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Published: October 28th 2006
Bangkok"So there I was in a Thai whorehouse called the fish tank, playing snooker with my tuk-tuk driver..."
Inside the palace grounds. Beautiful!
---Whoever writes me the best punch line, or entertaining ending to that beginning, gets a 'hand-made natural-dyed scarf' from Fes, Morocco. Now for the blog:
My Thailand trip was supposed to begin with an easy flight from Dubai to Bangkok. But thanks to the travel gods, things aren't as easy as they appear. Being only 10 minutes from the airport, I left 3 hours before my flight. Plenty of time right? Ahem, wrong! It took me 1.5 hours just to get the equivalent of 5 city blocks. The rest of the way didn't get much better and I missed my flight. A little dejected but not concerned (thanks to full use of John's apartment) I returned home. Being bored I jumped on the world wide web. And what do I see on the homepage of Yahoo..."Breaking News-10 miutes ago- Coup in Bangkok!" What the F!? Are you kidding me? A coup in Thailand? That's the last thing I expected. So it turns out missing my flight was for the best. (I later met a Seattle-ite (Andrew Green's little
sister) who flew in that night. Upon arrival they were informed by the captain that Thailand was in a state of emergency, the airport was secure, but that's all they knew. Yikes! A little unnerving I'm sure.)
Okay, so I'll get on with it. I flew in 2 days later and Bangkok craziness ensued. I met an American (Matt) and two Aussies (James & Ryan) in the hostel. Matt befriended a Tuk Tuk driver named E-Boss (that's how it sounded, probably not how it was spelled). E-Boss could commonly be heard saying things like, "cooome onnnnn, everything in Thailand fake" or "cooome onnnnn, all girls in Thailand hookers." Thanks for the advice E-Boss! (Oh, and if anyone is going to Bangkok and wants to get hold of E-Boss, email me and I can dig up his phone number for you. Good tiiiiimes!) He proceeded to take us around to all the seedy bits of this city. Ping Pong show? Check. Lady boy bars? Check. Thai whorehouse? Check. (And NO, I didn't do anything at any of these places other than laugh, drink, and stare in horror, then drink some more to forget.) And thus the first lines of
The other side of Bangkok isn't so nice as the last 2 photos. This is the side you've heard stories of. This is a fellow traveller being attacked by go go girls at Nana Plaza. We could have helped stop the girls from pulling his shorts off, but we were busy enjoying our beers and laughing our asses off.
this blog were born over a game of snooker at "Cupidity." We figured it would be a great joke or story but we lack a punch-line or ending. It would start like this, "So there I was in a Thai whorehouse called the fish tank, playing snooker with my tuk-tuk driver..." I figure there's someone out there much more creative and witty than I to make that go somewhere. We also managed to find some of our own bad ideas "sans" E-Boss, namely... Na Na Complex (see picture included for summary.) After 3 days of skeevy Bangkok we headed south to Trang via overnight train. We didn't even think about flying (which is cheaper and faster) so we took this 8 hour train 14 hours, being pestered by the locals at every stop. "6 Beer Chang?" No, no more Beer Chang just yet. First of all, there's 4 of us, second, we each already have one, and another one unopened, we don't need any more Beer Chang. Finally, to get this one persistent bastard off our case, we told him to come back at 6:30am and we'd buy another round. Our tactic worked brilliantly as our alarm clock arrived 15
Two days after the coup and all was eazy breezy.
minutes early with 4 cold Beer Changs. (I don't recommed Beer Chang in general, let alone at 6:30 am after 4 hours of sleeping underneath a light that doesn't turn off.) However, this guy was more reliable than any alarm clock I've ever owned.
Finally, we were in southern Thailand. The islands await! First up, a large but sleepy island called Koh Lanta. Koh Lanta is on the Andaman Sea (west coast) south of Krabi. The highlight of this trip was when we couldn't find the waterfall but stumbled upon a sign for a cave. We hired a local guide and head lanterns and set out. After a short hike through jungle, climbing old ladders made of branches (stacked on older rotting ladders made of branches) we arrived at the cave. Unprepared in our flip flops and white shirts, we slipped and slid our way through the cave system having a blast. At one point we found ourselves in a huge room with a pool of pitch black water in one corner. We lowered ourselves down the rope and branch ladder (missing a rung or two) into the chilly water. We even entertained jumping in from about
On sleepy Koh Lanta we tuk-tuk'ed to the reggae bar for a little bit of jammin' mon.
12 feet up but didn't trust the translation of our guide. And quite frankly none of us wanted to dive to see how deep it was and find a mucky bottom or get tangled in who knows what! After a brief soak we hauled with heavy breathing our out-of-shape bodies back up to dry ground. On our return hike our guide taught us to say "Yung Toi"="I hate mosquitoes" and "Suk Thai"="Name Thai." (the Thai spellings are guesses and probably no where near accurate. And no, the second one doesn't even make any sense.) Needless to say for the next 3 weeks, when in doubt linguistlically, we would just say "suk thai!" It seemed to work wonderfully. I wonder what we were saying.
Krabi/ Railay Beach
The next stop was Railay Beach just outside of Krabi. Krabi is famous for it's rock climbing, and Railay for it's scenery. It rained all 3 days there so we never did climb, and the scenery was more or less construction sites and dirty, smelly water. (Granted there were breathtaking limestone mountains jutting straight from the water!) But I imagine (like much of Thiland) that this place must have been magical 20 years
Matt exiting the cave via a VERY tight crawlspace.
ago. In 2006 however, we were relegated to watching badly faked muay thai boxing matches and snake shows at one of the many beach bars on the lagoon side. A personal request: don't give money to the snake show if you go. Rewarding young kids to dodge poisonous snakes as they lunge at their faces isn't the best thing we can do as falang (read "gringos"). Give money in more constructive ways. The only other exciting things that happened to us were having a bat fly into our room 2 minutes after check in, scratching furiously at mosquito bites, and playing jenga while drinking and smoking. Oh, and I did play with a samurai sword from behind the bar while drunk, but it was completely dull. That's the same night I learned not to eat a banana before it's ripe...it's like eating chalky glue...disgusting. Of course I offered a bite to my new friends😊
Koh Phi Phi
Still travelling with the Bangkok boys, we headed up to Koh Phi Phi. Koh Phi Phi is a great island that I would definitely recommend above the others. Although I didn't do any diving (ear infection) I hear it's spectacular and better
Arriving at Railay Beach via long tail boat at low tide requires a little wading. Me and Matt.
than Koh Tao (coming later). The fire shows picked up in professionalism and skill, buckets of alcohol made their first appearance, and we made some friends from Sydney (Kelly and Tina). Ryan and I decided to live it up and stay in a nice hotel. I highly recommend it and the manager (owner?) was great. If you go, check out Pitharom, a 2 bed was 1700 baht a night(just before high season.) It looks brand new (post tsunami), and despite the stairs, I looked forward to returning home every night. Also, Phi Phi had the best English breakfast we've had yet. Go to the Reggae Bar cafe! And speaking of the Reggae Bar, that is where Matt and the girls did some entertaining of their own. Inside is a muay thai boxing rink. Westerners don headgear and bright shorts and battle it out. Participants get a free bucket! Hilarious entertainment, and even a few quality fights, including knock-outs. Our time on Phi Phi went quickly.
Koh Phangan- aka Koh Pha Ngan
While I could have stayed longer in Phi Phi, Koh Phangan was calling our names. (well, it called me, Ryan and James. Matt detoured here.) And so we
Koh Phi Phi
My first bucket! Vodka with Red Bull. Man that's a lot of red bull!
set off for some serious partying at the famous Full Moon parties of Koh Phangan. It was so good, even frugal Pete bought a t-shirt. I'm sure I'll find a time to wear that when I get back to New York:/ What I thought would be 3 days of partying turned into about 5 or 6 as we were just having too good a time. Huey Lewis should have come here when he wanted a new drug because I'm pretty sure Koh Phangan has it. Although most partyers go for mushroom shakes, we were at one point offered heroine by someone who certainly preferred to keep it for himself. Stop dipping into the inventory pal! Anyways, most of you know that I'm generally a good lad and I kept up my end here in regards to drugs. So that left lots of Tiger beers and my second (and last) Bucket. The alcohol they serve here at first glance seems a step above what you see elsewhere. Smirnoff is an example. But focus those hazy eyes of yours my friend. You will notice that the paper seals were torn off years ago. It takes a little snooping to find out what
My favorite of waaay too many fire pics.
they fill those bottles with, and you probably won't like the look of the plastic jug with the cheap Russian logo on it. And you certainly can taste the difference...reference my second and last Bucket. So we partied into the early morning every day, woke up around 3pm, ate breakfast, watched a movie, and then repeated.
My body could handle absolutely no more drinking so we packed up to head out to the nature of Koh Tao. However, Koh Tao was not what I expected. I thought I was going to find few travellers, more nature, slow pace, no drinking, etc. I mean hey, it's well known for it's diving. Well, maybe I ate something I shouldn't have on Koh Phangan because that was definitely foolish of me. I mean, come on, where in Southern Thailand can you really find isolation without finding a few bars and plenty of people eager for Beer Chang and fire dancing. Well, there was more nature in the form of stray dogs on the beach. It was really cute how they picked on each other with spit flying, hair on end, and teeth bared. I particularly liked it when they would
Aaron and his magical dragon.
sprint at you from the shadows when you were walking home alone on the beach. But, just as mom taught me, I stood still and only received a few playful nips at my pockets. And, no, I didn't have snausages or bacon in my pockets. Ryan once cleverly used a tissue as a decoy as we fled one evening. Good thinking on your feet Ryan! Another night I carried an umbrella so I could just shield them off. But I suppose that was the one drawback to the place we stayed at on Koh Tao. We really upped the anty with Koh Tao Cabanas! Beautiful bungalows staggered through the large boulders on the northern shore of the main beach. It was a great spot for starting our snorkel dives. I'm sorry I don't have a picture of it to share. It was fantastic!
Back to Bangkok
Feeling all island'ed out, it was time to get back to Bangkok and set up the next leg of my journey. I went back to the same hostel on Sukhumvit, soi 38. The HI-Sukhumvit hostel was super clean, modern, the owner Phit was amazing, I loved it. A great refuge from the constant
Rocking out my riot/scooter helmet at the full moon party. Cool guy!
chaos of this city. Phit even drove me down King Rama IV avenue at 11pm so I could scope out where the FedEx shop was. (I had an early morning pickup of some much needed anti-malaria drugs before I headed off to Laos.) And he even gave me a free t-shirt since I stayed there a total of 7 nights. Sweet!
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