Day One - the culture shock
Bangkok Travel Blog› entry 1 of 13 › view all entries
June 24th, 2008 – by: Sundoria
The flight over was as awful as always. Between Mel discovering a large hole conveniently located in the crotch of her pant and being fed at 1am to the noisy protests of my stomach, we were off to a good start. Mel had a lot of difficulty sleeping. Nestled between myself and an overly talkative older man, she could not find sufficient head rest short of curling up on one of our shoulders. While I'm sure the ;man would have been all too willing to share his anatomy with Mel, she chose to spend her night with 'the nods' - that awful condition where you just drift off to sleep, your head slowly sliding downward, only to be snapped up when you wake yourself up. Very amusing to watch.
Being the well-informed travellers that we are (ha!), we headed straight for the public taxi booth when we arrived, rather than booking an excessively expensive airport taxi. Apparently it is less expensive due to the lack of focus on safety. We got in the back of the taxi, automatically reaching for the security of seatbelts. That didn't exist. We were emphatically told 'No' by our hygienically challenged driver. Sharing a look filled with trepidation, we reached for the armrest, our second best safety option, which could double as a lifeline should the need arise. Then I felt an ominous tap on my shoulder. I looked over and saw Mel's pale, stricken face. I then notice her armrest. Battered. Bruised. And held together by gaffa tape. We could only imagine that a previous passenger, also desperately holding onto the armrest, found a violent need for this safety hand hold, now rendering it inoperable as a lifeline. We tried not to think about the fate of the passenger... especially when our driver seemed to have issues with speeding, breaking an indicators. He even made up his own lane at one point.
After checking in we explored the neighbourhood, being constantly harassed by tuk tuk drivers and con men, who tell you that a landmark is closed so that they can take you to a destination of their choosing. Luckily I don't get sucked into their feeble attempts - I'm usually too distracted by some weird physical aspect of their appearance. Like the man who had one tooth that was longer than all the others...
Then, suffering from exhaustion, we went back to our hotel for a nanna nap. Yes, that's right, our first day in Bangkok and we spent the afternoon sleeping. Then I braved that shower, which is just attached willy-nilly to the toilet wall. Sanitary much?
The night certainly brings a new lease of life to Khaosan Road. The dirty, dingey, litter-strewn street complete with over-enthusiastic tuk tuk drivers with under-whelming vehicles, transforms into backpacker paradise in the evening. And by paradise I mean cheap markets, cheap entertainment and cheap booze.
We found a quick yet effective way to poison our bodies and mindfs was to drink 'buckets.' If you are unfamiliar with this particular Thai phenomenon, then let me tell you, you are missing out on potentially the most dangerous drinking experience ever. Imagine a child's sand bucket, perfect for carrying shells or water or imprisoning helpless insects. Innocent enough. Now picture it with a whole 300ml bottle of Thai whiskey, one bottle of coke and a bottle of toxic redbull that I'm fairly certain should be illegal. Throw in four straws and potentially contaminated ice, and you're on your way to euphoria or inebriation, depending on your perspective.
Except for a mild hangover, a plethora of embarrassing photos and email addresses of people I hardly remember, we're off to a good start...
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