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Published: September 30th 2007
So, I look out of my window and there’s a late night party boat making it’s way past the window, and then another, then another, lights all lit up. I’m here. All that planning and I’m in Bangkok for the first night of my RTW tour! I’m in a comfy hotel room, couple of bottles of water to the side, beautifully laid out sheets/towels, etc. and a TV with some strange language babbling at me in the corner!
So, how did I get here. Well, the train from Diss to London Liverpool Street got caught at a Level Crossing for 45 minutes - I’d left a spare 1.5-2 hours to get to the airport, so was pretty calm, but still! Finished reading another trashy Mills & Boon, started the next, found it incredibly familiar and then realised it was one I’d taken back to the charity shop only a couple of months before - doh! Thinking I didn’t want to carry my Oyster card, I then had to queue 20 minutes for tube ticket, then sweated my way across London - I’ve packed as light as I can, but still… and SE Asia is going to be a lot more
Juxtaposition of old & new
A number of these caught my eye at the airport
humid than that!
Arrived safely in Heathrow Terminal 4 - had remembered to check which terminal! Confused that there were no Qantas
desks, but was directed to a British Airways
desk - and my only thought was ‘oh no, are they going to lose my bags?’ . Started as I mean to go on, chatting to several people in the queue… checked in easy and my bag was 14.8kg - yay (under 15kg was all I was aiming for!). Think daypack is maybe 3-4kg, so hope I won’t feel like a pack-mule, but sure I’ll still be ditching things on the way… Once safely through security, caught up on some phone calls, then had a wander round the airport, and Emma is so right - get out that credit card for the Cartier, etc. - no weight for those things even if had the money! Wanted another book, and found one free with She Magazine…
Easy onto the plane - swapped seats so 3 lads could sit together and found myself next to a Swedish couple - think Sophio her name was, and she spotted my Marian Keyes
- turns out we like a lot of the same books/films… She thinks
she’s coming down with a cold, so here’s hoping I don’t! Plane was about 1.5 hours late taking off, but finally… Remembered to take my jet-lag med, is it going to work?
Soon after dinner started serving, a short break whilst they hot-footed it back to a safer area as we hit some turbulence. Sophio a very nervous flyer and kept asking if this was normal!! “Chicken or Lamb?” ”Chicken please”. Was not that nice really, bit chewy, so just had the salad/polenta/beans - even the banoffee pie was not that nice, or maybe it was just that I was feeling sick from the antibiotics by this time! Watched half-of ‘Licence to Wed’
then fell asleep for 3-4 hours. Awoke to watch the rest, then started on Spiderman 3
. Breakfast arrived, was OK - bacon, etc - raspberry Yeo Valley yoghurt - my favourite! Entertainment system turned off before film finished - pah!
Had a very smooth landing (10 hours 28 mins flight), then through immigration where there was confusion as to why I had paid for a visa (GBP35) - as I’d originally thought I didn’t need it, but we used it anyway, and I’ll come in on a straight
tourist visa next time. Bag was there in about 2 seconds so headed off, eyes peeled for my courier pick-up. Spotted easy, and she looked very relieved to see me - think her name was Oy-e - she said she’d been waiting for an hour and had 2 others - we had a good chat in the taxi on the way to the hotel - but they turned out to be with Real Gap
, not GAP Adventures
. The Royal hotel
was past the Khao-San road
and looked really nice - the other girls checked in, and I was told to wait for a phone call… it transpired that I wasn’t staying at that hotel for the night - bit confused by this as although everyone was speaking English to me, wasn’t sure I was getting the full meaning - but think will be back for the second night! Was at the point I was in a car in a shabby looking part of town when started to think “argh, done the wrong thing” as the whole point was to be somewhere where I could just chill for a couple of days ready for the big group trip - but THINK POSITIVE, will get to
see a bit more of Bangkok! However, then arrived at New Siam
hotel and looked pretty nice too, although still some building materials in the lobby! This is about 1500 Baht per night (GPB23), but I’d pre-paid so not quite sure… Room is nice, air-con! Unpacked and ventured out the door, decided that wasn’t really in the mood for a big explore, so went to 7-11 for snack food, then went for a late night swim out onto the river - seeing the Gecko climbing the walls, and then jumping out of the pool when I wasn’t sure what was swimming with me… looked like a cross between a cockroach and a frog… met an Austrian couple on the way into the pool - then I went back to room for an early night, knowing that I need to get a tuk-tuk the next day!
Went to sleep pretty soon, then woke up about 1am feeling quite sick, about 2am, took a sleeping tablet and that seemed to work, waking up 9.30am (bearing in mind this is 2.30am UK time) and going down for breakfast… don’t feel too bad considering… Had an ‘American Breakfast’, then lay down to read some
more Marian Keyes before checking out just before noon, then sitting down here at the internet point (1 Baht per minute or 40 Baht for an hour, so that’s about 50p, won’t make the same confusion as I made last night thinking 7Baht for a yoghurt was 5p, it’s 11p, but still!)… taking a while as am putting off the inevitable - getting in a tuk-tuk or taxi across to my hotel (and hoping that it’s straightforward to check in this time, as I’ve got no courier to help me this time… what was all that about he first 30 days being easy going!) - which I think will cost about GPB1! Then I might venture out from there…
OK, that's the photos done. Sunday had a tuk-tuk ride, went to see a few Buddha's, then decided to go back to the hotel and go for a swim and an early night. Monday went for a bit of a wander down Khao San Road, quick go on the internet, found my badge pathches, and then met with the GAP group at 7pm... nice bunch of people. 2 Irish, 3 English, 1 American, 3 Canadian, and our tour leader is
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