Khao San Road ruins lives! Our Bangkok initiation started with getting wasted and eating deep fried creepy crawlys – namely crickets and scorpions. I passed on the scorpion but very apprehensively and quickly chewed on a deep fried cricket for the longest 10 seconds of my life – it was vile. I have a video to prove it!
After the insect incident we wandered around Khao San area for a while, being typical tourists and taking pictures of everything. We found this one bar we really liked which played decent music so we had a couple of Chang beers each (which are really nice but go straight to your head when you’ve been travelling for 24 hours and haven’t slept or eaten anything substantial) and then a couple more Chang beers, met two friendly couples, drank more Chang beers, drank a few fishbowls full of alcohol, danced a lot, sang to strangers and then travelled home by Tuk Tuk. We paid 400 Baht which is about £9. Which we now know was a rip-off; today we got a taxi from the other side of Bangkok to where we are staying in Ari and paid 170 Baht which is about £4. Lesson learned – but it was a great experience, although I can’t remember all of it, just the videos and photos I have! I don’t remember getting into the apartment. Upon waking up this morning on top of the bed with just my pants on, a head like I’d been run over by a Tuk Tuk and my mouth drier than the Sahara, I decided that Khao San Road had ruined my life! Slightly dramatic, but I felt so ill. Tom was on the sofa, he too woke up feeling ruined by Khao San. Initiation partly complete!
After a shower and a barrocca we headed out to The Grand Palace and Wat Pho. We flagged down a taxi outside the apartment and said where we wanted to go but he misunderstood and took us to a region called Lat Phrao – the other side of Bangkok to where we wanted to go. But it was our fault we weren’t saying the place with the right accent and the taxi driver was very apologetic. Even our Thai phrase boom wasn’t helping us. In the end he rang someone who spoke English and they understood where we wanted to go. Still- he dropped us off at The Grand Palace so that’s where we went first. It’s a good job really because by the time we got there it was 11am and it was shutting at 1pm for a special festival for Asarnha Bucha Day (a Buddhist festival). This also meant that The Grand Palace was full of tourists. And the heat! Wow. It’s another level – I sweat in places I didn’t know could sweat. Then the hangover – that was also another level, made worse by the heat and the taxi ride there which made me feel sick and on edge 100% of the time I was in it.
The roads in Bangkok are so busy and erratic – it literally is just every man for himself! I’ve never seen anything like it before. There are lanes but God knows what they’re for because no one seems to use them. Cars, busses, Tuk Tuks, motorbikes, mopeds, people walking through the traffic selling fruit, plucky pedestrians taking their life into their own hands by walking into oncoming traffic – it’s just madness. It’s organised chaos. When you’re actually moving that is; I think we spent 45 minutes of the hour long journey sat in traffic jams. Again – not ideal when you have a stinking hangover. The air con was appreciated though.
The Grand Palace is a very extravagant complex. I didn’t really know what to expect but I was in awe of its beautiful architecture and intricate detail, all of which is a proud salute to the creativity and craftsmanship of Thai people. It was extremely spiritual; Tom was in his element. He enjoyed Wat Pho the most though. Wat Pho is a Buddhist temple complex and it houses the Reclining Buddha, which is a spectacle in itself. Definitely worth a visit of you like that sort of stuff. Even if you don’t you will get coaxed into the atmosphere and enjoy it. Due to the fact that it was Asarnha Bucha Day there were masses of Thai people carrying out their mantra prayers inside some of the temples. It was a delight to watch and it added to the spiritual ambience along with the smell of burning incense (which the Buddhist faithful uses during meditation or prayer rituals as a sacred offering and a way to honor the Triple Gem of the Buddha, his Dharma and the Sangha).
P.s Tom’s been educating me on Buddhism today – which I appreciated but I think he got tired of me asking questions all the time hah!
So yes, today I felt very spiritual and religious. I was blessed by a monk, I carried out a Buddhist Candle ritual but I can’t tell you what it was for – probably some cleansing of some sort. I’ll take all the cleansing I can get – especially if it helps get rid of hangovers! I even meditated a little today too – it would have been rude not to really. It was very relaxing and if I get chance to meditate again I will.
After our hectic morning we came back to the apartment, FaceTimed home, had some sleep, a shower, got ready and caught the train to Sukhumvit district for a restaurant called Cabbages and Condoms. It’s a very unique restaurant and not as seedy as you’d initially think – it’s all about promoting safe sec guys! Although the light shades are made of condoms and there are mannequins dressed in a variety of condom outfits, the rest of the decor is very romantic (not for me and Tom obviously but we did feel like we were in a film) and the food is amazing! Our first Thai meal wasn’t disappointing, neither was the price. Two courses and two drinks each cost £20. After we paid the bill we were given two condoms each, instead of mints, which I thought was a nice touch.
Subsequently, we travelled back to the apartment by BTS and here I am. Still hungover. I’ve just taken two more ibuprofen and I’m drinking my 10th litre of water to try to rehydrate myself before bed. I don’t want to feel like this EVER again! Especially not whilst I’m in Thailand. But we survived the first night and full day in Bangkok and loved every minute (except the taxi journeys, wanting to throw up every 5 minutes and having a constant headache).
Let’s see what tomorrow brings!