One (more) Night In Bangkok (2011 remix version)

3 Mar

And so it’s off back to Bangkok, after saying goodbye to our cheerful host, Joey. A cramped trip to the local bus depot (for those who haven’t experienced this, it’s basically a bunch of garden chairs and tables in the middle of town, where buses will eventually turn up to distribute their passengers to their final destinations). It’s a three hour minibus trip into Phuket airport, and I for one am really glad to get out of the bus – the seats seem built to Thai proportions and I’ve spent the entire trip trying not to bounce into the folk either side. At least this time I have a comfy seat – my backside is still a little sore from the bench seat on the trip to Laos.

The original plan to spend the night at Bangkok airport is made slightly more complicated by the fact that this flight doesn’t go to the International airport, but dumps us at the old airport (we suspect it’s actually the only flight still using that airport) north of town. I successfully ask for the destination in Thai (well, the taxi booking desk grins and leaps into action so something got communicated) and the taxi driver eventually gets me to where I am going – after asking directions from half a dozen assorted taxi drivers, policemen, street vendors and passers-by – but there is no room for me at the inn (well, I am two days early) – and so I find a hotel up the street. It’s vaguely reminiscent of a horror B movie, with a neon sign that keeps spluttering on and off, but it’s clean, and cool, and there’s a shower.

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I’m in heaven – there’s a shower! I haven’t mentioned Thai showers yet, but the entire bathroom is the shower room too – which means that special precautions have to be taken to avoid drenching your towel, your clothes – or, indeed, the toilet roll. Always assuming you have a toilet roll – that’s not a Thai concept, and the upmarket hotels have a spray system that achieves the same purpose (sorry, no, I’m not going into details. Use your imagination. And downmarket hotels just have the traditional scoop and bucket. And squat toilets too.) I feel a little sympathy for Sylvester Stallone and the seashells in ‘Demolition Man’.

Moving swiftly on, it’s out for a night on the town on the infamous Kao San road, backpacker heaven. Although I’ve been here before, at night the street is transformed, full of street food vendors selling everything you could imagine (and a few things you can’t). As well as the ubiquitous Pad Thai and mango rice, there’s deep fried scorpions and crunchy bugs on offer, along with whole battered squid. And meanwhile, the street hustlers are selling everything from sunglasses and silly hats to jewellery, frog noise makers and those blue helicopter light things that are available on every street market worldwide at the moment.

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And so, one birthday curry later (and very good it is too) (Lisa’s birthday, not mine) it’s off to the airport for her, and I can plan the next few days… which involve temples, sightseeing, visa applications and lots of iced coffee) . . .

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