Thai Water Torture
Trip Start Oct 22, 2005
224Trip End Ongoing
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and we could now move onwards North (there are now probably forged copies of our passports for sale in the Bangkok black market). We thought with a morning to kill we'd go and see the Temple of the Dawn. Outside was another Wat where we saw the grave sites of local Thai Buddhists. A weird experience to walk through their cemetery. The Temple was covered in enamel tiles, though was not in as good condition as other temples have been. We wandered around for about an hour and thought it was time to move on, but there was one last thing to do.
The Chatuchak Weekend Market was listed as being "The King of all Markets" with over 15,000 stalls! It was said you couldn't see them all in one day so we (read Megan) had to check it out. We got a river boat down to the Sky Train station and headed off to Chatuchak
We would have loved to furnish our house with all the knick-knacks and cool stuff we saw in the home wares section. Sadly we had to settle on some small things that we can send home. Unfortunately Rick wasn't as impressed by the market as Meg. Being a taller and broad shouldered guy he has a lot of trouble finding clothes that fit him in Asia. Every t-shirt or top he liked, when put on, looked like a muscle top.
After stopping off at the MBK shopping centre at Siam Square for some other last minute things we headed to the taxi rank to take us back to our guest house. We have had a lot of trouble getting taxis in Bangkok to use the meter. As soon as they see a Forang(foreigner) they try to charge a flat rate at up to triple the normal price. If you ask them to turn the meter on they tell you to get out or pretend they don't know where you want to go. We know they are pretending because on our map the street names and tourist sites are in both English and Thai. Even in the "proper" taxi rank with a cop at the front we couldn't get a metered taxi and had to settle for a tuk tuk as we were in a rush to catch our bus. Megs offered 80 Baht, the driver wanted 150 Baht but Rick said we'd give him 100 if he was fast.
Although we were told the bus would pick us up out the front of the Merry V Guest House we weren't surprised when we were made to walk with all our packs (having flashbacks of India) to the bus a few blocks away. On the way we started chatting to an English chick who was stressing big time. She had been told they put sedative in the air-conditioning then steal your valuables. She sought us out because she had just bought a pac-safe (the secure mesh cover for our backpacks) and wanted to know how to use it. When we made it to the bus Megan quickly showed her how to put it on, while other organised people quickly jumped on the bus to secure all the good seats. Meg's is just too nice! We then got stuck, crammed into crappy seats. At least she couldn't sit next to us.
As we drove off with her droning on to some other Aussie girls about the sedatives, we jealously eyed off two girls with the best seats. They were just above the steps, right under the air con with tons of lovely leg room. They sat their all proud, legs stretched out, playing with their i-Pods looking all superior and like. Our jealousy quickly abated when the air-conditioned started leaking freezing water all over them
About an hour in, a few other people started getting dripped on. Slowly at first, little drips. Not so bad. Then it began to gush and the heavens opened. Being ingenious Aussies with good initiative they pulled out the duct tape and plastic bags (also rapidly munching down chips so they could use the empty packets) and tried to plug the leaks. It worked for a while but sadly it was no match for the old air-conditioner trying to exact it's revenge (keep in mind we did only pay $8 AUD for the 12 hour trip). Although we stayed dry for a while, eventually Rick copped a bucket load of water straight onto his groin. He was busting to go the toilet but this was ridiculous! We played a bit of musical chairs and Rick moved to the back of the bus next to a mining couple from far North Western Austraila who were making the most of the cheap beer being sold onboard. They became quite offended when he politely declined their (second) offer of beer. After some complaining a few girls managed to secure some roomy seats downstairs and when the attendant offered up two more we jumped at the chance to move.
Comfortable at last we settled in for the remaining 8 hours. After a few restless hours sleep, broken by the bus randomly stopping for some reason, we pulled into a service station around 6am and were ferried off in taxis taking us to central Chang Mai
When they had ferried us off to one of the guesthouses that pay the highest referral commission, we listened to the usual spiel about treks, tours, juggling elephants etc then basically we put on our packs and walked out, the English girl running behind yelling "Wait for me! Can I come too?". Meg quickly replied "We're only here for a day and we thought we might go to a very expensive hotel.", knowing this was outside her budget. She gave us a tearful look, bowed her head and sulked back to the rest of the backpackers, who at this stage we fully into booking their over-priced jungle treks. Sadly we never got her name. We did find out she was on the pill though, as she took it in the back of the taxi whilst befriending some poor Spanish guy who is probably now sharing a room with her.
As we walked (read bolted) out of the hostel a tuk tuk driver approached offering to take us to his family guest house. This turned out to be a dodgey place that we said "was very nice" but asked to be driven to another place, the Banana Guest House. They had no room, but offered to look after our bags while we searched for somewhere to stay. We stumbled across an Aussie-Thai run hostel within our budget called the Mr Whiskey Inn. They are right next to the cheapest laundry and net cafe (a kids gaming room)
After a quick breakfast and cold shower, we did some washing, read the map and decided to walk into town. Rick is trying to drink his way through all the caffeine Red Bull type drinks they have on sale in Thailand. This morning's one is called White Shark. We don't know what's in it as all the writing is in Thai. Rick is on a caffeine induced high (as he normally doesn't drink coffee). He also wandered off while Meg updated this blog and got his hair cut for 50 Baht (approx $1.60 AUD). Now off to wander around town and check out what appears to be a really cool place to visit.