A week in Bangkok by my ickle self

Time for a whiz-round catchup on the last few days.

I will admit to having some kind of trepedation when Lou headed off and I was effectively “alone” in a big city I don’t really know. Within 2 days, this feeling had gone. Bangkok’s so nice, the people so friendly, the transport network so efficient… once you get used to the crowds everything just washes over you and you just enjoy the place.

I’ve been staying at Big John’s Guesthouse on Thonglor 9, just off Sukhumvit 55. It’s just over 2 quid a night and I guess you get what you pay for… but it’s way better than you’d expect! Bed is a fairly hard mattress in a room with up to 5 other people and there’s only 2 showers and loos per floor. Actually, there are less right now as the rain made a bit of a mess of the water supply last night (it tonked it down). There are effectively 2 showers and 4 loos for the entire building right now.

Eek.

Still, it’s very clean and secure. It’s also conveniently located for loads of shops and only 10 minutes from Tong Lo BTS station.

It’s great sharing with other people as you get to help them out if they’re new, or get a ton of info off them if they’ve been elsewhere. Even after only a couple of weeks here, I’ve been able to give pointers to quite a few new arrivals.

As arranged, we headed for the Bull on Tuesday evening for dinner. And got utterly wasted. It wasn’t a cheap night (well, £15 for dinner and beers per person sounds good at home but it ain’t here!) but it was a very good one. Billy, who runs the bar, is a great laugh and Nacho turned up as well.

We were literally kicked out at 1am when the Bull shut its doors and crashed back at the dorm. Arrangements were made to see V For Vendetta the next day at the Siam Paragon and we went our separate ways in the morning.

Of course, the best laid plans and all that… there was a huge political demonstration (peaceful, I hasten to add) around Siam on Wednesday and the main shopping precincts had been forced to close their doors. As a result, I couldn’t meet them where we’d arranged so I slunk off to the Emporium cinema instead and watched Where The Truth Lies which wasn’t bad at all.

Afterwards, I bought a ticket for Pink Panther at 80Baht (not even a quid 50) and headed over to the Bull’s Head on the offchance… and they arrived while I was there! They’d found a cinema on Siam Square that was open and been to see the originally intended film after all.

I binned the Pink Panther ticket (it’s a Steve Martin film, after all) and we settled down for dinner and a few beers. Again, another cracking night.

Nick left the next morning early doors and had been moved to another dorm. We said our goodbyes and I hope he had a pleasant (14 hour) journey home!

Smart me had noted the times for V at the Emporium for the Thursday so I headed there early on to pick up a ticket before meeting Sanjana for lunch. Only the film wasn’t on. Instead, I got a ticket for Inside Man which was due out on Friday and had replaced it on the billings. A worthy replacement as well – great film, especially for 140Baht.

Lunch was nice and quiet – I won’t make you guess where we had it – and Sanjina paid to get rid of her Baht. I officially and in public owe her lunch if we get to meet up again once I’m home! She was also leaving that day and I saw her off at the sky train as he headed for the airport.

Also, with Nick moving out I managed to get a locker so I stopped off to pick up a padlock and emptied my belongings from Joy and Nacho’s house where they’d been till then. A huge “thank you” to you both or the temporary security! My clothes don’t matter squat but I don’t want my laptop or camera going walkies.

I finally saw V on Friday at the Siam Paragon which was very posh indeedy. The only screen it was on was the expensive one, which I didn’t realise till I got there, so my cheap cinema trip emptied my wallet (I had just enough!). Escorted to a VIP room where I was served (literally) on knees by a waiter. I even got a free 15 minute head, neck and shoulder massage. Which hurt. But in a good way. The film was as good as I’d been told it was – definitely a “go-see”.

Other things I’ve achieved this week include picking up a Vietnamese visa (which I wish I could change the dates on as I now think I’ll be getting there later than intended), and sorting out a 5-day trip to Chiang Mai.

My itinerary is currently as follows:

7:30am Saturday 1st I get the train to Kanchanaburi and the Tiger Temple. I’ll also try to get to the War Cemetery again and put some flowers on Dale’s grandad’s grave. I wish I’ve known on my first visit, but I will do my best for you.

Saturday 8th I return to Bangkok and will spend a couple of nights back in Big John’s (which I need to book). And the Bull’s Head for the Boro game on the Sunday. On April 10th, I fly to Chiang Mai and have sorted a decent hotel (at £11 a night – whoop) as a treat. With any luck, I’ll get on an elephant ride, white water rafting and bamboo rafting. I may also force myself to chill out by the pool!

On the following Saturday, I’m heading back to Bangkok for another couple of nights, aiming to head for Laos on the Tuesday after one last night out in the Bull for the mackem game on Easter Monday.

Right, now I’m going to finish my huge cow pat guy and book those additional nights here.

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