow for their two week holiday but we have nothing planned.

I didn't do anything the next day but sleep and complain to myself of how sore my throat was.

Day 3 in Bangkok saw us hanging out at Dave's shop and re-visiting Wat Pho, the largest and oldest wat in Bangkok (it's about 400 years old). We went there about 8 years ago so it was good to see it all again. The long slender extensions from the roof corners remind me of long fingernails. It has the largest reclining Buddha in Thailand but we've seen bigger by far in Myanmar! I was equally as impressed this time as I was last time.

Day 4

David needed a new Australian Passport and as the Australian Government are so picky about their photos we went and got some more done. These were promptly rejected when we tried to submit them at the Aussie Embassy there in Bangkok. They sent us down the road to a photo place that they said knew exactly what we needed. Bullshit. These people could hardly take the photo, let alone get it to the 3.2mm size required by the bloody embassy! We had a massive argument with them over printing the incorrect ones and after extracting blood from a stone in the form of another set of prints we decided to give it all a rest and went off in search of the Cambodian Embassy to drop our pommie passports off. What a refreshing breeze that was! $40 and receipt in hand and we were off to try our luck at the Aussie hole again. The woman was reluctant to accept this new set of photos, but she must have seen the look on both our faces and decided it was best she take them then and there. They can really make your life hell! We were so frustrated when we left so we went to cool off at none other than Dave's shop! That night we went out with him and his wife Nan, Morton and few others to a lovely Indian restaurant.

Tomorrow we're off to the old capital of Ayuthaya to see a few old temples. Time is running out for us though. Whilst we've been here David is almost definitely going back to work in London. We just need to confirm a date and make sure they're not going to pull a fasty on us again.

I do like the comfort of Khaosan Road but it's getting very expensive now. We know the area and we have friends there so it's always a draw to go when we're in Bangkok. You can get everything there too from paracetamol to travel tickets and information so it's a very easy place to be. Some people don't like it, but I don't mind it too much. It did have more character when it was grungy though.
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