Visa and some sightseeing

Trip Start Sep 21, 2011
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106
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Trip End Mar 21, 2012


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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

We arrive at Mo Chit (pronounced appropriately 'more shit') bus station at 5am and taxi to our guest house in Banglamphu.  Have to sit and wait for a room as usual but get a coffe from the 7/11 on the corner and it is not too bad a wait.  Eat breakfast when restaurant opens at 6:30 and by the time we are finished our room is ready for us.  Shower and crash out on the bed for a while.  Leave at 9:00 and taxi into the city to Regent House, Ratchdamri Road, to the offices of VFS who handle the visa applications on behalf of the British Embassy.  Pick up a bankers draft on our way in and then Jai goes through on her own to place her application.  'Farangs' are not allowed inside any more which usually means there area few of us loitering outside like fathers at a maternity ward.  Never met anyone who has had a good word to say about VFS or more especially about the British Embassy here.  Common opinion is that they are on a fundraising mission for the UK government ...  About an hour later Jai emerges and we take the BTS Skytrain north to Mo Chit again.  Walk across Chatuchak Park which is quite pleasant.  There is an exercise area in one corner complete with a dodgy looking gym.  I stand a watch a couple of chaps using the weights for a while and am invited to go and join them.  Thje equipment looks like it dates from Charles Atlas' time and looks anything but safe so I politely decline.  We taxi from here to the bus station and buy our ticket back to Phon Thong for tomorrow night.  The ticket is expensive but I am assured that it is a 'special bus'.  We will wait and see.  We get another taxi to take us back to Banglamphu which proves to be an experience in itself.  After only a few hundred yards I have my doubys about the driver and had I been on my own I would have stopped him and changed to a different taxi.  Jai hates it when I do things like that or cause a scene about anything so I sit tight and hold on.  The driver doesnt seem to be familiar wit his gearstick as the engine screams along in first and second.  He doesnt look confident in the traffic - not that I would be here - and the car jumps along.  He doesnt appear to be drunk or on drugs so I can only assume that he cant drive !!  Thankfully we make it one piece; shaken but not stirred.  We eat at our usual Chinese noodle stall.  They say that fear can bring on an appetite and I needed two helpings today to calm me down.  Sleepless night is catching up with us so we return to the room and get our heads down for a while.  With Jai comfy on the bed, in front of a TV, with aircon I am definitely on my own for a walk this afternoon.  I walk north away from Banglamphu towards a temple that I last came to about 4 years ago.  There is a narrow side alley leading off the main road and then you emerge into the courtyard of the temple of Wat Indrahaviharn and its 32m tall standing Buddha.  There used to be little here apart from the Buddha which stood in a small garden but now the whole place has been developed and there are buildings and shrines everywhere.  Think Ipreferred it as it was before.  The developments look decidedly Chinese wich reflects most things here.  They are the ones with the money working harder than their Thai counterparts and investing in the local temples.  An old viharn next door has also gone through the 'Changing Rooms' process and has been painted with garish murals and now hasa collection of golden Buddhas inside.  All around the viharn is a wall filled with urns of the ashes from cremations along with a photio of the dear departed in glass cupboards.  I had passed two Kiwi guys a little earlier along the main road who were asking a tuk-tuk driver for directions somewhere but I didnt hear where.  After I had been at the temple for about 15mins they turned up through a back lane no doubt a hundred Baht or so worse off and a little surprised to see me walking about.  I make my way slowly back to the guest house with a blistered foot and wake Jai up to let me into the aircon.  We go out again just after 18:00 to eat and end up once again at our usual evening destination the New Siam Riverside.  Part of the same group as the guest house we use it sits right on the river and is quite a pleasant sopt in early evening watching the last boats head along the river as the sun goes down.  A large chicken baguette, followed by half of Jai's large tuna baguette, and I am stuffed.  It is a struggle to finish my beer - but I make it !  Back to the guest house where I arrange a late check-out for tomorrow and then off for a much needed sleep.
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