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Published: July 17th 2006
We left Kanchanaburi by way of thai-style breakneck speed mini bus that barring any asthma attacks by our heavy breathing, heavily sniffing driver was destined for the smog filled, neon light strip that is the Khao San road, Bangkok. Back in Thailand's capital for the forth time it was instantly apparent why we had not looked forward to returning, as the thick-aired humid streets filled with women following us with tedious croaking wooden frogs reminded us that there must be more to this south east asian mecca than bloody backpackers. Our previous adventures in the city had been mainly limited to drinking outside the 7-11 and visiting all the main tourist spots and markets. We decided to look further afield and jumped in a 'taxi meter' to downtown Bangkok. Arriving under the Sky train in Siam Square we quickly searched for any kind of air conditioned haven, and were duly rewarded by one of the gigantic malls dominating the area. It was strange to walk through shops and food courts that put Bluewater to shame, and made us feel as if we could have been back at home. After a couple of hours wrestling Lucy out of shops selling expensive designer
surf gear and a brief visit to the nicest toilet in the world, we took the newest edition to the city transport, the sky train. Its unfortunate that this service only operates in a small area as the smooth air-con ride took us a few stops south the sleaze-filled Patpong district. After failing miserably to get a taxi to agree a price lower than a King's ransom to take us back to Khao San, we took the sky train back to Siam Square. After failing again to secure transport back to our guest house, it was apparent that the traffic was to bad to get anywhere anyway, so a beer was purchased and after a refreshed re-think we haggled with a tuk tuk driver, and jumped in the back of our rented chainsaw on wheels and were whisked through the rush hour streets. We had yet to experience a tuk tuk in Bangkok and thought it best to throw ourselves in at the deep end and brave the experience at the busiest time of day weaving in and out of static cars and buses. After a couple of days we left for the airport to catch our internet booked, rock
bottom priced flight to Hat Yai in the south.
After a bad experience trying to book flights with Laos Airways it was a pleasant surprise to arrive at the airport and be greeted by a smiling woman at check-in who quickly processed our request with nothing more than our booking number and passport identification. We were held up slightly due to the baggage handlers behind the check-in desk getting a small case stuck by the wheels under the conveyer belt. They seemed to be doing a good job of kicking and pulling at the unmovable object, and after a few minutes of futile brute force and 'give it a whack' strategies, one lad decided this particular item of baggage was causing too much hassle, and after attention from an iron bar, the wheels were dislodged from the bottom and the case was sent merrily on it's way wrapped in 'FRAGILE GOODS' tape, an ironic label if i've ever seen one.
The flight to Hat Yai went like a dream with the friendliest cabin staff we have ever come across, and seats that were comfier than our flight from London made the hour-and-a-half trip breeze by, and before we
knew it the light was on instructing us to fasten our seat belts and we were landing in our last stop in Thailand. We have been to Hat Yai before, although it was for about thirty minutes on a visa run a few months ago to Malaysia. We quickly found a grotty room for the night and went out for some of the best Won Ton soup imaginable, and booked ourselves on the next mini bus out of there. Having breakfast in the Guest House canteen was an experience. Full of complete odd balls of various sizes and descriptions, eating scrambled eggs has never been such a task. Completely distracted by the guy in front who had a table full of odds and ends that he would clean, move around, pack away, unpack then dirty again for another round. We are not sure if the bloke was a bit ill but he definately hadn't seen a shower recently, let alone a psychiatrist. His mates were equally distracting, both drinking Chang (it was 7.30 in the morning) and clearly well sauced, they led the way in making funny expressions and spontaneous noises, and it really was like sitting on the film
so i should put the thing in the thing
dave tries to get to grips with the simple task of purchasing a sky train ticket
set of 'Dawn of the Dead.' As the scene in front of us continued to get stranger we were pleased to see our mini bus arrive to take us across the border to Malaysia, and complete with the smelliest traveler we have had the pleasure of sharing a combined space with, we made it to the city of Georgetown on the Island of Penang.
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