Tuesday, 25 January 2011

I will be your wingman

Sawat dii khrap from Chiang Mai, north Thailand.

First thing to say is I love the Thai language. For politeness you end every sentence with the word khrap if you are a male. I get to say Khrap to people about 20 times a day - oh the small pleasures I take from life!

So after my last post I spent my final night in Pattaya, I had to get out of there, it was not good for my health or my wallet. My final night was the same as all of the rest - out at 8pm, drink, party and get in at a ridiculous hour.
I finally surfaced at about 2pm the next day and decided that I should be off. So I got myself off to the bus station knowing that I wanted to get to Kanchanaburi because it would be a little more peaceful than my current location.
There was no direct route so it was back to Bangkok for a quick change to another bus to Kanchanaburi. I arrived at 9pm and set about finding a place to stay. Walking around I was pleased to see that it was definitely quieter than Pattaya, but there were still lots of attractive Thai girls in bars beckoning me in! Oh no!
That night I just got a bite to eat and then went to bed to catch up on some much needed sleep.

My reason for visiting Kanchanaburi is that it is the home of the Bridge over the River Kwai. The next day I took a stroll down to the bridge, which isn't that impressive but it is obviously what it represents that is important, with the intention of getting onto the 'Death Railway' and riding along the tracks that the POW's laid all those years ago.
It is called the Death Railway because over 100,000 POW's died during its 2 year construction. An unbelivable number. What is worse, some of them died from attacks by wild animals like tigers - talk about thinking that your situation couldn't get much worse. You are starving, you are a prisoner, your comrades are dying around you from heat, exhaustion, malaria and torture and then after all of that a tiger sneaks up and takes a massive lump out of you!

As I had had a good lay in, I missed the train for that day so was left to wonder around and check out the Death Railway Gallery and Museum - which was truly boring. The best bit was a wall with all of Thailand's beauty queens painted on it from the 1930's to present day - how random.
When I got back to my hotel there was an Oz family moved in next door. Well half of the family. Apparently the 3 sisters had had a massive argument, so the dad and 2 of the girls moved in next to me, and the mum and the other daughter were elsewhere.
It soon became apparent that I would not be spending my time with them. The were full on Bogans (gypo's for us pommies!).
The old man was a alchy and his obese 21 yr old daughter was following his lead. What was worse was that she had lots and lots of scars down her arms and legs - evidently a self harmer. I wanted to no part of her world to be in mine. I talked to them until I had done so for long enough so that it would not be rude for me to leave. I made sure that I didn't see them again.
That night I was missing the party so I thought I would make up for it. Actually, I was walking past a bar and a prostitute who looked like a Thai version of Missy Elliott dragged me in. She was all over me in a second, which was not to my liking. But I had a drink and thought I would use her attention to my advantage; so I got out my Thai guide book and had a little language lesson. After I had learnt all of the words I would need for the rest of my stay in Thailand I kicked her ass at pool and Connect 4.
By this time I had had a few beers and Missy would still not leave me alone. Fortunately, I spotted a group of girls that were laughing at my predicament and used that as an excuse to invite myself over. The 3 girls were from Finland, and it continues to amaze me how good everybody elses English is from different countries.
So the party continued at the pub, then back at their place - a lovely room floating on the river itself, and I finally got into my own bed at 5am.
Not bad after only planning to have 1 beer.
The next day I rose at some hour close to midday and realised I had missed the Death Railway train again. My only option was to take a local bus to the other end of the line and then catch the train back to Kanchanaburi, which I did.
What is worth it? In one word - NO! It was just a standard train journey like every other one. The scenary wasn't particularly spectacular and there wasn't much to look at. Still, full respect to the POW's that managed to build the line that ran all the way to Burma.
That night I just had a nice dinner and retired early as the Finnish girls had departed earlier that day.

The following day I took another local bus and headed to Erawan National Park and in particular the Erawan Waterfall - a 7 tiered waterfall that you climb 1.5kms up to its peak and can swin in the pools of clear blue water.
It was a beautiful location and by the time I had got to the summit my sweat glands were telling me it was time for a swim. I then realised that there was no private area for me to change into my swimming shorts, so I made my way over to a sort of secluded area and did my best not to scare anyone whilst changing under my towel that in all fairness was way too small.
As I made my way back to my bag with my clothes neatly folded I slippped on a rock. My neatly folded clothes were now drenched neatly folded clothes! What can you do? I just had to laugh and lay them out on the sun and hope that they would dry asap.
I got into the water, which wasn't too cold and took in my surroundings. My surroundings were lots more attractive Russian women (nice) and big burly Russian wrestler type men (not so nice). As I was admiring the women I felt something sharpish on my leg; thinking it was some sort of plant I moved about but it kept clinging on. I then realised that it wasn't a plant, it was a big bloody fish feasting on my skin. It freaked me out at first but then I got my composure back and remembered that I had wanted to try a fish foot massage. Here was my chance and it was for free. So I stood there for about 15mins whilst about 4 fish had a wonderful serving of 'leg of Lamb'.

Eventually I made my way back down to the exit of the national park, slipping on more rocks and now wearing still damp boxers.
I got back to Kanchanaburi at about 15:30pm and thought I would pop into the train station to see what my options were as I wanted to move on. Turns out there was a train back to Bangkok and then one onto Chaing Mai (my current location) leaving that night. Problem was it left in 30 mins, so I made a quick dash back to the hotel, got my bag and made the train with time to spare.

The train from Bangkok to Chaing Mai would take 15hours but because I had booked so late there were no beds left. My only option was a second class air conditioned seat. Actually it wasn't as bad as it sounds and I managed to get about 6hrs kip, which was more than enough. I sat next to a fairly attractive girl but she didn't seem to want to talk and because she was reading a German book and my German is scheisse we didn't actually communicate for the entire journey! 15 hrs!!!

So here I am in Chiang Mai. I eventually found a decent hotel in the old part of the city and went for a little look around. No sooner had I been there and I ran into a group of people that I had met 2 months previously in Darjeeling, India. I knew that they were in Thailand but no way expected to run into them. So I hung out with them for the afternoon and they invited me to a Reggae festival that was going on out of town that evening. Perfect - my first night in a new place and I have 3 Irish lads and 2 Danish girls to get drunk with.
The festival itself was a lot of fun. There was only one stage but the music was good and the atmosphere was buzzing. I think it was buzzing because they put stuff in your drinks! I honestly did not drink too much but no way did I feel myself and knew that something was amiss. However, no point freaking out about it, I embraced the feeling and got down and dirty to some top reggae vibes.
Another nice conicedence to happen to me that day was to find that in amongst a few thousand people I was dancing directly behind Rachael. I knew she was in this part of Thailand but was not sure if she was still in Chiang Mai; well now I knew.
Everybody danced well into the night and I eventually got back to my room at about 5am.

Yesterday I did nothing. I still wasn't feeling 100% from whatever it was I had drunk at the festival and it wasn't until about 5pm that I felt normal again (well as normal as I am ever going to be - so not normal by most people's standards).
I met up with Rachael and the guys that she is staying with at her hostel for another night out. All of the people I met through Rachael are really nice and up for a good time. 2 of the lads are from Nottingham and Bromley respectively. Of all the people I could meet, I meet 2 lads, 1 from the city next to my own and the other 15 mins down the road from where I lived in London for 7 yrs. Very very small world.
We met at a bar called the 'Warm Up Bar'. The great thing about this place is that it is where the Thai students hang out and we were the only westerners in there apart from about 4 others. On top of the great live music and nightclub it also turned out to be graduation night for the uni students.
At one point myself, Rachael and a girl called Stacy were walking through the nightclub section and this guy started talking to me. Afterwards the girls commented that he had just groped them as they walked past and there you were chatting to him. I made them feel better by telling them that as he spoke to me, he groped me too, which he had done!!!
The place was heaving with Thai's in celebratory mood.
This brings me onto the title of this post. I cannot get over how beautiful Thai women are, they are simply stunning (sounding like Jeremy Carkson describing any Ferrari).
We all know what being a wingman in England entails - one of you has to take the fall and entertain the fat, ugly or fat AND ugly bird whilst your mate gets the fit one. Nobody likes to do it, but your mates are your mates so you have to.
In Thailand, no drama. If you want to take the fit one I will happily talk to your mate, why?, because she might actually be better. Oh, there are 2 lads in the front of the queue, that's ok, I will talk to the third girl because guess what? I can't decide if she isn't the best one or not. And so it continues.....
I have no idea what happened to the genetics of Britain, but I am definitely over English women (with a few certain exceptions), I could easily see myself with a Thai woman - and not one that I have to pay for!!!
Harsh I know, so please forgive me, but they are beautiful. Maybe it is the sun?

After Warm Up bar the girls went home so it was just the lads moving onto Fabric nightclub. The place was electric too and everybody was in the party mood.
I have just told you about all of the Thai women and my views of them, so it is only fitting that I tell you about some of the attention I got at Fabric. I can't remember HIS name but he was as camp as you like. Why why why does this happen to me? That is the last time I use Thai language and tell a gay guy that it is nice to meet him, he loved it.
The rest of the lads disappeared at some point that I don't remember so I was left chatting to some Thai girls about this and that.
All of a sudden the girl who sat next to me on the train appeared. She saw me and came straight up to me and apologised for not talking to me. So she wasn't a mute afterall, and she was French, not German. So we spent the rest of the night talking back and forth, me with my crap French and her with her perfect English.

In the end it was time for home and I decided to walk. Why I decided to walk when I had no clue at all where I was is beyond me, but off I set.
I managed to get some directions and when I saw the walls to the old city I was very pleased with myself that I had made it.
I popped into the 7 Eleven for a snack before the final stretch. I love 7 Eleven, they really are a drunk man's best friend. They are open 24/7 (so no idea why they are called 7/11) and you can get whatever it is that you desire at 5:30am when you are p*ssed. You want a pot noodle, you got it (they have hot water too); you want a ham and cheese toasty, here have one, you want an assortment of sausages from chilli, to wrapped in bacon, to ones filled with cheese, here you go, get your gob around that. I love it!

Part of the reason I went into the 7 Eleven was due to the fact that a prostitute kept hassling me for some 'fun'. I don't know why, but a prostitute hassling me whilst she is on her moped is hillarious. She was the one kerb crawling!
She would not take no for answer but I stuck to my guns. Besides when I saw her under a street light I couldn't be sure if she was in fact a bird or not.
Because I was disorientated from the beginning and now from outrunning the he/she I failed to notice that once I had past through the city walls into the old city that I was not actually in the old city at all. It was another 30 mins walking until I realised to my horror that I had not entered the old city, I had in fact left it. I was heading west into the unknown and give it a few more hours walking and I would've got to Burma (seriously).
So I had to cave in and get a cab. By the time the drama was over I got into bed at 6:30am this morning.

Today I again have just mooched around. I did manage to get some prices for trekking so the day after tomorrow myself and Rachael will embark upon a 3 day trek which includes elephant rides, visiting hill tribes and rafting down the rivers. All of that, plus food for about 20 quid.
I also visited the Wat Phrung Singh which I have to say is probably one of the best temples I have been to so far on my travels. I was dubious about going to see another temple but I am very happy that I did this one.

On the walk back I noticed a sign for the 'Prawn Legal Office'. Excuse me, the what?
Immediately I had visions of little prawns turning up at the office complaining about their rights, something along the lines of 'No more prawn cocktails!, this is not a 1980's English dinner party and we are teaming up with the Black Forest Gatteau to say NO MORE!!!'. Or something like that.
So that is that, you are up to date. I will be back out tonight with Rachael and the gang and will see if the Irish crew want to go to the zoo tomorrow.
I am still loving travelling even though I got lost for the very first time in 3 months last night.
I am also reading 'Notes from a small island' by Bill Bryson at the minute and it is really funny. I keep laughing out loud in restuarants. I recommend that you all read it - an American's view of England and the English. It also made me quite emotional reading about 'home' but have no fear, I am not coming back just yet.

As after though, I wonder what they would've thought at the Burmese border if I had turned up asking if they knew where the VS Hotel was?

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