One (more) night in Bangkok

Our last full day in Bangkok before Leah left and we spent it kind of dossing. We made it to the cinema early enough to catch Mummy 3 with Brendan Fraser. Entertaining in a “that’s a lot of CGI” kind of way. A quick lunch break was needed and I just had to try the “Conizza” I’d spotted the night before. It’s a pizza wrapped up to look like an ice cream cone. Stupid, novel… and tasty!

Then off to the clinic for an eye check, my reason for coming back to Bangkok. My eyes are fine. 20/20 vision, perfect pressure and no visible problems. Good-oh.

We went back to the cinema to get tickets for Journey To The Centre of the Earth (with that man Fraser again), but the cinema was packed with only two or three spare seats. So we looked at the next performance. The same. Argh. Final performance… empty. We got two good seats near the middle then rescheduled things.

Back to the hostel to get freshened up then through Pat Pong for Leah to do some gift shopping. Now, depending on how you play it, early evening is either a good or a bad time to go shopping in a market here. If you haggle well, then it’s a good thing as the traders want that first sale to get their luck going for the rest of the shift. Thing is, they also start at stupid prices to try and fill the coffers in case they don’t get many sales.

As an example, Leah spotted some flip-flops. Her’s were worn through, so a new pair were in order. She saw some that looked like the ones she had, picked them out, tried than and asked how much. The starting price was an astronomical 850 Baht. That’s around £14. Leah laughed and started to turn away at which point they dropped to 700. Then 600 after more cries of derision. “OK, how much?” was the cry as the calculator used as a bargaining tool was thrust at her. The ones she was wearing cost 60 Baht when we got to Bangkok last time. The new ones were slightly better. But not that much better. Finally, after walking off and being called back, Leah got them for 100 Baht – a little over £1.50. Quite a bit down from the original asking price, I’m sure you’ll agree.

You can tell when a trader’s made their first sale as they take the money they’ve been paid and tap all the merchandise with it to pass on the good fortune. This happened to a couple of the places we went, and you’ll sometimes even see some stall holders quite literally begging people to buy from them in the early hours. As I said, play it right and I think you can get some good bargains at this time of night. Likewise at the end of the evening from a trader who’s had a good run and who has made a fair bit in that shift.

Loaded with… well… crap, we deposited it at the hostel and went back to the Paragon for some munchies. After walking for a while trying to decide what I wanted (Leah had made a beeline for a posh cake stall), I settled on a small place selling tacos and picked a trio of chicken ones. For a savoury course, Leah thought she’d try a “build your own” which is when I realised I could ask for mine with a sauce other than the “mild salsa” included.

On the “build your own” list I saw “John’s Hot Sauce” and was about to order that when I saw “John’s Super Hot Sauce” on the menu. So I asked for that. The slight raise of the eyebrows from our waitress should have been a clue. Oh dear. I was armed with a can of Tiger when my meal arrived. Leah had a bottle of water with a glass of ice. This, as it turned out, was fortunate.

I wolfed the first taco. Delicious. But… something’s burning my mouth. I finished my lager. Still burny. Leah dipped her fork into the hot sauce and tried it. The tiniest amount, about the size of an ant. Then gulped a mouthful of water and complained an hour later that her tongue was still tingling. I had two tacos to go.

After the second I was using a spoon to shovel ice into my mouth. Sweat was dripping down my forehead in rivulets despite the chilly aircon. The third taco was almost painful but I wasn’t to be defeated. I did it. But there’s a lesson: when someone in Thailand calls something “hot” it’s on a different scale to the one we use in the UK. If you imagine the scale as running from 1-10, the UK tastebuds peak at around five, with something “hot” by Thai standards hitting ten. I was fine breathing in, but every breathe out made my eyes water and my lips seer.

Next stop was an ice cream parlour where I got two dollops of sorbet which I’m sure would have tasted sublime had I not destroyed the inside of my mouth.

I was OK by the time the film started and it was pretty enjoyable. Oh, did I mention we saw it in 3D? It’s the first live action feature film to be made using the new Dolby3D technology and it works pretty well. A silly film, but fun and the 3D really did help.

We managed to catch the last BTS of the night as we rushed from the cinema, being harried on our way by security staff eager to lock the gates. Last minute packing and swapping of luggage ensued as I made sure Leah had to carry all the useless crap I didn’t need any more back to the UK. She’s useful for some things!

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