Bangkok: home, sweet home...?

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December 4th 2007
Published: January 4th 2008
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In Thailand there's Bangkok...In Thailand there's Bangkok...In Thailand there's Bangkok...

...and then there are "Other Places"...

The joy of motorbike taxis

After leaving Sukothai we had a bref stop off in Ayutthaya to visit our friends from the TEFL who teach there - Kristen and Jordan. We had planned on seeing some of the sights that we missed th previous year...but instead we did nowt but laze around and then met our mates in the evening for drinks. They're staying on to teach so it could be a while till we see them again.

The most notable thing about our trip to Ayutthaya was the motorbike taxi trip....
When we got on the luxury bus in Sukothai (incidentally, luxury means the air con's on full so you're freezing and they hand out plastic glasses of toxic-looking green pop) the woman handing over the tickets told us "bus stops on highway for Ayutthaya". Having been to Ayutthaya before and being aware that there's no real bus station - just a certain road n the middle of town where buses congregate - we assumed that's what she meant...

SHe didn't. She literally meant that if we wanted to get off at Ayuthaya the bus would stop in the middle of the motorway and we would have
Ayutthya taxisAyutthya taxisAyutthya taxis

They look safer than a moped.
to cross the central reservation and 3 lanes, full laden with bags, to reach the awaiting motorbike taxis to take us to town. It was a little hairy. Then we had the motorbike trip to contend with.

Being stuck on the hard shoulder we had little option but to accept the taxi drivers offer and each climb on the back of a moped. Our respective riders, wit our rucksacks balanced between their handlebars, each handed us a helmet. Safety 1st, right? The helmet was made of thin plastic and felt very much like a toy - plus it didn't fit and therefore, when we picked up speed, it flapped off my neck by the strap. We shot off at abreakneck pace into the usy Ayutthaya traffic and I felt that ar from the helmet offering me any protection in case of a accident - it just would add insult to injury by making me look silly.

Anyway...we made it safely - if a little shakily.

Bangkok, Bangkok it's a helluva town...

So on to Bangkok - where it all began. We stayed at the usual Ko San Road spot and reminised. We went to the bars
The streets of BangkokThe streets of BangkokThe streets of Bangkok

No disabled access...
we'd 1st visited over a year...we wandered the crowded streets and we visited the humongous shopping malls. And we sweated. It still wasn't sinking in that soon we'd be in England, but we tried to make the most of it.

That Friday it became obvious that things were moving on as it was Kirsten's (not Kristen mentioned above!) leaving do. The next day she was flying to a new teaching job in Korea. So the few people left from the TEFL assembled for good bye drinks. It was really nice to see everyone and wish Kirsten the bes of luck with the future.

After that it was time to shop! We spent the weekend both hunting for CHristmas presents and hunting for clothes to take home. After a few attempts to buy shoes and having petite Thai people openly laugh at my foot size - I finally found a new pair of trainers - see the exciting picture of their red soles!

We also had a meet up with Lea - another TEFL mate and bid her a fond farewell. She's told us she'll visit us in Madrid but for now is continuing teaching in Thailand.
King shirts go pinkKing shirts go pinkKing shirts go pink

It's the kings lucky colour apparently

So after 4 days of spending money and soaking up Bangkok for the last time - at least for a while - e jumpd on a bus and head for our finally port of call befre home - Pattaya.

It was odd leaing Bangkok. I can honestly say it's become a second home. Weird to think how imposing it seemed when we first arrived. It's definitely a crazy place of mad contrasts from the 5 star hotels and skyscraper skyline to the wooden shacks under the skytrain tracks and by the river. From the sparklng gold temples and Buddhas to the flashing neon of go go bars. But we love it! There's never a dull moment. We've met so many people who've visited Thailand and hated Bangkok with a passion - usually after only a few days stay. For anyone going in the future I'd recommend you give it a bit of time. It'll grow on you!
I guess it's an acquired taste.
We'll miss it, but we'll be back!

Additional photos below
Photos: 10, Displayed: 10



Our favourite bit - Banglampu!
Is it a plane...?Is it a plane...?
Is it a plane...?

A promotion for a cheap airline. Weird things on Bangkokian streets...
Ever the jokerEver the joker
Ever the joker

No, I didn't buy it.
Lea eats a flowerLea eats a flower
Lea eats a flower

It came with her drink but I don't think it was edible..
Look at the shocking red soleLook at the shocking red sole
Look at the shocking red sole

My new trainers in giant UK size 11. Apparently.

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