Manchester - Bangkok
10.01.2009 - 15.01.2009 26 °C
Ok, ok, ok, here we go folks......
Saturday 10th January
After a very nervous sleep and bacon butty from our lovely hosts, Debbie and Lee, we set off back to Liverpool to drop off our hire car and then return to Manchester for our flight. Pretty uneventful apart from forgetting to fill up with petrol until the airport carpark, which prompted a swift handbrake turn and a sprint to get juice!
Oh, and then the Terravision bus that we really needed at 10.30 was cancelled, NO!
Got a normal bus outside with 30 seconds to spare and settled down with a bunch of Dutchies for the trip to Piccadilly.
Arrived a little later than expected which then prompted a jog to the platform, a big smile to the guard that we were late and a free ticket later we were on the train. I thought we were cutting it fine until 4 Irish girls jumped on as the doors were closing and one got stuck! A quick debate on how funny it would be to see her running alongside the train and i helped open the doors, good deed done for the day!
At the airport...
Boarded and take-off, cool.
Doha International airport, 00.15 with a 7hr wait, mmm, not so cool!
Sunday 11th January
We survived the wait in the airport "quiet room" on a chill out chair. Was fairly quiet apart from lots of Arab coughing, snoring and farting.
After a restless night we boarded the plane and i think the only thing that could of annoyed me at that point would be to sit behind 2 Germans who had no idea at all of personal space. Job done!
After i got a tv screen in the nose and Suus's knees got crushed during breakfast we lost the plot and spent the rest of the flight poking their chairs whilst they slept and getting the stewardess to ask if they could sit up whilst we ate, mean i know but hey, 7 hrs is a long time to entertain yourself!
So, arrival in Bangkok was a lot easier than i was worried about, went through customs and got a visa (would love to see everyone's visa picture that is taken after 20hrs travelling!) and out into the craziest city ever.
A 45 min bus trip later and a short walk and we were into out hostel for the next 4 days.
My relief at that point was immense, we had arrived safe and sound!!!!
After a quick wash, food was calling and we ended up sitting on plastic chairs in the middle of the pavement whilst some crazy looking ladies prepared our chicken dishes. It took a slightly inebriated one of them a good 30 seconds to do the 4 steps to our table with my meal and i thought it would end up in my lap!
Monday 12th January
I have no idea how, but, managed to sleep for 16 hrs on a 1" mattress.
Woke up at 4pm, aching and instantly knowing that this was the wrong thing to do to battle jetlag.
Eventually crawled out of bed and spent and hr or so planning the next few days, went for food and came home again.
It was time for the body to sleep again, mmmm, good luck with that!!!
Tuesday 13th January
After staring at the ceiling for 6 hrs i nodded off at 6am and the alarm went off 4 hrs later. i was in a great mood!
So, we staggered from our beds, showered and headed off in automatic zombie mode to see the Golden Buddha, it was closed for repair.
Luckily, we then met a lovely old man who was a English teacher in the local school, he told us all about the city, informed us that the boats that we wanted don't run in the daytime but there was plenty of shops open and would be happy to explain to the taxi were we wanted to go, how kind!
Another old man appeared from nowhere with his car and for 30b would take us to the malls, how kind!
After 10 mins in the car our driver went past the mall saying he could only stop in certain places and carried on until he found a spot, just outside a Govt. run store.
He then explained that we could buy all sorts of jewellery and gems for giveaway prices............bugger!
Been travelling for 15 yrs and get conned on day 1, bugger again!
So, our carefully planned day was ruined in the first 20 minutes and we ended up on the opposite side of town than we planned.
I wanted to go have a chat with the lovely old man and ask why he was not teaching today and why the driver looked very similar to him, almost brothers in fact??? Bugger, bugger, bugger!
Anyway, Suus was happy, she got her nails done and we went shopping instead!
Wednesday 14th January
After a mix of sleep and ceiling staring we headed out a bit fresher and a bit weary about trusting people. I never thought i would feel like not believing a word anyone said in Thailand but i did, and only hoped it was just the people of Bangkok?
We grabbed the metro and then the skytrain to the central pier and grabbed a ferry, on which the monks had their own space to gather, cool.
(Note : the machines at the stations don't try and scam you!!)
Had a look in the National Gallery and then walked around the corner to the most famous backpacker strip in the world, Khao San Road. It was a pretty chilled out area with lots of people in traveller gear and dreadlocks, Bob Marley playing in the cafes and the feeling that not one person was in a hurry to do anything.
Grabbed a bit of lunch, cheese and ham toasty which was ok and a watermelon shake which was fantastic!
Had a look at a very tall Buddha that even Dutchies have to bend the head to look up at and decided to grab a tuk-tuk for the first time to take us the 800m to the Grand Palace.
After bartering down to 20b (40p) we set off with other drivers telling us that the palace was shut, yeah, yeah, yeah!
100m around the corner and our driver pulled over and got a Thai tourist official to ask us where we wanted to go! The driver never spoke a word of English and had no idea where we wanted to go! OMG!
After a quick Lonely Planet moment and a chat with the official it turned out the Temple shuts at 3pm and we were 30 minutes late. they were telling the truth after all, bugger!
We told the guy we were paying 20b and he went nuts at the driver and told him he must take us to 3 other temples, over to the tourist information office and back to Khao San and we were to pay 20b only.
Almost scammed again! I know its only a pound here and there that we are talking about but its the principle that annoys me and over 90 days they all add up!
So 2hrs later and very worn out with the stop-start traffic and pollution he dropped us back at Khao San, was paid 20b and we grabbed a beer and a burger on the strip.
The beer hit the spot and so we did some shopping, got some vests and some Fisherman pants and then taxi home to bed, knackered but a bit more streetwise, i hope!
Packed our bags and tried to sleep, we were heading for WWII country tomorrow and could do with some energy!