25.08.2010 - 30.08.2010 27 °C
A few days in and we are seeing loads of Bangkok - it's such a bloody sprawl but with taxis across town costing us €2 it's so easy to get around. Really happy at how we've managed to navigate the city, it's taken my sense of direction a while to kick in but surprisingly Will's has been working for the first time in a long time! I've handled the jetlag pretty well and the mosie bite count is at a measly 1. Will, however, hasn't been so lucky, he hasn't really had a good night's sleep since the first night we came here and he's been bitten all over. Usually it's me in that mosie scenario and he can have a bit of an air of smug about him, so, while of course being appropriately sympathetic, I'm quite enjoying it
It's sticky and hot as expected, only 2 big thunder storms so far as the weather is decent, although I do love a good evening thunderstorm...our hostel has a roof garden (covered) which makes a good viewing platform with a few cold beers in hand (at a cost of less than €1 down in hostel lobby!).
The hostel is great (Udee Bangkok), very small, really clean (I've learned that not flushing your toilet paper isn't as gross as I would have thought it was), there is really nice staff and it's close to the lovely airconditioned Skytrain (easiest and simplest big city transport system I've ever used) but far enough away from the city centre to be quiet, as quiet as BKK can be, and safe if the locals fancy a bit of auld riot again. City council elections were held today with no disturbances so that's a good sign. The hostel, for some reason, seems to be full of disgruntled and not so friendly Germans. We've made better friends with the family that runs the place and the maid than any of the guests and they don't speak English.
It's rare to see a Westerner/farang in our little neighbourhood which is quite nice, we're doing a lot of sign language and pointing to pictures and it hasn't failed us yet thank god. We just ate in a little local Japanese restaurant on our road tonight, we've seen no westerners in there at all when we've passed the previous few nights but it was always jammed with locals. We were a bit apprehensive about it but we didn't want to go far this evening and it turned out to be the best meal so far. The staff looked after us so well and had to show us how to eat what we were given while not speaking much English but it was oh so tasty. We had shabu shabu, like an evolution of fondu to create a Japanese hotpot where you cook your own meat in a broth full of veg and pak choi.....I just had it a few hours ago and already I want more (wikipedia explains all: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shabu-shabu).
Next stop Chiang Mai. While we were planning on getting the train up there we found cheapo flights with Bangkok Airways for 50quid so we're being lazy and flying instead (could work out better anyway as there's a bit of flooding in the north and who knows if that would affect the train line). Money is going slowly out of the wallets so far which is great (it helps that the taxman gave me a nice bundle of money back recently so I've actually put money back from my current a/c into my rabo savings a/c...look at me saving while I travel!). I can imagine us staying in Chiang Mai a while but we've only booked 10 nights for starters, we don't have to leave Thailand until 23rd of Oct!!!
So after CM we'll pop back to Bangkok then possibly out to Kanchanaburi for a few days (Bridge over River Kwai stuff out there but apparently nice town in itself) and then back to Bangkok to catch night train to Nong Khai in northeastern Thailand to cross the border into Vientiane in Laos. It's especially amazing to not have to be in a rush...this is my sort of travelling, the kind where if I don't fancy getting up early or going far I don't have to (very very comfy bed in the hostel in BKK) After a month in Laos we will then go back into Thailand to go south to the islands (we've another 60 days on the visa for our second entry into Thailand) and into Malaysia through Langkawi and then into Penang...what happens after that we don't need to know right now
In a nutshell we're both quite content and currently after the meal we've both had....we're both fat and happy (even if Kildare didn't get to the final)