Lost in Translation
Trip Start Aug 01, 2003
66Trip End Sep 20, 2004
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Friday 26th March
To experience how it feels to be a pedestrian in Bangkok take a walk over your local rubbish tip on the hottest day of the year, sniff the rotten air, smoke a fag every 30 metres and hit yourself over the head with a brick.
Saturday 27th March
We've gone for broke and are staying in the tallest hotel in the world: The sky hotel. At breakfast on the 77th floor you look out over the busy motorways, small claustrophobic streets and hundreds of skyscrapers fading off into the haze. It's nice up here in the air con clouds, I don't want to go down there but...
It's time to stretch the plastic. Skytrain north to the weekend market at Cho Mit. This place is so vast that it has free golf buggies to ferry customers around it. The quality of the merchandise was much better than at other tourist markets we've been to and it's a great place to get clothes and presents.
Central department store is heaven, entered as a scruffy backpacker, left in tailored shiny green suit. Jane too was transformed with slinky white dress and matching accessories. Ready to hit the town.
Sunday 28th March
Today I'm 30 and I thought that the milestone would make me a man. I've decided to stop shaving my chest.
Express train to Lopburi to see the monkeys that live in the temple in the middle of town.
The buddhist philosophy is not to harm animals and the people of the town see the monkeys as totems of good luck. They get well fed and are given the run of the town centre making mischief with tourists. When we arrived it was so hot that there was little activity. Ended up sitting off with them in the shade of a wall, just us and the monkeys.
No tickets on the express, 3 hours third class. Standing room only. What a killer, lots of hacking coughs and sneezes. Food vendors screeching down you ear and old guys falling asleep on your shoulder.
Big night out, loosened up with the bottle of champagne then went to the Oriental, one of the poshest hotels in Bangkok. Ferried across the river for a meal and cultural dance performance. Met an Irish guy who retired with us to the bamboo lounge for jazz and more of the fizzy stuff.
Monday 29th March
Still gassed, took the local ferry down the river to the Grand Palace. The wat of the Emerald Buddha and the surrounding chedi, stupa and murals were beautifully crafted but unfortunately very bright ans sparkly. Took a break and refreshed ourselves with coconut before walking to The Khao San. I was expecting a narrow street, lots of old wooden Thai houses and shifty characters but it's all pretty nice actually. A real diverse crowd frequents the Irish bars and western coffee shops. You can purchase anything a backpacker could possibly desire and the ladyboys appear particularly proliferagate here.
Watched the sun set over Khao San then ambitiously walked back to our hotel. At dusk it was much cooler and we almost enjoyed drifitng past the temple mount, Thai markets and train tracks were people flew kites and played badminton.
Tuesday 30th March
This will be my last entry, I am going home (though Jane is going to carry on to Sri Lanka). 8 months living out of a bag and now it's all over; bring on the capitalist, luxury lifestyle...