Oh my god I can't believe it I've never been this far away from home

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November 12th 2006
Published: November 12th 2006
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View from the balcony of our first hotelView from the balcony of our first hotelView from the balcony of our first hotel

Just before the firecrackers and drums started.....

Bangkok: It's nowt like Peterlee


Having gone 36 hours with only an hours sleep between us we arrived at our hotel to find that there was a festival going on to herald our arrival. Nice eh? Sort of. Desperate for sleep after a brief excursion down the street to buy water we returned to our room at around 11 to collapse into bed. Hold on...the street festival outside our window kicks off at 12 midnight. With firecrackers, drums and dancing dragons. Great. Kinda.
Would you believe it started again at 7am??? With lots of drums??? Well it did.
When we ventured out that morning it was actually pretty amazing. Cool for the 1st trip to Asia to be greeted with dragons, drums and Buddhist monks in a procession. A bit like Easington Carnival (for those familiar - or Church parade for those not) but majorly better...
They even had little kids on the top of acrobatic stacks of people (see pics!).

We had only booked one night in the first hotel, and there werent any spare rooms for the next few because all the tigers and acrobats had to stay somewhere, and they all seemed
Floats in the processionFloats in the processionFloats in the procession

For the Chao Poh Noo Festival, celebrating a sacred image that floated along the river and stopped at Banglumpoo (where we are staying). He gives the people prosperity and trade. It happens every year but this one was the 40th anniversary.
to be staying in our hotel. So we moved on to the famous Khoa San road, backpacker capital of Asia. Found a room in the D&D Inn with en suite bathroom, balcony (although looking over the inside of the hotel) cable tv and air con for all of 750 bahts (there are 70 bahts to the pound, so thats about 10 quid). Right in the middle of the madness that it the Khao San road. It has Boots the Chemist, Macdonalds, Subway and Starbucks and lots of bars that sell Guiness and cider, lots of travel agents and tailors and the street is lined with stalls that sell all that hippy gear that you can buy at festivals, knock off cds and dvds and lots and lots of noodles. We randomly chose somewhere to get some food and it turned out to be a bloody Irish bar. You wouldnt know to be honest, except it was called Shamrocks. We had our first experience of Western men, very drunk at 2pm, with Thai girls all over them. It was weird so we left.

If you walk in the street tuk tuk drivers try and take you to lots of buddhas and temples for 10 bahts, and we got offered more giant cigarette lighters and wooden frogs than we could carry in our 65 litre backpacks. You have to be good at saying "NO" here.

We went to bars last night..and feeling a bit like we were at a festival - what with the umpteen dreadlocked people/t-shirt stalls and drunkeness - we drank too much Thai beer. It's rather strong. Being very masculine I opted for the 7.4 percent variety. To make matters worse it comes in enormous bottles. Anyway...so there we were sat outside a bar having a drink and watching the world go by when a bloke on an ice cream stall kept offering us coffees or icecream sundaes which we repeatedly declined. Then, bizarrely he offered us some dried, fried grasshoppers that he was munching.....and I accepted. I one. It tasted like crisps.
This seemed to cause some amusement and he told his friends. A lass encouraging people to have a massage then appeared and made me eat another.
At this point I was wondering if this was a cunning trick and they were really eating pork scratchings and grabbing insects from the floor...
Aw well.
Arhggg. Tigers!!Arhggg. Tigers!!Arhggg. Tigers!!

Oh sorry my mistake, Thaigers. They do acrobatics too.

The conclusion if there's nothing wrong with entomophagy. All entomologists should try it at least once.
Kate hasn't had any yet.

I have eaten goat though so I think its similar. Thats tasty too.

Well we are abit tired and dehydrated today after the discovery of the strength of Thai beer, so we are having a good rest. Tomorrow we are going to brave the tuk tuk drivers and let them take us on an adventure roung the sights.

Oddly, we spent the latter part of the evening sat on a kerb talking to a Thai girl who sells bottles of beer out of a fridge in the street. She'd been to England and she didn't like Sheffield.
Then bed beckoned and we woke this morning feeling very rough largely influenced by dehydration as well as alcohol - feel much better after breakfast and a drink of ozone/UV-treated bottled water.
Lesson 1 - always keep a large bottle of water in your room if you decide to go for a drink. You can't drink the tap water and you drink the small ones too fast.

Additional photos below
Photos: 9, Displayed: 9


Tower of acrobatsTower of acrobats
Tower of acrobats

There is a little kid at the top of this tower of people, crazy but very cool.
Selling drumsSelling drums
Selling drums

Because it wasnt noisy enough already
Kris on the Khao San roadKris on the Khao San road
Kris on the Khao San road

See, we really are here
Trying Thai whisky and Chang beer for the first timeTrying Thai whisky and Chang beer for the first time
Trying Thai whisky and Chang beer for the first time

Hold on, this doesn't taste like Carling....
Our first Thai foodOur first Thai food
Our first Thai food

Look, the rice comes in the shape of a heart, how romantic

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