island life beats the urban jungle


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March 4th 2006
Published: March 4th 2006
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fire!fire!fire!

fire show as we ate our red snapper!
ping pong was cancelled for the week in pattaya, something concerning a crack down on the upkeep of the young ladies equiptment, disappointed, dave and lucy retired to a nearby bar and reflected on what could have been...

the rest of the week in pattaya was spent exploring the vast expanse of the downtown area that consists of hundreds of tp's, bars, market stalls, food stalls and the like. the discovery of eating off the street, not literally (though for some of the locals this doesnt seem to be a problem, they must have hungry horse pubs here too, trawling the bins being the preferred dining experience) has meant that a meal for two including pad thai (noodles, egg and veg) chicken or pork squewers and a beer can be had for around 80 pence each. similar food halls where the price is around the same and you have the relative comfort of your own table and chairs to sit on, are easy to find no matter where you are and at what time. some of the best meals eaten here are from these type of places, providing grub that would make the best of chinese/ thai restaurants back home
fire!fire!fire!

fire show as we ate our red snapper!
cower with embarrassment!

the week flew by in pattaya. the intention was to stay for a couple of days but things never work out the way you plan. mr michael treated us to a trip out for the day in his land rover, meaning we were given the opportunity to see the real thailand for the first time, seeing small villages with tin huts for houses, coconut plantations and the massive expanse that is the desolate isolation of much of the country. the cities are massively cramped and over populated places, surely someone should have thought, 'hold on lads, theres a shed load of land over there, why not make the roads a bit bigger and the buildings further apart then we wouldnt put our toe up someones butt whenever we stretched our legs out?!' in some ways this is the part of thailand that makes it so appealing, the packed streets bustle day and night with a frantic hurry that is in complete contrast to island life where you kick back, relax and they dont have a translation for the word 'pronto!' on our land rover adventure we stopped off at a collection of 'wats' basically large garish
eating on  the beacheating on  the beacheating on the beach

sit back and enjoy the view
temples and shrines to budda. they love a bit of budda over here and these places are held in such high regard that when the king visits, his thrown is never placed higher than budda to make sure that on their way to nirvana (nothing to do with kurt cobain) it is made clear that budda is the divine. all the temples are immaculate places of worship full of gold and silver inside and out, providing a good base for the all over tan! some are positively blinding in the midday sun and after a couple of hours walking around which at its peak consisted of a clime to the tallest wat with over 200 steps, it was time to (after refueling with a coconut) head off looking for the crocodile farm.

tom tom havnt yet made it to thialand and after an hour of searching we failed to find our exit from the freeway, and alas, notching up zero points on the steve irwin counter, with not a "flam'in croc" in sight. we did however stumble across an elephant farm late afternoon where we got to see dumbo chomping on pine leaves, throwing dust and chillin out after
paradiseparadiseparadise

skegness never looked so good!
a hard days slog carrying fat americans. wonderfully docile animals, wrinkly as hell.

the phone wrings in the hotel room, "hawoow, you muss leave womb, is booked" dave makes his way angrily to reception, and asks to change rooms but "sawee, we fool" is the reply. we were offered a more expensive room near the pool but it was way over the budget, so our bags were packed in a record 10 minutes and after a bit of hunting out next place of residence was found the bay breeze hotel. the day was spent around the pool reading and relaxing after our earlier trauma and discussing the next port of call which would be the island of ko samet, a couple of hours south of pattaya. we got chatting to a guy from brisbane, who introduced himself with a slap of his gut proclaiming he was a recovering anorexic. his hands looked more like chip shovels than salad tongs, love a bit of aussie humor. the mini bus for the trip to ko samet was booked and we made our way out to eat, a feast of mystery meat, salad, and sweet chili sauce, washed down with a cold
snapper!snapper!snapper!

fish caught that day, shrimp on the barbie? bring it on!
beer, sat on a curb by the side of a road. i know how to treat a lady! we met up with mike later that evening at leos bar where we told him about the problems with the hotel. he seemed shocked and angry about what happened and gave me back the money we had paid for the room saying it was all supposed to be on his account. the way he was speaking i wouldnt have wanted to be on reception the next day, i know how unhappy he gets when he doesnt get home cut chips in the pub of a sunday night, let alone his guests getting kicked out of their rooms! the night quickly turned to early morning, and too many singha beers later, it was 5 am and we were heading to a restaurant for some food, me and mike on foot, and lucy and porn, mikes friend, on a moped, traveling the wrong way up a main street! a note about thai lager. if you think stella back home makes you want to beat the missus, this gear has started civil wars, at 6.2 percent, its fit to numb the minds of even the
bugs anyone?bugs anyone?bugs anyone?

i dont eat anything with more than four legs, yet?!
most proficient of alcoholics. needless to say we missed our minibus which was booked for 7.30. we awoke to the guy from reception opening the door to our room at 8 telling us we missed it, cheers mate, can i get some kip now?! the next day we booked some fresh tickets and this time managed not to drink and woke up fresh as a daisy to travel to ko samet.

as we boarded the ferry, well i say ferry, more like a small beat up fishing trawler, the realisation hit dave as to the extent of lucys hate of travel over water. she said about 2 words the whole time, turned a number of different colours, and was horrified to find at the other side, a second boat would need to alight to a second boat in order for a water docking. feet wet but no puke we walked up the beach, hopped in the back of a truck, saw no tarmac, hit many pot-holes and arrived at our chosen destination, welcome to ko samet! the naga bungalows is run by an eccentric english woman called sue and her thai husband who have had the business for over
khao san roadkhao san roadkhao san road

"hey mr you want tuk tuk?"
20 years. we rented one of their wooden huts with balcony and designer mozzie net for a couple of quid each a night. lucy slept off the boat ride and dave went to the beach! the island is line on the east coast by beaches broken by rocky coves and thick woodland. the sand is pure white and is so fine it feels like you are walking on flour. the next two days were spent getting into the swing of doing nothing which we found easy to adjust to. compared to pattaya this was heaven, no cars, no hookers, no worries! mosquitoes are to be found in their thousands on the island and seem to have found a fondness for lucy. trying to count the number of bites on her legs an impossibility, some seemed to be morphing into jelly beans, we headed for the local pharmacy where she was handed some anti-histamines and some cream, a week later they were still there!

we spent roughly a week on ko samet eating a couple of nights at the beach restaurants that provided us with a table and cushions for you to lie on and serves the best snapper ive
sun set on ko sametsun set on ko sametsun set on ko samet

getting home on the bike in the dark was fun!
ever tasted. the other nights we ate at Thai kitchens and from market stalls. island exploration was high on the agenda, so a moped was rented for 24 hours and enabled us to explore the different beaches and high/ lowlands. unfortunately there were no pimped rides to be found, no neon lights or spoilers, so a standard edition honda was settled for. thankfully there were no accidents to speak of, only one accidental wheelie was pulled nearly flinging us off the back and onto the rocks and gravel of the islands dirt tracks so we both came through unscathed. having the moped was great as we could go to the west-side (didnt see ali g) of the island to watch the sunset. the trip home gave dave the chance to test his night sight, should have ate more carrots as a boy!

a quick note about the football: i was mortified when utd lost to the scouse for the first time in over 80 years, but delighted to discover that the mighty chel$ki had lost to barcelona at home on a pitch resembling shoebury east beach the cheating gits. wonder how long it will take for their pitch to turn a better shade of green? hope they get spanked at the nue camp.

the days rolled past on the island with ease, and before we knew it we had reached the end of the weekend and it was time to move on. really it had been time to move on a couple of days before but things happen here when they happen, not when you want them to.

we arrived in bangkok after a 4 hour journey from the island. we got speaking to a guy from cork. would love to tell you what we were talking about but all i know is he supports liverpool and has been in australia for a year. the rest was all "ahigh da hoe" and "potatoe famine" to me?! when we arrived in bangkok dave continued with the stupidity he hoped he had left on ko samet after giving the taxi driver 200 instead of 20 baht for the ride by leaving his bag containing, money and his passport at the bus stop, thankfully it was still there when we hurriedly returned, dave had to change his pants! the kao san road is the hub of the traveling community here in bangkok and everything from cds to hair braids can be bought on the street. having got settled in the kao san palace hotel, more crystal palace than the home of a monarch, but clean enough and has air con and rooftop pool. the heat here is something else. pattaya was hot but here in bangkok someone has left the oven door open, and with the pollution always at a critical level, the air is thick with the stench of diesel engines and unkept travelers!

due to lucys unrelenting bangkok bottom we have made several trips to the pharmacy and things finally came to a head a couple of days ago with a trip to the bangkok mission hospital. lucy was diagnosed with contracting some kind of parasite diarrhoea leaving her with crippling stomach cramps and the brad pitts. after breaking the news to her the doctor said she was now a "carrier" meaning for the remainder of the trip she will be infected. champion. things are on the up now though as the search for the 'so solid poo' was over yesterday, trauma! shes now on more medication than pete doherty and is rattling more than an old money box!

we are both enjoying our time in bangkok as its a truly captivating city, full of mad tuk tuk drivers, huge markets full of fake designer goods and accommodation ranging from the sublime to the sub terranian. we took a trip to the pat pong night market and got some hookie gear and did our best delboy and rodney impressions. couldnt find any batman and robin suits so no cape crusading peckham stile was possible. the market was rammed with people from all over the globe desperate for a bargain, the trick seemed to be to offer a tenth of the original price and go from there, its all done with a smile and a joke, apart from a woman who took offence to lucys bid for some trousers who smacked her on the arm and sent her packing! yesterday it was the turn of the grand palace for a look at the emerald budda (actually made from jade not emeralds, the 'dont judge a book' rule was not applied here when it was discovered.) the architecture of the 250 year old wats and palaces is staggering, and the attention to detail such as the individual inch square mirrored tiles which leaves the millennium dome with a lot of questions to answer!

we plan to move on to phuket soon as we need to get our visas renewed in about 10 days and just north of there is a border with burma that will allow us to sort that. this may also change as there is no fixed plan so we'll have to see. we're back off the the streets of bangkok for another fight with the tuk tuk drivers, might go for a swim, its a hard life!...

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8th March 2006

Hey guys, this is fantastic reading back in rainy Southend I feel like i have experienced everything ................................................................................................... except for the bowel movements.
13th March 2006

You may be in Thailand...
...but we are in South America! It all looks fantastic guys, really beautiful. When are the photos coming of the sickness then? Be good and take care. Looking forward to more.

Tot: 0.094s; Tpl: 0.05s; cc: 12; qc: 24; dbt: 0.0138s; 1; m:saturn w:www (104.131.125.221); sld: 1; ; mem: 1.2mb