Days 248 – 250 (Mon 13th
– Wed 15th
My taxi arrived prompt at 2am, I was slightly flagging by this stage though wishing I’d had that nap I was considering. I was glad the roads were quiet as the driver went berserk. There was no holding him back, weaving in and out of what traffic there was and flying through intersections. The last few miles approach to the airport reminded me of a track on Gran Turismo 3 from the old playstation 2 game. It was class although not sure the driver had the skills for it. I got there in one piece anyways and as per India, he stood with his hand out asking for a tip. I declined and headed inside.
I struggled to stay awake after checking in, in the departure lounge and luckily my flight was called early. Got on the plane and the nodding dogs started, this lasted pretty much until the descent into Bangkok. On arrival in my usual Bangkok hostel, I went straight to sleep and slept the afternoon away. In the evening I did very little apart from chat to a lad who was there the previous
time I was, not that I’d remembered but the Everton shirt I was wearing stood out for him.
On the Tuesday I did some wandering, mainly pointless wandering with no set agenda. I just like to roam the streets in the chance I may find something interesting or different. It was very hot and very humid so this only lasted maybe 2-3 hours. I did find the river taxi’s which I’d not used the previous times here. 15 Baht (30p) to go as far as you like up or down the river so I gave it a whirl and had a bit of a cruise. It’s a nice way to see all the huge new posh hotels as well as some nice original architecture like the fort and some Buddhist shrines and temples. It’s also a decent way to cool down a bit although the boats can get incredible overloaded, it’s still good fun and better than taking a taxi or tuk tuk for sure. I spent my evening in the cinema watching Iron Man 3D. It was the first film I’d seen in 3D and it was very good. The prices for movies here is considerably cheaper than
home and far more comfortable and enjoyable.
Wednesday was spent again pretty much wandering the streets like a stray dog. I headed back to Khao San Road district, the backpacker area, for a walk and then on to the Golden Mount which I’d visited back in December one day very hungover. This time I was fresh and with my camera for pictures. It’s a good spot to see out over the city without having to pay £20-£30 to go up to hotel bar, and cheaper is better for me. I also took in the Democracy monument and a few other Buddhist spots. I once again caught the river taxi back to near where I was staying, then maybe a 10 minute walk to the hostel.
Days 251 – 262 (Thurs 16th
– Mon 27th
May) Siem Reap
The past 12 days I have spent in Siem Reap in Cambodia. This is my 3rd
time of visiting Cambodia now. I went back to see my girlfriend Vichet and her family as I have a month planned for Indonesia and needed a break. I made it into a sort of holiday from a holiday. I
really did do very little.
The trip there takes around 10-11 hours and I met some other people at the border to get a taxi to Siem Reap with. This is only marginally more expensive than the bus and way quicker also dropping off at the destination so very handy. I got to my hostel, where an American guy was sat at the bar, he was the only person there that day so was glad I turned up. I got sorted and joined him for a drink. I then went out to meet Vichet’s sisters and cousins and we went out for the night with the American guy. Everyone ended up a mess, with one notable performance being Hena passing out and being ill under the table, very classy.
The next few days we took far easier, relaxing during the day and playing some pool in the evening in my guesthouse. I’ve seen all the sights here before so didn’t feel the need to revisit the temples etc.
The Sunday night was the last night of the premiership season so I made sure we were in the right bar at the right time to watch it after
grabbing food. We lost the game but I ended up that drunk that the next morning I thought we’d drawn it. I was certain, until I turned my computer and it hit home that we’d lost. I also ended up spending a lot of time on the dance floor which shows the levels of drunkenness.
During the midweek I pretty much spent the mornings in bed, roamed around the streets in the afternoon, even taking in a gym session at one point, which left me tired for 4 days. I wanted to go more than once but having not done any weights or anything in about a year I was ruined. I have also noticed my pure strength and fitness on the cardio machines is rubbish, although I am nearly 2 stone lighter than when I left, I think my muscle strength has gone with it. Hopefully when I get to Australia I will have a chance to change this and get fit, as it was a poor showing.
The evenings were generally spent playing pool with the girls, obviously me winning mainly as I take no prisoners and don’t let up for anybody. We also spent a
lot of time in and around Pub Street and the alleys that run from it, either eating the local Khmer food or sampling in a few pitchers of Anchor smooth. It’s hard not too when it is so cheap.
My final weekend’s activities, generally being very little, centred around the Monaco F1 and the Champions League final, I made sure I was free to be watching those as I had satellite tv in my room, which is always a nice thing to have.
After my 12 days there I said goodbye to Vichet and the girls for now, and booked my bus to head back to Bangkok, to fly onwards to Jakarta, Indonesia in a couple of days and begin being a traveller again. I feel refreshed after some time away from moving every few days and ready to see what a new country has to offer me.
Days 263 – 265 (Tues 28th
– Thurs 30th
I spent Tuesday making my way back to Bangkok; this is around a 3 hour bus to the border, an hour or so crossing the border and then 4-5 hours into Bangkok depending
on traffic. I made it back to my hostel around 6pm after leaving at 8am, a nice 10 hours later. This day was a write off and I just got some tea in the evening and did little else.
Wednesday I first got my hair cut which was an experience in itself. I went to a salon place a few doors from my hostel, there were a few school boys in there so I figured they at least cut guys hair as well, so went in. They didn’t really speak English but I got my point across I wanted a haircut. I was then taken over to some sinks and sat down. I was made to lean back and my hair was cleaned, not once but twice, it was also then conditioned. This seemed odd to me as I was getting pretty much all of it cut off, seemed a waste. It was done and dried anyways and I was sat in front of a mirror, afro all over the place. A girl then put a towel on my neck and shoulders and proceeded to massage me for a good 20 minutes. It was pretty nice and totally unexpected.
After this the hairdresser, off which there only seemed to be 1 or 2, and about 6 girls washing and massaging, brought an Ipad out and flicked through some photo’s. The first one was fine enough for me so went with that. Got cut and then cleaned again, a final couple minute massage and I was done. This took a good hour in total and cost 200 Baht (£4.50) Don’t get service like that at home.
I went back and got changed then headed straight out to the river taxi. Went 8 stops upstream and went to the Siriraj Medical Museum. I’d seen this on an Idiot Abroad and also a guy in India mentioned it a few weeks ago. I meant to go my last time here but forgot so went this time. It’s an incredibly strange place, with human corpses of serial killers in fluid to keep them sort of in one piece, also foetuses of still born babies as well as miscarriages and also kids that died soon after birth with deformities and the like. There were also skulls, hearts, lungs, livers, every bit of the body you could think off with evidence of gun shots,
stabbings, burns etc. It was an amazing place but not one for the faint hearted. Unfortunately, nearly all the text was in Thai but you can get the jist of the place from just looking around. There was also a display about the 2005 Tsunami and the methods they used to discover identities of the bodies. It was a very interesting if not eerie place. At one point I was in a room of baby foetuses, skulls and bones and was the only person there. It’s not wide open either, everything is pretty close to you. Was a bit unnerving to say the least.
After this I needed some light entertainment. After checking online I figured I could make 2 films at the cinema, so straight back out, got some food and watched Fast and the Furious 6 (Crackers but overall enjoyable if not daft) and The Great Gatsby (good story and well acted out) before heading back to my hostel around midnight.
Thursday I once again decided on the cinema as I was flying out in the evening so needed something to do in an air con environment as I didn’t fancy a 3 odd hour flight
all sweaty. I watched the Hangover 3 which is mental but very funny, far better than the previous one. I finished the film, picked up my stuff and headed straight to the airport. I did however get a dodgy taxi. The meter was moving incredibly quickly upwards, so when I pointed it out, the guy stopped talking to me in English and the meter started working normally. It was quiet the rest of the journey while I eagle eyed the meter to make sure I wasn’t being fiddled. Taxi’s in Thailand are normally very good and honest, but obviously not this time. He got no tip thats for sure.
My flight was 3 hrs 30 minutes to Jakarta, I picked up a visa on arrival for $25 and went through immigration and customs. I was the only white person there as per usual. I was soon spotted by a taxi driver. We agreed a fee, slightly more than the hostel says it should be, but it was 1am and I was glad to get going. There was some terrible music on the radio and at one point the driver asked if I knew the song. I didn’t but turned
out to be A1, a name I’d not heard since the 90’s and they were useless then. No doubt they’ve reformed like every other 90’s band recently.
I got to my hostel, checked in and went straight to bed after a quick shower. The bed was the softest I’ve ever slept in and was lovely, just what I needed.
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