Day 214 (Tues 9th
I had a 6am start this morning, well a 5am wakeup call. I got picked up by a tuk tuk and taken to a hostel where a mini bus turned up soon after to take us to the border. This took around 3 hours, the border crossing being a lot more speedy than the reverse trip last Tuesday. I was approached by a bloke offering a minibus to Bangkok, after chatting for a minute or 2 decided to go with him as even though it was a little more expensive than the bus I was told it was straight through, with no messing about and a drop off point. Quite often this is all lies to get business but for once I went with it and all worked out fine. I was back in Bangkok and at my hostel by 2pm which was perfect, giving me a break for 2 hours before heading back out.
Around half past 3 I got the light rail to the north of the city. I then hopped on a shuttle bus when I found it to a place called the Impact Centre, a huge shopping complex that
is on the outskirts of the city. Here I met a friend of my Dad’s who was in town. He had told me about football that was on that night so never one to miss an opportunity to watch sports headed out. We grabbed some food in the Irish bar and then walked around the corner to the match.
The match itself was of reasonable quality. It was an Asian Champions league game between Muangthong United of Thailand and Guangzhou Everglade of China. The home crowd sung throughout even whilst getting a hammering. The game ended 4-1 to the Chinese. Muangthong are the ‘Manchester United’ of Thai football, won the title the previous few seasons and have all the money, they also attempt to be the same in every aspect from colour of shirts, to songs and also team nickname. They however are not anywhere near as good.
We headed back into town after this to have a drink, we took a quick walk through Soi Cowboy, an area of Bangkok maybe 100 metres long with numerous bars on each side, there must be 40 or 50 easy. Each one has Texan Cowboy style girls outside offering the
usual things they do here. They aren’t too annoying like they can be in other places which makes the walk through not too painful. We had a drink in a British pub around the corner and then I headed back to my hostel.
Day 215 (Wed 10th
First thing this morning I headed back to the VFS Indian Visa office to re-submit my passport. As I took it with me last week to go back to Cambodia I had to obviously hand it back in again for my visa to be granted. After this I went back to the hostel and got back into bed. I had no plans so figured I might as well.
I woke up maybe 3 hours later not feeling very well. I had a banging headache as well as starting to suffer from a fever. I was going from hot to cold very quickly and it was doing my head in. With no plans I decided more bed was in order. I popped over to the 7/11 to get some paracetamol to cure my head but this failed miserably.
I did nothing with the rest of
the day except to try and get better, this however did not happen.
Days 216 – 218 (Thurs 11th
– Sat 13th
The past 3 days I have summed up into one report as I’ve done pretty much nothing. I went into the visa office on Thursday afternoon still feeling like death and after being caught in a mental thunderstorm wasn’t feeling any better about things. I was told my passport had not been delivered as it was raining which is a belter of an excuse. I managed to get there so there is no reason someone in a car or mototaxi delivering the passports couldn’t. I went back to the hostel to resume my meeting with my bed. I took more pain killers but these were starting to have further affects being upsetting my stomach, my back and neck were also starting to ache at this point.
On Friday I got my passport back, visa all sorted at last and I went back to hostel to relax for a couple hours. Early afternoon I met up with my mate Greg, a lad who now works in Bangkok but I went to
high school with. I haven’t seen him since maybe 2005 since school so was good to have a catch up. We grabbed some lunch and spent the afternoon wandering around a number of Bangkok’s malls as they have air con and it was really hot out. My fever and headache’s had pretty much subsided by now but my neck was so stiff I couldn’t turn it and my back very nearly collapsed on a visit to the bathroom. My body felt completely broken. It’s pretty lucky I was on a lazy week as if I had things to do I’d have been in serious problems. Myself and Greg spent around 5 hours catching up and then I headed back to the hostel covered in tiger balm to try and relieve my neck pain.
I woke up on Saturday feeling better, my neck and back were improved although still sore but I was feeling far better about things. I was online chatting to my mate Dave, who I’ve templed visited and drank heavily with in Siem Reap in mid March online and we were both in Bangkok so decided to meet up. We picked a MRT station and a time.
I headed there at the time and so did Dave but somewhere along the lines we obviously ended up waiting in different places, both assuming the place we were was the correct one. After an hour passed I headed back to the hostel. It was quite annoying that we never got the chance to meet up as we had a good time in Cambodia together, but I was in no state for a session and I know that’s what Dave ended up having, so I avoided having the temptation. I spent the evening in my hostel to avoid Songkran going on in the streets.
Songkran is the massive water fight that happens in Thailand around the 13th
and following days every year to celebrate in the New Year. This is normally something I’d be up for although it does seem a bit of a daft event. After one bucket of water one is wet so after that one can’t get wetter so heads home and gets changed. At least in India at something like Holi and the coloured flour they get covered in you can change colour throughout the day etc and seems more interesting to me. Having been
ill I decided it was a decent idea to stay clear of this so stayed indoors. I spent the evening watching Liverpool on the tv so once I was bored stupid I headed to bed.
Day 219 (Sun 14th
I lingered around the hostel today after doing a bit of shopping for a few pieces I needed. I then followed the formula 1 on the computer before heading out to Don Mueang Airport. I was to fly to Chennai in India, formally Madras. Check in was amusing, mainly for the fact that I reckon every other Indian person checking in was also checking in a 40 inch minimum flat screen tv. Now I have no idea what was going on here, why this was happening but I imagine the guys loading the stuff onto the plane thought they were working for Samsung. This seemed very odd to me.
The flight was fine and then I arrived. I realised on the plane that I had no money in my account and needed to get online to transfer some. On arrival in Chennai I then found out nowhere had wifi. This was a problem,
I managed to get a price for a taxi and off we went. I got him to stop at an ATM to have a look at my account. I had just enough to cover a taxi and my room for the night luckily, so I could get online and transfer some money. The hotel was pretty horrible and the room wasn’t ready, this being 11pm at night, also 2 doors down there were 8 men in a room having a curry sleepover it seemed, there were also various old gentlemen walking around in just towels. I soon got into my room and locked the door and went to sleep, I wanted out soon as possible.
Day 220 (Mon 15th
I woke up and checked out, headed to the bus stop I was told to. The bus turned up, I asked the driver if it was the right one, he shook his head and drove off, whilst another passenger waved at me to say no, go away. Hello India. I was not feeling it at all. I headed back to the hotel and asked them to book me a taxi, he quoted me a
price, way more than it should be but I said ok and sat down. 30 mins later I was getting fed up, I asked again and was told they didn’t order it because they thought I wasn’t going to pay it. The place was run by complete idiots. The guy arrived in a string vest to drive me into town, he spoke no English but tried anyways, which just frustrated me. We got there in the end after asking at least 5 people for directions and I checked in. My new room was actually worse than the last one, my bed also being maybe 5 foot 6 inches max so my feet would have to be off the side, great!
I was in close proximity to the Chennai cricket ground which is my sole reason for being in India, the follow the IPL for a month or so, I have no other interest in India apart from to see the Taj Mahal and eat the food. I headed off to the ground to buy a ticket for tonights game. I asked the security guards where I could get one from, they said maybe gate 3. I started walking that
A guy on a motorbike (Johnson, I struggle to believe that’s his real name) pulled up and stopped me, asking if I worked for Chennai Super Kings (CSK). Maybe it was because I was in all sports wear and being white he must of thought I was part of the staff. Obviously this is not the case and I told him that, I said I was after a ticket. He made a couple calls which looked promising then it fell through. I told him they’d said gate 3 to me so I hopped on his bike and he drove me round, I bought my ticket and that was sorted. He then took me for a spin along the promenade of the beach, this apparently being the longest/biggest beach in the world. From the promenade to the sea is easily over 100 metres, huge beach. He was off to the cinema and I wanted food so we went to the mall and I got my first Indian food, chicken biryani with rice, side serving of more chicken, other bits and a drink, 200 rupees (£2.50) an absolute bargain. He then guided me the way back to my hotel. I
went back got changed and headed to the match. Johnson was a class act, we sat down whilst I ate and had a chat etc. He gave me his number so if I can be bothered to get a sim card will get in touch, the likelihood of me paying for a sim card to do that are not so high though. Maybe I’ll bump into him at the cricket.
The match was good and the atmosphere unreal. It was sit where you like so plenty of people moved about. One guy sat in front of me at one point was dancing bollywood style every single ball, if a boundary was scored he was on the chairs giving it absolute beans. I’ve not seen that at home before and I spent most the match laughing away. The fans are brilliant, it certainly adds something to the game.
After this I wandered back to my hotel past many many cows and people asleep in the middle of roads, and these are busy roads, with people lying asleep on the sides of them, while a cow eats away at what little belongings they have left. It’s a weird set up here. The place is very dirty and very poor. I am hoping all of India isn’t as depressing as here, otherwise it’ll be a long month. Off to Bangalore for some more cricket tomorrow.
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