Bangkok. The smells, the smoke and bloody farangs
Jan 12, 2005
|Well after the excitement of Knachanaburi and our frog skin chips, we needed to get down to Bangkok to get our visas for Vietnam.
So off on the 6am bus, we head to Bangkok thinking we'll be on the bus for about three hours. In total about 5 hours past because Bangkok has such great traffic.
So we get to the Vietnamese embassy, duly fill in our forms and get asked for $2500 Baht each for the pleasure of entering the glorious peoples republic.
After that we head of for the famous Th Koh San aka Koh San Road. It was immortalised by Leonardo Dicaprio as a place of wicked sin. Now it is immortalised by a big plastic Ronald Macdonald performing a Thai welcome in the main street. Yes commercialisation or "americanisation" has hit Thailand full on. Travel on a country road and you will see signs for delicious Pepsi and Coke even in the most ramshackle areas. There must be a pretty low operating margin here in Thailand because everyone sells the stuff.
We arrive at Koh San hot bothered and ready to crash.
Far from being some mysterious place of the far east, it is like a day at the canningvale markets. The game to play here is spot a Thai. It is so white here it is almost see through compared to the rest of Thailand. The only place in Thailand where you can get a felaffel on the main street.
We booked into a small guest house with two single beds and a fan and went to check our glorious surrounds. The first thing I noticed where in this order
1) Most expensive merchandise in Thailand
2) Stupid westerners who think everything is so cheap they refuse to haggle.
3) More stupid people sitting where it was 'cool' to hang out, paying twice as much for thier food and beer than places two streets away
4) The wonderful mindset these vendors have. If you look at an item or display even the slightest interest then you must want to buy it. There is no concept of browsing.
So with all this we went down the street and joined the rest of the farang sitting at a pub. It was almost unsettling to hear music that was sung in english and not have to have a jovival five minute charades sjhow with the waiter to get Pad Thai.
We found out our room was in the worst place that night as we went to bed.
Every Thai bar thinks that if they play offensively loud music people will flock to it. Nothing like drinking away the pain of ruptured ear drums I always say.
Unfortunately this bar was situated below our window. Add that to the three Japanese girls next door and it was a great night.
So we checked out the next morning and went and found some quieter digs. We found a place that was quiet and thirty Baht ( 1 dollar) cheaper! Great we said, book us a room, we'll, even stay two!
So we move into dodgy nicks. In order to stop sleazebags bringing Thai girls back to thier rooms the owner insists on having you key every time you leave.
This mens you have to lock all of our bags every time you leave. Although Thais are supoposed to be Buddhist the old "do not steal" phrase is not in thier vocabulary. I have never met a bunch of people more willing to part you from your cash than the people we meet here. The rules to remember in Thailand are
1) If they talk to you for more than thirty seconds they are scam artists.
2) If you don't pay attention prices magically jump between the "how much" question and the change being given
3) Never use a tuk tuk. They are the most polluting and annoying thinhgs I have ever found.
If you are a foriegner and you are standing anywhere in Thailand then obviously you want a tuk tuk. A tuk tuk is a three wheeled billy cart on a two stroke mower engine that the Thais have invented as a form of transport.Because there are so many of them, competition is fierce. They will pull up beside you, beep at you and always say "you want tuk tuk?"
Always. You could be taking a dump in a quiet alley and a tuk tuk will appear and ask you if you want a tuk tuk.
They hang around bus stops so every time your standing at the bus stop you have to refuse at least twenty. In fact you have to refuse roughly one every five metres you walk. Because Kirsty and I are continuing to europe we like to walk to save money or catch public buses. Most lazy people here enmcourage the use of these pollution causing assholes by being too lazy to walk a block.
The spew out two stroke oil at a constant rate and if you have ever been to Bangkok and seen and breathed the pollution you will know what I am talking about.
So anyway, the most annoying thing they do is pretend they do not understand or that your NO was merely a yes that they will have to coach out of you with a free tour etc (see scam.) So they pull over, turn of the ignition and wait or continually ask you to take a tuk tuk/tour/shit on a path etc.
When your standing at a bus stop, sweat poring out and pack weighing you down they start to aggravate you.
I hate them with a passion.
So Thailand, land of a thousand tuk tuks, money sharks, rip off merchants, bar girls, dodgy tour operators, massage parlours, fake designer everything and sweaty bum cracks.
We both say that we don't like the place, especially Bangkok. I would not say don't come here but I would say have a plan, stick to it and get out. Go south to the beaches, shop your ass off (haggle like a matty), walk a few streets away from th tourist area to pay half the price for beer and food and leave.
The food hygiene here is non existant, the fact you are 'farang' means you want to pay twice as much, it took us four and a half hours to go to the airport and back today, the footpaths are blocked with people selling shit, the road is a maniacs paradise and there is a rat that could pass as a dog living next to my wonderful shithouse/ shower combination.
Anyway , We hope everyone is safe and you all stay that way.
Look forward to hearing from you