I went to see my friend Nok again, who gave me some Tiger Balm to put on my mozzie bite, which wasn't going down at all, and then had a quick lunch before going to my Thai cookery class at The Blue Elephant. The reason I chose this place for my class was because it was literally 5 minutes from Michael's and even though it wasn't my first choice, because it looked more 'dinner party' than any of the others, I thought I couldn't really ignore the fact that it was ultra easy to get to and from.
|I took this pic in the street. Thought my friend Denise might like it!|
There were 14 of us in all, 2 of whom were British Airways crew and whose first comment to me was 'So you live in Bangkok then?' I was thrilled! Fancy being taken for someone who lives in BKK? I must've become a local somewhere along the way!
We started off in the classroom being shown by our teacher how to make the dishes and then we'd hurry next door to the kitchen and get making. It was all a bit rushed, but we were taught baked fish in Thai herbs, spicy glass noodle salad, red curry, yellow curry - the curries I can now make from absolute scratch. We got given an apron and a red curry kit to take home. We also had a draw for a teapot, which I'm pleased to say I didn't win as I don't think I'd have been able to fit it in my bag. Funny when it's better not to win!
|In the classroom|
We all enjoyed the class immensely, learned a lot and the food we came out with was absolutely delicious. Oh yes, and we were on TV. A Malaysian TV channel was doing a programme on The Blue Elephant and so we all had to put our serious faces on. My third TV appearance!
After getting back to Michael's I began to wonder about the mozzie bite. It had started to spread down my arm in thin red streaks and didn't feel like a mozzie bite itch, but was quite painful. Michael pronounced he thought it was a spider bite (yikes!) and if it wasn't better by the next day he'd take me to the docs. I took an antihistamine and slathered myself again in Anthisan and added Tiger Balm for good measure.
We went out to a Mexican restaurant for dinner and I'm thrilled to report that Wednesday night was Ladies Night and that entailed completely free margaritas for all women all night. I had 3, which in hindsight was one too many, but it was fun. Michael wasn't amused that he had to pay for his.
Luckily the bite started to go down. I was mightily relieved I can tell you and decided my own home made remedy of Anthisan and Tiger Balm was a good one so more slathering was performed before I went to meet Michael for a lovely dim sum lunch. After lunch we went to Toys 'R Us as he wanted to buy a present for a 4 year old son of a friend. I put all my boy toy buying skills into action and he ended up buying a Lego dump truck complete with dustbin and toolkit... oh yes.
Then we went back to his place to get changed as Michael wanted to take me to the top of the Hilton Hotel to have cocktails while watching the sun go down. We arrived at 4.30 and left at 8. I'm happy to say I only had 2 cocktails (martinis) in all that time.
|My martini. Now I realise how big it was I can see why 2 took so long to drink!|
The view was spectacular and it was lovely to sit with great company and watch the sun go down and the lights come on.
|The view downtown|
|The sun on it's way|
|Lights full on. On the left is the Skybar where I was a few nights before|
After this we went to an Italian round the corner from Michael's for a delicious dinner and more chat. We ended our day by Michael sitting on my bed cross legged in his shorts talking about clothes and what we were going to do on my last day when I was going to join him and his gay friends for a day out sightseeing. It was hilarious, but maybe you had to be there to see how funny it was!
My day started really well as Michael's housekeeper arrived and gave me a kiss and hug goodbye as she doesn't work on weekends and I was heading out for the day. So sweet and kind. Then I was off shopping for a present for my mum and some bits for boys and MM. Then I had my final foot massage before Michael and I went off to The Thai Cultural Centre to watch the Karlsruhe Ballet Company from Germany do a medley of dances. It was another night of royalty, only this time it was the crowd's favourite, Princess Sirindhorn (who's apparently known throughout Bangkok as 'the fat one') and she, remarkably, was neither late nor demanding. Because of her being there and us sitting in the seats Michael always buys I was on TV for a 4th time! We got a cab back and it was one of those completely mad Bangkok taxi drivers who paid no attention to lanes, other cars or anything else on the road. Think cartoon madcap drive and you'll have it to a T. I kept my eyes firmly shut!
Day 22 - my last day and where I became an honorary gay guy for the day
We had to get up early as we were having Mike, Norman and Eck coming over to pick us up and take us out for the day. Norman and Eck run a tourist guide company and wanted to repay Michael for his kindness to them and Mike is Michael's best friend in Bangkok. I think Geng (Michael's boyfriend) was a bit miffed that he wasn't coming, but there wasn't room in the car so he had to stay behind. Anyway, Norman and Eck wanted to take us to places Michael hadn't been to - as he's been living in Bangkok for 16 years I was surprised there was anywhere.
As we were getting ready Michael came into my room and asked me if I could help him stick the pads for the TENS machine I'd lent him on his bum. Before I could say anything he'd dropped his shorts (he doesn't wear underwear) and I almost didn't know where to look! Still I performed my duties pretty well, or at least I thought so. It turned out later Michael had to go and be 'adjusted' by Eck in the toilets at one of the tourist attractions. I'm saying nought!
We started off at the Erawan Museum, which is a museum inside a 3-headed elephant. Yes.. really!
|Arriving at Erawan Museum|
The inside is fascinating, but before I was allowed in I had to put some trousers on over my shorts as there's a Buddha inside. So I borrowed some from the museum (not my best look!) and off we went. It was amazing. The inside has walls decorated totally in old china dishes and spoons.
|Can you see the spoons?|
There's three floors, which culminate in an incredible ceiling and the top floor is 'heaven'.
|Me in heaven in my borrowed trews|
After Erawan we drove out to Muang Boran or Ancient City. Now this is a place I urge you to visit if you're going to Bangkok. It sounds like it's going to be hideous, but it's truly a-may-zing.
Muang Boran is a huge site which recreates all the important Thai cultural buildings all recreated to a third of their original size complete with paintings and everything. It's a theme park of sorts, but it shows the architecture across Thailand. It also used to be the shape of Thailand, but has recently been extended. By the end of the day I felt I'd visited the whole of Thailand rather than just Bangkok and Hua Hin!
As we arrived we were greeted by a monitor lizard in the middle of the road. It was huge.
|Met and greeted|
The site is vast and we rented a golf cart for the experience. I took so many photos and it's hard to choose ones to show you, so feel relieved that you've got about 1% of what I could have given you!
|The Scripture Repository, surrounded by water and huge lily leaves. The water is to stop termites from eating the building|
|Pavilion of the Enlightened|
|Sumeru Mountain - being redone, but fascinating to see the stranded animals in the mud|
|The other part of Sumeru Mountain with the giant fish surrounding the building|
|Mike, Eck and Michael at the top of Prasat Phra Wihan. This was a bit sneaky of me as none of them like having their photo taken!|
|The view from the top of Prasat Phra Wihan, which is on the Thai/Cambodian border and is currently being disputed. You can see the whole of the site of Muang Boran from the top.|
|The Grand Palace|
We stopped to have lunch at the miniature Floating Market... yum!
|The Floating Market|
After several hours we were all exhausted and opted to go back to Michael's for a cool down and then I had to pack ready to leave.
Michael had ordered me a massage as my last Thai experience and it was a great way to end my holiday. A taxi came to get me at 9.45 pm and, after another madcap ride that took a mere 30 minutes instead of 45, got me to the airport where I had an easy way through security to sit around and wait for my flight at 01.10 am.
I arrived back in the UK at 07.15 am severely lacking sleep and with a broken suitcase. I was so tired and jet lagged I didn't even think to report it at Heathrow, but went straight off to my mother's in London. I did, however, take a photo of the broken lock.
|Thank goodness for having a camera!|
When I got to my mother's I looked at the paperwork for my case and realised it was still in warranty (I bought it 7 years ago and it was guaranteed for 10 years) and I'd bought it from Selfridges, so armed with the paperwork I hiked off to Selfridges feeling less than human with my broken suitcase in tow. They sadly told me as it was airline damage and not faulty goods they couldn't do anything for me but sympathise. At this point I made the decision to buy a new one and junk the old one. My old one was heavy and I wanted something slightly bigger and lighter.
And so it was that I swapped my old Samsonite for an expensive superlight Samsonite that was considerably larger and considerably lighter and left my old one for Selfridges to dispose of.
I have to say Thai Airlines have been wonderful and on the strength of my say so and my photo have already paid me the money for my old suitcase. I only hope that if the new one breaks I'll be flying Thai as I'm sure other airlines aren't quite so generous.
I then treated myself to a dinner at Scott's which was hilarious. I have to say if you ever want an overpriced meal with a whole bunch of very miserable rich people do take yourself there!
After a night's sleep it was time for me to pack my huge new case and get myself to King's Cross. I was given a lift and the friend who lifted my suitcase into his car said, 'Jeeesus, this is a beast!' and thus my new suitcase was christened!
|Meet my new travelling companion - The Beast!|
I made my train no problem and with The Beast stowed I sat down to enjoy my journey back in my cheap first class seat to Scotland - just in case you don't know, if you book really early with East Coast Rail you can get a first class ticket for less than £18, which is pretty good value if you eat everything in site and have wine! This was not without drama - one of the stewards pouring drinks was just pouring my wine when she looked like she was having a panic attack. I did my best 'I know about anxiety' voice and got her to sit down. Her supervisor came while I got her to stop hyperventilating and calm down. We both insisted she took a bit of time out. She recovered fairly quickly and came back to thank me, as did her supervisor. I felt this was rather a good way to come back to reality after a stupendous holiday!
So there you have it... the end of the story of how I ate my way around Bangkok, became an honorary gay guy for the day, chillaxed in Hua Hin and ended up seeing far more of Thailand than I'd initially thought. What a great holiday.
And as they say, 'that's all folks'... normality, in my form at least, will resume soon!