In about an hour, James and I will finally leave Bangkok after 6 days here. To be honest I can’t wait to leave and am looking forward to new surroundings. Thoughts on Bangkok – well we prob spent about twice as long as we should have here due to having to wait two days and the weekend for our Vietnam visas to be processed. It’s a bustling city with lots going on, though on the other hand it’s quite grubby and the level of hassle you get from some of the hawkers gets real irritating after a while.
On Sunday I walked from our hostel near Khao San, to Siam Square in the city centre. About an hour long walk but over that hour just about every Tuk Tuk (a three-seater taxi/ motor bike) stopped beside me asking me if I wanted a lift, saying they’d give me a good price, etc. Over here, being white and obviously foreign looking means you’re often treated like a walking euro sign. It’s also the closest thing I’ve experienced to what being a big celebrity must be like – You can’t walk down certain streets without drawing some sort of unwanted attention, be it mostly from Tuk Tuk drivers and suit-sellers.
The other annoying think is the scam artists around temples and major tourist attractions. For instance today we went to the Grand Palace and Emerald Buddha Temple, real beautiful, but all the way up “helpful” well-dressed Thai scam artists were telling us “the palace is closed”. If you fell for it, they’d offer to bring you some where else where they’d draw a commission. It’s just real annoying. Of course most Thai’s are really lovely people but being so obviously a tourist, you draw in the worst kind more often than not.
It is more prevalent however around the main tourist strip. We went to a huge weekend market on Sunday where we were expecting to get more of the same hassle (I changed out of my Villa top as it had been serving as an attraction to dubious scam artists – “Aston Villa, great tem, where you from? You want massage, ping pong?). However at the market there was none of that crap and we’d a great day. Mad how cheap things are. There was load of real cool looking t-shirts, the sort you’d find in Urban Outfitters, which cost less than 2 euro as opposed to about 30 times that prize back home. All great quality too and I suppose most of the t-shirts we buy at home are made in countries near here. Gonna stock up on some before I leave for Oz in December. Actually, Aaron if you’re reading this I saw 2 t-shirts you bought in All-Saints here for 1.80Euro each! Sorry man! Also bought a pair of real good copy Ray Bans for 3euro. Look just like the 139Euro real thing. Loads of that kind of stuff, just that there wasn’t much point in us buying stuff now when we’ll have to carry it around for three months.
Other things in Bangkok – well there’s the sleaze. Every Tuk Tuk driver seems to think tourists are sex mad and will pester you about offers of ping-pong shows and “massages”. The red-light area, Pat-pong, is just as sleazy an off-putting as you might expect. Lots of beer-bellied 50 year old English men walking around with 18 year old Thai girls. There’s really nothing sexy about it, but then you do have to see it. Just one of those things.
So that’s really been my Bangkok. Had a good piss up on Sunday where I watched the Villa-West Brom game in Woody’s Villa bar in the city centre. Signed Villa shirts on the wall and Woody is a cool chap. Good win too. Then went to Finnegans’ Irish bar to watch the All Ireland, however the owner couldn’t get a signal and we ended up listening to the game over the radio – old school style. Good few Irish there and some heads from Kerry and Tyrone so had the craic. There was also a dwarf dressed as a leprechaun. Got a picture and for me the funniest thing so far was James lifting the dwarf up on a high stool so I could get a picture with him. I should have bended down. Funny though.
Anyhow a 14-hour over-night train to Chang Mai awaits! Later
Pics def tomorr
Travelled: Will fill in later!