Arrival in Bangkok
Trip Start Oct 15, 2010
27Trip End Jan 11, 2011
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Where I stayed
I was most pleased to get my little circular wooden knitting needles through security without issue! We boarded later than expected and found our seats. We settled back into them as the plane headed towards the runway. And then ... we were off! New Zealand dropped away below us and was soon swallowed by cloud. As we circled over the central city the clouds broke leaving us with fantastic views to farewell New Zealand with. I tried to take them in as we chatted to the lady sitting beside me. It turns out Theresa is a second tier manager at Papakura District Council, so of course we ended up talking about the Auckland 'supercity' restructure (a project I had been involved in from the union perspective some months ago), the effect on her future and the changes for her staff. And there I'd been thinking I’d left it all behind already!
Eleven hours later we broke through the clouds above Bangkok to the stunning view of thousands of sparkling lights. Landing and immigration were uneventful and we headed off through town in a taxi. I was surprised at how orderly everything was, I’d expected at least to be heckled by taxi drivers, but there’s a system where you are allocated to a specific driver. The only strange part was the lack of seatbelts in the back of the cab, while our driver drifted across the motorway lanes at high speed. I guess I really need to learn to let go of these fears over the next three months, traffic in Nepal and Vietnam is bound to be a lot more extreme than here.
Our driver dropped us off at what he told us was Khao San Road, although it seemed distinctly quieter than I had imagined. Laden with our packs we walked down the road, keeping an eye out for burger king as per the instructions for finding our guesthouse, and were surprised to come to the end of the road with no burger joint in sight. After aimlessly wondering the streets, and asking for some directions, we eventually found what felt much more like the real Khao San Road. The street was dotted with food vendors and shops selling cheap hippy pants and souvenirs. Pumping trance attempted to create a big rave atmosphere amongst the European backpackers. Every other bar had a live musician honoring us with his (poor) rendition of every classic song you can think of, from John Lennon to Nirvana. While this felt much more in the ballpark of where we needed to be, we again reached the end of the road with no burger king in site. Again we asked for directions, were told it was right at the other end, and after wandering back were embarrassed to find it right where we had started walking from. Lack of sleep had not done our observation skills any good. From burger king, the hostel was easy to find down a small alleyway, called a soi, where our friends Jonny and Christie were waiting for us as planned. It was great to see them after the one and a half years they’ve been in Europe for. We dumped our bags in our rooms and headed out to catch up over a few beers before finally hitting our beds.