All by myself... do dooo dooooo

Well I'm all by Myself now.. lets see what I've been up to since my last post.

  • Met up with Ed & Scarlets friends, Lorna & Tim, who have been travelling through India for the last 2 months by themselves - pretty keen for a couple of 19 year old people, but they seemed to do really well.
  • Sweating.. this 38 degrees in the shade business is complete bollix, and to make matters worse the beer is double the strength of China (Chang beer is 6.3%, Leo is undrinkable rubbish, Thai Beer is 6.4% and Tiger is too expensive quite often - most beer in China is between and 3 & 3.5%) - so you have to keep your wits about you, unless in the company of people I trust I can't see myself drinking a great deal as you just feel dazed and confused, not a particularly wise idea in the middle of Bangkok.
  • Visited the Emerald Buddah, which is in fact made of Jade, and rather small.. (but on a huge gold pedestal) .. Thai temples and architecture is quite a departure from Chinese Budhism with it's Taoist and ancestor worship ties.  The Thai have a lot of Demons and Serpents, everything is "spangly" and pretty Garish.  Best viewed from afar :) The temple surrounding the Emerald Buddah is amazing - truely huge, and in immaculate condition - the endless murals that flow continuously around hall ways and walls are amazing to look at.  Getting used to no pointing your feet in temples is another interesting challenge, though there is no "wrong" or "right" leg to cross into a temple on (In china I think it was left leg first for males, right leg first for females).
  • Went for a few rides on a river Taxi, had some nice pork & ginger - also had my first green coconut to drink (what a noob) - had some durian (?) fruit, basically yellow mushy stuff that comes from the centre of the spikey big fruit.  Quite a mild taste, and no detectable odur.  The river taxi is confusing, as it doesn't give or expect exact change... you give here 20 baht, it'll cost 20 baht.. give them 8, it costs 8.  Your screwed without small change :)
  • Had some drinks and good food to Celebrate Scarlets 19th birthday.. all these young whiper schnappers I dont know.  I'm impressed by their confidence at times, at 19 I was pretty different to any of them - interesting times.
  • Upgraded to a double bed and own bathroom for 240 (or was it 280? I forget) baht a day.. small comforts.

Tonight I'm off to Qualompong (sp?) Train station to head up to Chiang Mai.. Should be good, second class sleepers sound a little classier then what I was used to in China, but I forgot to insist on AirCon so I may end up with Fan - guess we'll see, I cant imagine I'll sleep a great deal at any rate.  My room in Chiang Mai for the first week is a little extra because it has AirCon.. luxuary :)

In the mean time I have to check out in half an hour, find a locker to stash my backpack and then go and get some brunch.

I'll be so greatful to be shot of Khao San road and the surrounding area... I dont care about it being a dive, but it's just dripping with Trendy weirdos - I'd far rather watch locals, then tourists spending silly money on crap - and even worse the vendors in and around Khao San road dont actully Barter.. so you ask how much, they tell you the price.. knowing full well what the end price will be, and it's only ever 20% less... The "walk away" tactic so useful in China & India doesn't wash in this little pocket of Madness.. hopefully the rest of Thailand is a little better in that respect - one store was charging 450 baht for a crappy little pair of battery amplified computer speakers.. $16 NZ, which is insane, you'd pay 5 or 10 Yuan in China (like $1 to $2).. a Train ticket costs about 500 baht!... but the problem is there's always another silly tourist who'll pay the price, hell I'm one of them half the time because you just dont know any better at the start.

Nobody seems too concerned about the Hat Yai bombing last week here either, which is interesting - I guess it's so far south as to only be a mild concern for people doing a Malaysian border run, the TAT office was desperate to try and sell me some Southern Thailand packages as their is such a downturn in visitors (I guess a mass grave 15 minutes walk away from your hotel can be off putting?) and bombing and continuing Insurgence problems can't be helping either, even if the hot spot is far away from Phuket and surrounding Islands.

Till next time...

 - Alex

Written on April 8, 2005