Day 89: Skyline Martinis & The Meaning of Life

Trip Start May 20, 2008
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Trip End Aug 19, 2008


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Flag of Thailand  ,
Tuesday, August 19, 2008

There are few things more relaxing than a soft birth on an overnight train rocking you gently to sleep... Well actually there are many things more relaxing than that, but it is never the less a cozy way to spend the night. The beds could also do this neat transforming thing where they could be folded up and turned into seats once the sun rose. I woke up and shoved my privacy curtain aside, and the submarine was now a normal train, with chairs and rows and everything. We rolled into Bangkok a half hour earlier than expected, I scrambled off with my bags and looked up and down the strangely small platform for Jeff. Not only was there no Jeff, but hardly any one was deboarding here. I'd stepped out a station (or two or three) too early! Shit.

I huffed and puffed and jumped back on just as the train was starting to pull away. Disaster averted, there would have been little or no way to get back in touch with Jeff (email aside) if we were separated like that. It reminded me of a similar scare early during the Eurotrip with Mika when the Berlin SBahn's doors shut behind me and cut off Mika & Xany, I spent the next ten minutes in a frantic panic riding the subway up and down its line getting off at this and tat stop looking for them. This was an idiotic mistake on my part considering I'd already been inside Bangkok's giant central station three weeks prior and should've known I was in the wrong spot, sigh. All is well that ends well, as they say. When we finally did arrive and reunite, Jeff told me a group of monks stopped him from sleeping by waking up at 5am and yammering to themselves for the rest of the morning. I slept well and taunted him accordingly.

Honestly there's not a whole lot to write about the rest of the day. We didn't even settle down into our Khao San Road hotel until 2ish, then split up for some souvenir shopping and eating. Jeff took the SkyTrain to the hostel we stayed at three weeks ago, to rescue the suitcase he left in storage there, while I kind of wandered around town aimlessly soaking in the atmosphere. We would rendezvous at the Banyan Tree Hotel rooftop bar (one of the highest points in the city) at 6, I got there an hour early and talked to this British construction worker for an hour and a half until Jeff arrived while simultaneously emptying the bar's free cashew snack bin. This place was classy by the way, even nicer than the Sheraton Saigon. One of the best things about backpacking through SE Asia as opposed to Europe is that where in the latter you're living off bread and water, constantly counting pennies, here I could get a martini in a 5-star skyline restaurant for six bucks. It would be my final, last developing world indulgence until the next trip, whenever and where ever that will be. And so we sat, Jeff and I, watching the skyscrapers twinkle and the traffic buzz about, pondered the meaning of life some more and thanked each other on an adventure well done. It's been fun and all, but goddamn I want an In-N-Out burger & a salad already.

One mistake we made three weeks prior was not checking out any of Bangkok's legendary nightlife, so we resolved to fix this problem and stay up really really late walking around Thanon Silom and it's surrounding adult Disneylands. There was a redux of the Ko Samui night here where I let Jeff walk in front and draw the sleazy go-go girls' fire. Cowboy Alley was the nuttiest of these areas, lit up and down with crazy neon lights not unlike that one street in Downtown Vegas the name of which I forgot. There was also the 3 story outdoor mall of brothels. No comment regarding that. Though a night out clubbing was the obvious thing to do now, Jeff didn't have it in him and my foot was in deep, searing blister pain from the cheap flip-flops I'd been walking around in all trip. We decided to head back to Khao San Rd and spend the rest of the night brewing it up with fellow backpackers and hip young locals. It was a fitting, low key end to things. We stayed out on the cozy crazy street until 3-4ish in the morning, only a handful of bars were still open and countless were lounging on the curbs chugging beers. A few food vendors were still awake to feed them, Jeff got some yummy beef and chicken satay, I got my last pad-Thai. There was also a pair of 7/11s positioned directly across the street from one another, making us lol.

Two hours of sleep followed, until the next and truly final day.

---Vital Signs---
Time Till Home: 36h
Food Poisonings: None
Feet = PAIN
10baht Banana Cakes Eaten = Many
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