New country = new adventures
Trip Start Feb 28, 2012
40Trip End Nov 22, 2012
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As planned i have spent 2 days here to organise a few things all in time for this overnight sleeper train (8pm -9:15am) To Nong Khai right on the Thai side of the Loas border where you take a separate train to blah de da and then a taxi or shuttle train in to Vientianne arriving about 10am on 8th June 2012 which i just so happen to have timed for the start of Euro 2012!! Sleeper trains are pretty good; if you haven't had the pleasure then let me give you an insight (skip to next paragraph if the insight doesnt appeal!). Its basically a huge train of about 20 or so big carriages which comprise of normal seats on the bottom, which fold up to convert in to a bed later on, and the upped bunks are, well, bunk beds! beds like what the lower seats will fold in to later
Initially i was gonna go up to Laos a little later but looked set to miss Spain v Italy (potential classic) and Rep Ireland v Croatia (likely bore draw) but i was losing more sleep over the possibility of missing what could be one of the tournoi's greatest games so i rejigged (after my initial jig) and found i could get here for the first game even...
So i came to bangkok for some medical supplies which BKK is good for, to buy some clothes, well at least a pair of thin jeans for this colder climate and for the odd smart night out (wearing shorts and a flip flopfor nightlife isn't always the best look and can lead to fights in bus shelters)
Next day i pondered this strange event and like Sherlock Holmes in a moment of inspiration and clarity, i concluded that the fan was likely to be a factor in the itching. I realise that air blowing on me wouldnt cause itching but it was contibuting to the itchyness and an underlying condition which made me think it was either still a skin condition i had picked up and the blowing air aggrevated it or possibly that it was the wash powder i was using that was on my clothes still, therefore on my skin and for some reason not giving me too much jip in the day but at night, with the air from the fan, it was making my pores feel like a sober George Best.... this all seems like a long shot i know but it is possible especially since the wash powder i use is a bio one and i take as much time rinsing my clothes as i do remembering peoples birthdays lately so it is possible. So with this in mind i decided to avoid the cost of seeing a doctor esp since after this discovery i tried sleeping with the fan on a low setting, just enough to keep cool to be able to sleep, and i was OK
Oh, before i continue, something i want to tell you about, one of those things i always forgot to add but remember when back here in Thailand. You may remember me saying that to say hello here you say "sawad De Krap" or for thankyou Kawp kun Krap"... well the Krap bit is only what a man says at the end of pretty much any sentence, its to be polite and if you dont add it, it can sound quite rude or is maybe not used if you are dissattisfied or angry maybe... Now when Thai's say it they kinda half say the 'p' at the end and sometimes it can just sound like 'Kra' or sometimes the full on 'krap' but when i say it its a full on krap and took some getting used to saying. Anyway, what i know i didn't update you on is that after getting better with the language and seeing others talk either in person or on TV, i realised that not only do you say 'krap' at the end of your own sentence but also when you are listening to someone else you should say 'krap' in acknowledgement of what they are saying. Now in the western world we might use a facial expression, use a 'hmmm', a nod or even various verbal choices but in Asia the only way to acknowledge what someone is saying is to say 'krap'.
Now the women have it lucky because they say 'kar' but poor me has to say 'krap' and not just at the end of a conversation, you say it at the end of every sentence to show you understand, follow or agree. I have seen conversations and guys replying, pretty much every few seconds saying 'krap'. So somones chuntering along and the guy listening is just going.
OK, so what do i have to tell you, well i did promise to get more photo's and get back to capturing the bizarreness of South East Asia so thats what i have been doing. So, camera in hand and on show photos i see my first exhibit: exhibit A: the weird and wonderful world of Thai coaches. I mentioned these in my first time in Thailand but failed to get a picture. The coach companies here must be run by funky Thai art students because they are all designed in these teenage themed crazy styles ranging from an AC/DC coaches from Hell to a Cuddly fluff mobile with angel wings?! each company has its own personal highly detailed paint job that most graffiti artists would be proud of but they are also fully decorated both inside and out with design to match. Point in case for the picture i have, which isn't the best and currently my camera is on its way out as its exposure settings randomly chooses extremely high now most of the time and for this shot as over exposed the teddy bears all tightly packed in and forming a row on the front of the top window of this angel delight of a coach
Just broke off as the girl sat opposite decided to have her bed made up; she got on earlier and just had a vacant look of 'oh great, i got a phalang' on her face.... so sneakily she told the carriage superviser and he just asked me to move so he can make the beds so now i am up in my bunk with my large Chang beer, laptop and listening to some nice St Germain Lounge music whilst updating you all....nice;)
OK, next pic, ha ha.... oh yeah - never seen anything like this and now seeing it for the first time it seems even more bizarre at the choice of image used...! OK, i best explain... well, on route on the massive bus journey from Sihanoukville, Cambodia to Bangkok i was sat in the front seat; ha, a story in itself; quickly!: remember back in cambodia i got a long mini bus from Cambodia to Vietnam and when i got on i had to sit at the front of the bus on seats that were turned to face the rest of the people on the bus?! Well after that, a guy got on and sat in the vacant front seat next to the driver and i swore that i would always try get that from seat in future...well we all got to the border at Koh Kon and switched to seperate mini buses and all these old euro guys all got on first and crammed in the back so when i got there and could almost see the sweat and odour creeping out the minivan, i said, in front of all of them (who were waiting for me) to the driver "can i take the front seat" and he said "ohhh, its a prized seat, do you have a tip" so i said "yeah, sure, no problem" and just jumped in the front; as roomy as a penthouse flat, air con tastic and with a great view for the whole trip and no sweaty Swede pressed up against me like the others in the back
But anyway, back to the photo, exhibit B; on route we were behind a small truck for a bit and i happened to notice there was something on the mudflaps of the back wheels, an image of someones face, the same on both sides and at first glance it looked like a large picture of Jesus.. OK, bizarre i though but at this stage not worthy of a photo, i mean, i had never seen this kind of custom artwork before but thinking it was Jesus i just thought it was a religeous nut and in his faith he decided to have these made up to show over drivers the way of the lord; the current way being highway 5 to Bangkok.... but, and its a big but, as i looked closer i said to myself "hang on a minute"..."thats not Jesus"......That's Serpico!!!! Holy gay Al Pacino 70's film charachters, this guy has had Serpico tatooed on both mud flaps! (i know...theres a gag there...and no doubt it's in the guys glove box waiting for the next not quite straight hitchhiker this guy picks up!! Ha, even i liked that one...)..
So back to today; i bought all my bits but it cost more than expected and after all the lack of sleep, itching travel and my big arguement with Elton John in a cafe i was feelin a touch down and felt i needed to pick myself up a bit... before i tell you i should explain the arguement i suppose... when i got to Bangkok i decided to get my supplies first which cost about 70 quid more than i thought but i lugged all my gear round Bangkok trying to find Boots, yes Boots! (photo exhibit E!) i got a tuk tuk to the train station, bought my ticket for today and then tried to find a hotel nearby and saw an internet cafe which i thought id use to find a hotel but next door was a cafe and this guy (Elton John) asked me to come in.
So yeah, that night i was mulling over the overspending and fact my camera needed replacing too but had earlier thought that a good idea would be to ask my dear mother (who i love very much by the way) to DHL courier my iphone over to me in Vientianne as i will be there for a month and so will my brother Jon and Nicole and so i could have an address to get stuff sent to. The iphone would not only be a camera but also a phone (obviously) and an internet source too! So i could sell my laptop, DVD drive, cables and also lose my bulky camera dock too - genius, but also i could return some of the stuff i bought from Boots and get my mum to buy them in UK cheaper and include them in the package and after searching online found i could save about 70-80 quid... bigger genius. So i decided next day i would take some stuff back, make a good saving and just enjoy the day, not worry about not spending, eat whatever and just have a good day out checking out bangkok so thats what i did...
That day was today and i had a great day. The only thing i wanted to buy was a pair of jeans but i ended up buying some great gear. In Siam square there are loads of little indoor markets with loads of artists, local designers and traders of all kinds but some great shops with personalised clothing and and at great prices so throughout the day i spent the whole 70 quid; i got coffee's, cakes, bought my Dolce & Gabbana copy jeans but also got some great shorts, t-shirts, a large bottle of original Caroline Hererra 212 for a tenner! and also... a McDonalds! I saw it and just thought, yeah, i could just have a Big Mac meal! so i did - well, kind of, when i got to the desk i saw they had a samurai Pork Burger so i tried that instead! which finally leads to your next photo description: Ronald McDonald in Asia and like all good branding ideas should do, he has customised himself to be welcoming you in with the traditional hands clasped in front of your chest..
Next up for all you car lovers is an ultra cool old style jag, right from the UK too (see the masked number plate) but come on, check out those colours...!
Next up i stopped in a cafe and had a Chocacino (choccy cappachino) and a mousse cake. Check out the design that went in to the chocacino..! And the drink came with some biscuits shaped as letters and you can see i managed to spell out my mood but the coffee and cake was just the pick me up i needed!
Back to you car lovers... on my way home in the tuk tuk infront i see a brand new Nissan Skyline GT in Matt Black.... nice.
From technology at its most modern to the crappiest looking aircon machine i have seen yet but what makes this stand out that bit more, other than the nailed on chipboard front, is the sign at the top, which you may not be able to see, but which says 'Scientific Air Cleaner...
Next is Bangkok Lumaphong train station just before i got the sleepr train, a very old but cool, large dome style station
Love to you all
PS... a big hello, good luck and to a new and exciting time for my cousin Jess who has moved to Boston, USA for a high flying new job... chuffed and excited for you and can't wait to hear all about it. x