Trip Start Apr 06, 2007
33Trip End Nov 18, 2007
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Coming into Bangkok you could tell it was like no other city on the trip. Modern highways brought us in at the lower levels of the skyscrapers. Dropping down to ground level and the almost constant traffic jams of the streets below we made our way to Khao San, the tourist centre for Bangkok.
Unavoidably, if you ask me, I spent more time partying than exploring and sight seeing. And, if you ask me, it was just what I needed!
I saw, amongst other buildings, the old palace and Jim Thompson's house. The palace was ridiculously grand and Thompson's house (the bringer of Thai silk to the West) was a gorgeous mix of Thai architecture set in a jungle like garden beside one of Bangkok's many canals. I did a few other touristy things as well though I wont bother mentioning.
Although reading about it I still got scammed by a couple of Delboys. So genuine and timed down to perfection. He told me my destination was closed due to the Kings birthday and that I can get a rickshaw for just 20 baht to my second destination. I got into a 'randomly' hailed rickshaw and enroute was taken to a wholesalers to buy a suit. Refusing to go, he then said that if at least go and look he gets free gas coupons. I went in for just 1 minute and so he never got coupons. Angry, he drove me right back to where I was picked up and told to get out. I never parted with any money but I'd lost time and never got to where I wanted. I was very pissed off.
The city itself was huge. Never quite got my head round it. The quickest way to get to the city centre (where the skyscrapers are) from Khao San, which is still quite central, was to travel in the opposite direction on foot for 15mins to the river, take a ferry South for 30mins and then take the skytrain for 10mins into the centre
Would always regroup in the evening before going and giving Bangkok our all. One night for pre-drinking entertainment we searched out the ping pong shows down in Pat Pong, the red light district. Streets lined with strippers and prostitutes of who were gay, straight as well as lady boys. Lady boys ("transwoman") are completely accepted in Thai society and through this acceptance you find them everywhere. Some look just like women but usually their voice gives it away. Worrying when your out drinking! And in some cases mortifying as someone on the truck found out (ha). Others just look like men with long hair and makeup and with exaggerated feminine mannerisms like constantly running their hands through their hair. Anyway, this ping pong show was hilarious, disturbing and degrading. Basically it was a strip show where the girls perform tricks with their lady bits. Amongst others amazing feats were ping pong shooting, making coke from water (like Jesus did with the wine, I guess) and blowing out candals on a cake (happy birthday Vag).
Another evening Soz, Nicole and I had a few drinks on the open air bar at the top of the tallest building. Bangkok's skyscrapers lighting up for the evening up as a lightning storm raged silently in the distance. Amazing.
One night/morning I had a live-wire (or were they all like this at night?) rickshaw driver where he pulled wheelies at every straight. His mate and I enjoyed the whiplash in the back seat. What was also cool about that ride home was seeing street markets in full swing at 3-4am
Bangkok is one of my favourite cities. So modern with its skyscrapers, MASSIVE shopping centres, skytrains and televised advertisements in every imaginable space for its consumer mad population. So busy with queues at every traffic light, markets around the clock and the masses of people from many ethnic backgrounds (there was a Chinatown, Indian and Arabic quarter). But still there were things retained from perhaps more traditional life; friendliness and manners; food carts in abundance; removing of shoes when entering some buildings.
Soz, John, Lorna, Will, Rach, Polly and I statyed an extra day in Bangkok before heading South on a night bus and boat to Koh Samui...