Correspondence from Bangkok. One night and the World’s your oyster

We enjoyed our time in Hong Kong but found it to be always ‘on’ so not restful and overall, very expensive.  Still we had a great time, and for shoe afficionados such as myself – fantastic.  Great variety and very tempting prices as there were a lot of sales.  We bought a two day ‘big bus’ ticket and enjoyed seeing the sights as we hopped on and off at whim.  I think what we liked most, however was the few hours pre and post sunset.  We found a few outdoor areas to either eat and/or have a drink (not much al fresco style anything in Hong Kong) and whiled away a few hours each day having a drink and watching the sun set (through the clouds/pollution) and watching the lights come on over Victoria Harbour; it really is a spectacular sight.

We arrived in Bangkok last night.  We had forgotten just how much we love Thailand.  I am sure it is our spiritual home.  Well that is not quite true for me.  I am positive that the stork accidently dropped me in Australia when I was meant to be delivered to a well connected, wealthy Parisienne family who would adore me for the rest of my living days.  During these days, I  would spend my life hating the British, being beautiful and impossibly slim, marry well and inhale delectable food, wine and cigarettes daily.  But given the turn of events that saw me being born Australian, I was instead given the chance of travel and live a potentially a more cosmopolitan and broader life without being beautiful, impossibly slim or marrying well.  I am not altogether happy with this but have, grudgingly, come to terms with reality.  In the absence of the French destiny which has been cruelly denied to me, being a visitor in Bangkok and Thailand more broadly is pretty darn wonderful.  We have only been here for a little over 24 hours and have had the obligatory pedi/mani for (total $10 and spectacular), massage (less than $10), a little wander in the market where I picked up some denim shorts and some gorgeous leggings for $3 each and have eaten the most scrumptious food you could imagine for also very few dollars.  We are staying at the most wonderful place; it is only 6 months old and incredibly well located. It was more good luck than good management; the place we usually stay was just too expensive and this looked interesting on booking.com.  As the hotel is new and not yet particularly busy, they upgraded us to a deluxe suite.  OMG it is totally fabulous in a very pink, OTT, faux luxe way.  I feel like that French princess I am meant to be!  We are very happy.  Be very envious!

Today we went on a short tour – God I hate them.  I am a bad tourist.  He wanted to do the canals in Bangkok and we also felt that perhaps we should see a gold Buddha or two as we have never bothered before (and we have been here many times).  It was good I suppose, but incredibly overpriced, and frankly I was over the whole thing half way through the long boat trip on the canals (without having stepped foot in a temple).  To be fair the temples were spectacular and incredibly beautiful as were the Buddhas if that kind of thing floats your boat.  Yep, a real culture vulture…

We got the tour people to drop us off at Khao San Road for a trip to the seedier side of life rather than return to our hotel.  Loved it.  It is horrific really on all levels but such a hoot. YouTube Cold Chisel (iconic Australian band) and listen to their song Khe Sanh.  Fantastic stuff and you will need to understand the Australian link (aside from pissed tourists)

Anyway back to what we did and not what you must do!   We were tired and hot and propped ourselves up on a curbside seat in a little bar after a brief wander, intending to stay for one drink.  We stayed for three hours and possibly had more than one drink.  The people watching was just first class and entirely captivating.   All sorts wandered and floated past.  There were ‘regular’ tourist families who looked to be middle class with sensible haircuts, shoes and family size, modern day hippies sporting the obligatory dreadlocks, tie dye t-shirts, harem pants with the now mandatory tatts and optional same sex partner, backpackers with very large back packs that cannot be fun to lug around, Thai school kids on their way home from school, Thai mums taking their boys to cubs, the odd substance ‘enhanced’ dude who had forgotten to pop his shirt on and also apparently lost the ability to pull his gut in, older revolting white guys and their young female Thai ‘tourist’ guides (surely this is what they were?)  and so forth.  Into this melee were a rich assortment of colourful but not pushy purveyors of all kinds of merchandise – fresh undersized crabs (they sold like hotcakes), weird butterfly kites, some kind of thing that you through into the air and sounded like a bee buzzing (why?), various hilltribe arts and crafts, strange cigarette lighters and so forth.

My absolute favourite was the guy who could supply you with any or all of the following eclectic mix of merchandise;  with a cheerful smile and good nature thrown in free.

Hungry?  He could provide you with a delicious deep fried scorpion on a skewer; in fact more than one if you were really keen.

In need of a little satorial elegance? How about a fetching strap-on monkey (for your hat of course….); comes with extra long tail and a baby on its back for no extra cost.

Spiritual bank in decline? – how about a necklace with a Buddha in various poses to boost your account?

All this and it still wasn’t dark!  I can imagine that by late evening, it would all be quite messy and not particularly appealing, but we had a ball just watching the world go by in it’s various guises.

After this we wandered a little more and chanced upon Soi Rambutti which Jordan had told me about.  Fan-bloody-tastic. It is only one street back but a world away from Khe Sanh, as my boy had promised.  The chill factor escalated and the freak factor stopped altogether.  It has such a good vibe.  We stayed and had dinner.  Curries for $1.50 and the taste – amazing.  Did I mention how much I love Bangkok.

Last day here tomorrow.  I am sure it will be another good one.

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