Totally chillaxed by being at Chiva-Som and ready to take on the world, so much so that even a last minute mozzie bite didn't phase me, the hotel organised for me to take a taxi to the bus station - even I don't love buses that much that I want to drag my suitcase on a local Thai bus - I arrived ready for my bus only to find I'd been taken to the wrong bus station - so the management at Chiva-Som got one back on me! However, being chillaxed certainly has its advantages and I made the decision that a trip to Bangkok's airport and then getting in to Michael's from there would be an ok adventure and at least another time I'd know the bus routine.
The bus was great. Airline-type seats, air con and an onboard toilet certainly made the over 3 hour trip to Suvarnabhumi Airport no problem at all. And when I got there I knew exactly where I was and how to get myself into Bangkok. Because of the time (as in not rush hour) I decided on a taxi from the airport. It cost a mere 300 Baht (just under £6) and would have been not much cheaper to get on the Skytrain and then a taxi from the stop point to Michael's and was certainly a whole lot more convenient.
Michael had told me he was going to be away for the weekend and so when I got to his I made myself at home and then made it to the Sirocco Skybar with no problems this time. Had a martini and took some pics and then headed off to get something to eat. I felt I was a dab hand by this time at getting to where I wanted to be, but was a touch mistaken as the taxi I got into took me to the wrong end of the road I'd asked for, but at least I managed to walk in the right direction this time!
|View from the Skybar|
The next day I'd made a plan to visit Jatujak Market, which covers a whole 35 acres and absolutely filled to the brim with stalls. And I'm pleased to relate that I made it there with no problems at all.
It was a helluva'n experience. I actually went to see if I could buy my mother a present of a Thai book rest, which is something I'd spotted ages ago that I could buy from the States at an overinflated price with an even more overinflated price for postage. Michael had already warned me that he doubted I'd find such a thing in Bangkok as most Thai's don't read. Could I find it out of over 15,000 stalls? The short answer is no. I did spend an hour and a half looking though, but after that I'd almost lost the will to live.
I did buy a rather nice Kipling bag for myself... well ok it wasn't a real one (it cost about £8 whereas the real thing cost ten times that if they even made them in the style I bought), but is great. I also overheard someone asking if the pearls were real (they cost 250 Baht (less than a fiver) whereupon her husband told her to look at the price. And this, friends, is the story of JJ market. If you want something cheap it's great and if you want to spend a lot of your life looking for it, it's also great. An experience? Yes. One to be repeated? I hope not!
|'I saw a man today with a mango on his head' Oh yes, I really did!|
Michael and I went out for a Vietnamese dinner and took almost 3 hours as we were deep in conversation. What a lovely way to spend an evening.
I went to Jim Thompson's house, which was a delight. Jim Thompson's is a fascinating story of money and intrigue. His body has never been found and no-one knows what really happened to him, which considering he was one of the most famous Americans to live in Asia is quite remarkable. There were lots of lovely fish in the garden. Most of them seemed to be living alone in large pots, which I found rather sad.
|Poor old lonely fish|
In the evening Michael had invited me to go to the Foreign Correspondents' Club (he's a member) to see 'The Act Of Killing'. It is hard to describe this film, but if it does come your way do go and see it. It was very long and very uncomfortable viewing, but compelling. It also mirrored what I'd been reading in 'The King Who Never Smiles' (the book Michael had lent me). I'm not surprised the Thai Government have banned the book.
In the morning I discovered I'd been bitten again and after slathering myself in Anthisan I took a boat ride up and down the Chao Phraya river. It was lovely. Took loads of pics, but I won't bore you with them. There were a couple of very sad sights. The rains had caused flooding and watching people having to clear up wasn't pleasant viewing. Also some fish that had been stranded in the flooding were being fed white bread and coloured popcorn by the locals. I know this was done out of kindness, but made me want to cry. It also has spurred another poem called 'Victims of the flood', which I'm working on.
|Victims of the flood|
|One of the many junks out on the river|
Come back tomorrow and (hopefully) you'll get the last part of my Thai holiday. Seeya then!