Apologies if you are getting bored of reading about Bangkok, even I must admit that it is growing tedious writing about the same place. Things that were new and exciting have become commonplace for us now on our third visit to the city after almost a month spent here. With all that said it in no way detracts from the fact we have had a massively enjoyable time here (we wouldn’t of spent so much time here if that wasn’t the case) but as is the danger when you are travelling without time limits, you can get stuck in one place a little longer than is healthy. The truth is that we are both now ready to leave the city on good terms before our stay exceeds the limits of comfort and our departure is an all together more fractious break up.
On our journey back from Hua Hin we where joined by both my Mom who has since returned home safely to the UK and Rene who we have left in Bangkok, with the hopes we will meet again in Cambodia, Vietnam of further afield. Wanting to show my Mom as much of the city as possible, while accommodating her wish to do some temple spotting we headed off as soon as we could in the direction of Wat Pho, hoping to make the most of the half day she would have here. Unfortunately the temples lie in the part of the city not served by any of the metro services and thinking the long journey down the Chao Praya on the ferry would take too long we hopped in a taxi – first mistake. Don’t travel by car in Bangkok, we know this already but for some reason on this day we chose to ignore our brains and chose comfort at the expense of time. We didn’t tell Mom what to expect when we arrived at Wat Pho so it was nice to see her expression of shock and awe when we turned the corner and were confronted by the mammoth 40metre long reclining Buddha, despite the throngs of tourists far more interested in snapping pictures than experiencing its wonder. To escape the crowds we headed to Lohar Prasat in the hopes of catching evening prayers, which was a special experience the first time round for us as described in Pt. I. Sadly we had missed the monks but it was nice to walk around with almost the entire complex to ourselves. Later on we headed to Khao San Rd. to grab a drink before stopping at MBK for some last minute shopping. The next morning I accompanied Mom to the airport to wish her farewell and a safe journey home.
We spent most of the next day trapped in the maze that is MBK technology market, anything and everything that contains a circuit board can be altered, fixed or bought somewhere here in the flashing narrow streets of this silicon chaos. Our mission was to get our phones unlocked which we managed in just an hour! Unbelievably even here I was unable to find a case for my iPod classic despite the masses of iPhone case shops, it seems that at the grand age of 22 I have been left in the wake of technology destined to become old school (or perhaps no one carries around a decent music collection anymore.)
We decided a day of rest was in order, because getting up whenever you feel like it and deciding what to do with your day can be both tiring and stressful! We spent the whole day relaxing in Lumpini Park, reading and eating some delicious banana cakes we picked up at the local bakery before heading back home to an early night. We paid a visit to the snake farm the next day which I can highly recommend, especially if you can time your visit to coincide with the snake handling shows at 2:30pm which are truly amazing, if the snakes don’t impress you, the handlers exhibiting nerves of steel and more than a little bravado certainly will. Taunting the snakes into lunging at them while casually reminding the audience that the riled reptile is the most deadliest snake in Thailand and a bite will kill a human very quickly.
New Years Eve arrived and we were heading down river to visit our friend Rene for some lunch which rapidly turned into some lunch and beers.. and then cocktails (I choose the zombie of course, reminiscing fondly of blurry Aloha nights in Liverpool), we parted ways for the final time before heading back so Sarah could put her glad rags on for the big party in Central World. We bar hopped into town, managing to slip in a below par Mexican meal and then headed to the centre of town to catch the fireworks, along with the other million partygoers. It reminded me very much of last year cramming into the streets of London around the Thames, not quite catching the full firework spectacular but enjoying the vibes nonetheless. We woke up surprisingly clear headed the next day and after lounging in bed for far too long, I managed to convince Sarah to come to the cinema with me and watch The Hobbit (how did they manage to squeeze three movies out of that tiny little book) and to both mine and her surprise she thoroughly enjoyed the film. One strange fact about visiting the cinema in Thailand is the requirement for all the audience to stand up while a dramatic recital of the national anthem is played and projections of the king are played on-screen.. It’s bad form to talk about the king so I won’t go on. We arrived back to a carnival on our Soi off Silom Road. The neighbouring Hindu temple had drummers and dancers outside which finished off our day very nicely indeed (controversially I think the Thais celebrate religious festivals better than the Indians.)
So we have made the plunge today to head in the general direction of Cambodia with a stop over (or longer) in Ayutthaya, where the next blog will be posted.