Thursday 22nd May – Bangkok

On the Thursday I was actually feeling much better.  And who said McDonalds isn’t good for you?  I got some breakfast, they do great fruit with yoghurt and muesli at the street stalls, and wandered around a few shops.  There are a lot of street stalls here selling weird and wonderful fare.  There’s the expected food, clothes and souvenir stalls and also some stalls with truly strange things like lighters the size of a small child.  There are also tribal women who sell hats, jewellery and these wooden frogs which, when you move a small piece of wood along their backs, make this sound like a toad.  At first they are quite sweet but after a few days the sound drives you mad.  It’s one of those sounds which you’re never quite sure whether you’re actually hearing or whether it has driven you that mad that it’s in your head.  Well, that or it is an actual toad!


One of the things I wanted to do in Bangkok was get some clothes and shoes made.  I went into one tailor and spent ages looking through pictures and materials.  I felt kind of obliged to look at at least one other in order to suss out the competition but, having had half the tailors in Bangkok try and imprison me in their premises whilst offering me lower and lower prices (to the extent that I wondered whether the prices quoted were actually for dolls clothes), I actually returned to the first tailor I went to.  Prior to this, when I was wandering around near Khao San Road I heard someone say my name and it was Renee, a guy from Holland who I met in Vang Viang, Laos.  It was cool to see him again and we went for a drink in a local cafe.  When we met in Vang Viang I had a really long chat to him and it transpired that he thought he was immune from hangovers.  When probed further it transpired that the immunity wasn’t so much immunity but lack of sobriety for long enough for anything resembling a hangover to take effect.  I offered him some advice about the best fruit juices etc to cleanse the system and suggested he have some time not drinking and actually eating.  It’s amazing how good I am at giving advice whilst drinking a bucket full of gin and tonic!  I did apologise for the irony on more than one occasion.  Anyway, the point of telling you this is that when I met him at the bowling alley in Luang Phabang he bounced up to me and was really excited to tell me that he had not had a drink for several days, had tried the juices I suggested and felt really good.  Then, when I met him here in Bangkok he said that he had been telling loads of people about the and I quote, “Dietician” he had met.  I swear at no point did I even insinuate I was a dietician, honsetly!  So, I’m left with this conundrum of whether to tell him the truth and perhaps either shatter his complete belief in my astounding knowledge or upset him, or just keep schtum and smile.  I possibly should have done the latter but, as always, the truth prevails.  Thankfully he had some distant drunken recollection of what I actually used to do so it was all okay.  I do wander how I get into these kind of conversations with people.  Well I guess as they say, you can take the girl out of Probation, but……………… 


So, after my caffeine fix with Renee I went back to the first tailors and decided on a horrendous number of items.  I plumped for two pairs of jeans (one cropped), a pair of black dress trousers, a pair of grey trousers, a white corset type top, a cream belt-up shirt, a brown sleeved going out type top, a silver halter-neck and a beautiful turquoise dress which I drew for them.  Hmmm, not sure how interested anyone is in that but it excites me!  After a lengthy process of going through each design, picking materials and being measured I actually managed to get out of the shop.


In the evening Elisha was at some Jewish do where they had a big barbeque and celebration.  I actually got a bit miffed that I wasn’t Jewish as they provide all these exciting free things.  Elisha said that I should come along but after having already made a complete plum of myself to the Rabbi the previous night I thought better of it.  I decided to head down Khao San road for some more obligatory shopping and people watching and as I was heading back to meet Elisha at the end of his do it started to hammer it down with rain.  Unless you have seen rain in places with proper wet seasons or monsoons it is truly hard to describe how hard the rain actually is.  This was actually a -very- long, very hard session as well.  It hasn’t rained as hard since.  All of the street sellers started busying about desperately pulling covers over their fare.  Everyone rushed for cover into bars with awnings and shops.  The rain was so heavy that the road turned into a river and at the end very nearly flowed over onto the pavements.  I was sat in the doorway of a shop (not to be confused with a shop doorway -hey I keep telling you, I’m a classy girl don’t ya know) along with several staff and one of their children.  The young boy was actually really cute and, when his mother made him a really rubbish boat to float down the road-river which promptly sank, I made him a much better one which he was delighted with.  He also kept doing this thing of nicking all the hairclips out of his mother’s hair and she was doing this thing where she pretended she hadn’t noticed and then feigning shock and concern when all her hair fell everywhere.  He found it hilarious and, in all fairness, so did I.  One thing which wasn’t quite so cute, or maybe it was, was the small boy when I had a cigarette.  I got up and went further out to smoke and he ran into the shop, grabbed several no smoking stickers and then started pointing at me smoking and then pointing at the sign and shaking his head.  What was worse was when he went and got a pile of anti-smoking leaflets.  He got one, brought it over and started showing me pictures of lovely smoking related illnesses.  You know, the really nice pictures of blackened lungs and lips which look more like bulbous vegetables than lips any more.  The best bit about his little crusade was that after showing me each picture he would then point and touch my various body part.  God, thank God smoking doesn’t give you STIs!  He thought this whole thing was hilarious, as did all the staff, and, in all fairness, it did make me put my cigarette out about half way down.


The one thing which was horrible about the rain shower was the animals – and I’m not talking pets here, more pests!  After a bit of rain cockroaches started to crawl out of all of the drains and other crevices which filled with water.  And I am not talking one or two cockroaches here.  It was like the biblical swarm of locusts or something.  Although obviously not flying, Thank GOD, oh my God can you imagine?  Anyway, it was disgusting and at one point, after getting annoyed at lots of women being all girly ranging from going “EEeeeew” to leaping about like their gucci thongs were on fire, I did exactly the same as one ran up my leg!


When the rain calmed down slightly (and I do mean slightly – it was still a hell of a lot heavier than any rain I’d seen in England) some people got bored, rolled their trousers up and traversed the river-road.  This added to my amusement in terms of watching as people lost flip flops, caught their shoes etc.  I was about to do the same thing (as in cross the river-road not lose my shoes – although that may have been an unwanted consequence) until, that is, a dead rat floated past and I thought better of it.  I was actually pretty repulsed by this, that is until it floated past another group of girls obviously wearing the aforementioned flaming Gucci thongs!


When the rain eventually lessened enough and the river began to drain and resemble a road once more I headed off to try and find Elisha.  It was actually quite a lot later than his event was meant to have finished and I don’t know if it was because it was shut but I couldn’t find the place for love nor money.  So I gave up and headed back to the guesthouse.  Elisha came back slightly later and, having convinced me for some time, we headed out for a few drinks on Khao San Road.

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