The Happy Couple

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August 25th 2007
Published: August 26th 2007
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As some of you might know - my best mates from school, Mark and Helen, following an engagement of maybe 10 years or more, finally decided to tie the knot in 2007 - suspiciously this was not long after I confessed my intention to leave the country. Anyone one would think they just didn't want me to show them up like some drunken dad at their wedding. Anyway, to cut a long story short, after much procrastination over maybe flying home for it etc...I ended up with this job as a teacher in Thailand and couldn't make it. It was a tough decision. But would you believe that the swines went ahead with the marriage even in my absence??? Sheesh. What kind of friends are they...? Plus, the whole thing went swimmingly, even without my organisational input. Oh well. Anyway, this entry isn't about their silly wedding, it's about their honeymoon. Which we gatecrashed. As man and wife they flew to Bangkok, stayed a week and are now enjoying 2 weeks on the palm fringed paradise of Phuket. We met up with them on the Bangkok leg of their trip.

We've now been in South East Asia since November last year and so far we have also been present on 2 sets of friend's honeymoons. That's an amazing record having never been on a honeymoon before. First there was Paul and Sonia in Cambodia and now Mark and Helen in Thailand. I may make this a hobby. Gatecrashing honeymoons. So any friends out there should beware if they're making wedding plans. Chances are I'll be popping up in your honeymoon. I'll try and ensure it's not during a honeymoon-esque 'personal' moment. Anyway, I digress.....

Welcome to Bangkok

Mark and Helen Allen (oh, I can't get over the novelty!) flew into Bangkok on a Monday and with a packed schedule of tourist activities we had to meet up with them on the Tuesday night. Straight after school we hopped into a taxi and headed into town. They stayed at the Sheraton Grand, which, as you'd expect, is a whopping great 5 star hotel in the posh bit of town. Luckily we knew where it was as we stayed just up the road when Kate's parents were here.

They met us in the lobby and we went to their lush room and presented them with their wedding present (if you're interested it was 2 arty pics of elephants and tuk tuks for their wall) and in return, Mark presented me with 2 bottles of St George's Ale. Even on their honeymoon they remembered to smuggle some of England's finest beer in their luggage. I'm welling up just thinking about it....

They'd just had a harsh tour of the Grand Palace that day. Not that a tour of Thailand's finest architecture should generally be 'harsh', but it was a scorcher and, remembering our visit their, I'm sure it's one of the hottest places in the city. Must be to do with the high walls and white paint. Anyway, it's an ordeal for your 1st day in this climate. So they were in need of refreshment.

We headed out on the town to grab some food. Would you believe the 1st place we took them to was an English bar? We grabbed a couple of pints in The Pickled Liver then we headed down the road and, bizarrely, stopped at a German restaurant but ate Thai food. It was very weird to be sat in a pub in Bangkok with 2 friends from school. Mark sweated more than
Kris embracing the new Mrs AllenKris embracing the new Mrs AllenKris embracing the new Mrs Allen

in a purely platonic way obviously!!
he does in Leeds, for one.

Anyway, the night was very civil in the end. We did have to get up at 6am the next day for school so we grabbed a taxi from their hotel. We would meet again that coming Friday......

Waking up in your clothes...

We checked into our usual 250 baht a night hovel in Siam Square on Friday after school (although we can get a taxi home it's a long ride so easier to stay in town for the night..) and went to meet Mark and Hels in their 1 000 000 baht a night (or something) hotel. Since we saw them they'd been to the tiger temple in Kanchanaburi and walked a tiger. Mint. Mark was scared. The big girl. But then given he has a fear of butterflies and moths and allegedly once hurried, terrified, through the butterfly enclosure at Leeds's Tropical World, a fear of tigers is probably somewhat more rational.

Friday night differed quite a lot from the previous Tuesday night as we got very, very drunk. It's Friday that the pictures come from. I'm still wearing my teacher shirt. We even popped into the sleazy bar we
Kissing the grooms bald headKissing the grooms bald headKissing the grooms bald head

It's the traditional way to say congratulations over here - honestly!
went to the weekend Kate's mam and dad were here. Slightly embarressingly we were greeted like old friends by a girl at the door at the 'manager' (or madam). Then, somehow, we managed to find a bar with a band playing Guns and Roses covers (as we usually do) and we ended up singing like old drunks. Yes, you may see the picture of me Singing Sweet Child O' Mine to Helen. Or was it Paradise City..? We may never know. There was much merriment. At some point we called it a night and I think we left them chatting to the band. I don't think they slept that night as they had a flight to Phuket at 7am!

I woke up in our dingy hotel room fully dressed and still wearing my contact lenses and not remembering getting back - clearly a sign a good night was had by all. We had planned on going to the beach, but Kate had a poorly tummy. We think it must have been something she ate....

Anyway, Mark and Helen texted to confirm they made there flight and are now sitting on a beach on Phuket. They fly back home in a week. It was great to see them but sad when they left. Sat in that bar in Bangkok it was weird to think th last time we were in the pub with them was probably in Bojangles in Pudsey on a crisp autumn evening last year. There was nowt crisp about the night in Bangkok. Mark's continual perspiration ensured sogginess.

Thinking of England

It's great meeting people from home here as they remind you how crazy it can be just when you've gotten used to stuff. Mark told me in he was startled by someone driving along the path on a moped early that day. It reminded me that that would cause a stir and probably make the local newspapers if someone did that in England. Here I take it for granted. And yeah, it is the pedestrian's responsibility to get out of the way.

Speaking of England....we're coming home in December....

For a bit, at least........................................

Additional photos below
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9th September 2007

Wicked night
Twas a crazy night on the friday. Looking forward to seeing you 2 in december!
11th September 2007

Bald bloke
That bald bloke with the widow's peaks sounds like a right puff ! I'm not surprised that he's scared of butterflies.

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