|December 13, 2009
We headed back into Bangkok today after a nice lie in. we only had part of the train timetable but hoped we could get to the station and just jump on a train. However, when we got there the next train was really delayed and we had about a 90 minute wait for the next train. The train station was not too hot but the wait just dragged and when the train finally arrived, it was already packed. We managed to get our bags onto the luggage racks (just our small bags, having stored our big ones in Bangkok) and squeezed Elizabeth onto a seat next to a less-than-accommodating old woman! I stood for over an hour of the journey which was fine as there was a nice breeze coming through. It did get annoying though when people just kept walking up and down the train, seemingly for no reason. I didn’t have much room to move as it was so being squashed while someone squeezed past was not much fun. Eventually we entered the city limits and a lot of people got off so I was able to sit for the last 30 or 40 minutes although I was much hotter sat down than stood up.
At the station, we again were frustrated by the taxi drivers, none of whom wanted to use their meters to take us to our hotel. Some of them flat out refused to even take us for a fixed fee so I eventually hailed a tuk-tuk driver and agreed a price – a little more than it should’ve been but I wasn’t bothered and just wanted out of there.
Back at the hotel, Elizabeth was glad of a warm shower and I checked us in for our flight tomorrow before writing what you are reading!
In the evening we headed out to Patpong for some dinner and a “show”! We started off at a place called Tasty Thai which is basically a Thai fast food restaurant. The food was really good and there was plenty of it, too and for under $10 including 2 beers and some spring rolls it was great value.
We then headed to a couple of bars for some beers. The ladyboy bartender at the first one took a bit of a shine to Elizabeth and gave her a Christmas cookie! Elizabeth thought “she” was really sweet, of course, but I just thought it was quite funny. The main reason for heading to this area was to see a ping pong show and we eventually found one that didn’t seem too much of a rip off. A man on the street took us to a place promising us it was no cover charge and no looking fee. Knowing he was likely full of crap, we went along anyway knowing we’d have to pay something at some venue. We settled down at our table and ordered 2 beers but Elizabeth didn’t have much chance to drink hers as I made her take the ping pong bat and stand in front of the stage. It was so funny watching this large woman popping balls out of her, er, downstairs region and watching Elizabeth trying to hit them back! I think Elizabeth managed to hit a couple of the five or six balls fired her way! After the girl had finished, she came over and we gave her a tip and were harassed into buying her a coke. She also took the opportunity to sit down naked next to Elizabeth and have a conversation with her. Elizabeth being Elizabeth was extremely polite but I was struggling not to laugh at the absurdity of the situation.
After that, we saw a girl opening bottles and the final girl was pulling razor blades out, which was a little disturbing. We decided not to stay too long as all the girls expected a tip of some sort even though we weren’t really watching. When we got up to pay for our two beers and the girl’s coke, our bill magically had a 1200 Baht looking fee (about $40) on it, not to mention the coke was 300 Baht – nearly $10 for a coke! I refused to pay the bill and Elizabeth barged her way out. I was not going to pay 1700 Baht in total and eventually gave the woman the 500 Baht for the three drinks and about 300 Baht on top. She kept trying to peer into my wallet and suggest I should pay up but I just dumped the money on the counter and walked out. I knew we would have to pay something but we were only in there about 20 minutes and they were trying to charge us about $50! With the tips we gave the girls it was still about $30 but watching Elizabeth with a ping pong bat was priceless and a once-in-a-lifetime moment – shame I wasn’t allowed to take pictures!
We were both a bit annoyed at it all but looking back it was totally what we were expecting. The whole situation was really weird. A lot of people had suggested to us that this was one of those things you have to experience when in Bangkok and whilst I’m glad (is glad the right word? Maybe not!) we did it, I certainly wouldn’t be recommending it to anyone. Even though it was just strip bars, the atmosphere around Soi Cowboy had been much better and for purely bars Khao San was ideal.
We are leaving Bangkok tomorrow and I don’t think it is a place I would really want to come back to. If we were going somewhere else in the region and had to stop here, I would gladly spend a couple of nights in the city just drinking and having fun but there is nothing much in the city I would come back for, really. It has been a really fun week and we’ve seen some amazing temples, some cool sights and had some good nights out but nothing which compares to some of the other stuff we’ve seen elsewhere. I think we’re getting spoiled.
Amazingly, today is also exactly 5 months since we left Bermuda and it has been an amazing journey so far starting around England and Scotland and to where we are now in Thailand. We’ve still got 8 months left, planning to finally return to the US in August or so next year, and I hope we have many more wonderful things to see. Now, off to Chiang Mai!