28.01.2009 - 04.02.2009
OK, so since we last spoke, we were on Koh Phi Phi. We stayed for a few more days, our accommodation was great and Phi Phi is a fun place to hang around.
Our last few days we generally chilled at bars and on the beach. On one occasion we were happily sipping beers and watching the sea life when a gaggle of “larger women” plonked (quite literally) themselves in front of us. One of them (the one in the centre) actually had the same shape figure as a Manatee (look it up) – all topped off with horrific hair beads. Those beads should be banned.
A truly shocking sight. I always feel sorry for really fat birds that don’t have any breasts – totally unfair for them (you can’t see the front, but trust me, her figure was basically like a lump of play dough). The saddest thing is we saw similar girls wolfing down full English breakfasts the other day. Still, I know I’m hypocritical, smoking myself to death, but I’m stopping before I’m 40 – i.e. in a month or so – then I can be as mean as I like about lardies.
Moving on to prettier subjects, Kirstin found her own private island….
After our beers we wandered down to the far end of the beach where we hadn’t been so far and found a really cool beach bar.
So we sank some more beers, and yes, you guessed it, I managed to injure myself again, this time stubbing my toe on a plank of some sort….
I’m getting truly frustrated with my “Mr Bean” ability to hurt myself now. Still, a small cut and a large blister. I’ll get over it.
Three younger Swedes were on the beach playing Frisbee so I joined in……
What a catch!. We had a good laugh, drunk more beers, then arranged to meet up later at a bar that has a boxing ring, where anyone can challenge anyone else, all for a bucket of drink.
It was a bit of a shocker when we saw the first two contestants were young girls! – one chick was on her own and the other had a gaggle of Essex girls behind her for support. They kicked the shit out of each other! The Essex girl won. No surprise there.
After that, lots more lads had a go with varying levels of success. One memorable fight was a guy who clearly knew what he was doing against another who hadn’t a clue. Carnage. At one time, a guy entered the ring and refused the offer of a head guard. He trounced the other chap. I guess that was a bit of a hint… bit like a gladiator saying, “no need for a sword mate” – time to run.
After that I can’t remember much, but we ended up at a beach party for a short while.
We also ate some more street food. Chicken on skewers, or as Kirstin called them, “bacteria on a stick”. Which reminds me, I had the most fantastic snack the other day. Lots of street vendors offer up fried chicken legs – huge things – not in breadcrumbs like KFC you understand, just deep fried so they are very crispy and dark. On their own, they don’t really appeal, but I carefully instructed one chap to slice mine up, sans bone, and put it in a white bread roll with just mayo. He looked bemused, but dutifully made me the goddamn best chicken sandwich I’ve ever eaten. All that crispy skin! It was heaven! As I was devouring it, a young Australian chap wandered over, looking very concerned, and asked me (In a strong Aussi accent), “Is it safe mate!?!” - , “Sure”, I explained, “As safe as any Thai food – can’t be sure, but at least you can see them re-cook it on the grill, and prepare it in front of you – God only knows what goes on in the kitchens in a normal restaurant”.
With this encouragement, he ordered, and a few minutes later, asked how mine was made, got my advice, and had exactly the same. I’m fairly sure the street vendor will be making many more fried chicken mayo baps. Hey may even be the future founder of TFC.
With a minging hangover (large Chang beers – thanks!) we jumped on a ferry to Phuket, to catch a bus back to Bangkok. I took the trouble to read the Phuket Gazette – wow – what a place – they get one tourist death on a scooter EVERY day. That and shootings, muggings, etc. Not a place to venture out on the streets at night, and especially on a scooter! A lot of the crime is boiling down to the fact that Thailand is suffering a huge loss of tourism after the troubles at Bangkok airport in December, and on top of that, the global recession.
A foreign guy on the ferry put his music player on at full volume (a phone I think) – it was truly awful – some warbling lady at ear piercing levels. A French contingent of people in front of us were looking pissed off, and with my serious hangover, I snapped. “Dude! Turn that crap off! – Get some headphones” – with that prompting the French joined in , supporting me, and he buggered off with his lady to the outside deck. Seriously, what are people like? Why would you ever think that sort of behaviour was ok? Idiot. There seems to be a pattern of Russian sounding people behaving like this as we travel……
At Phuket we got a Government bus to Bangkok. You can get tourist buses but they have a horrific reputation for delays, and more importantly, luggage thefts. They are cheeky enough to put a chap in the luggage hold, and during the 12 hour trip, he goes through all the backpacks, stealing anything valuable. The amount of reports I have read about people having their wallets emptied is incredible. I mean, who in their right mind, puts their wallet in the baggage hold!?!? The Thais are even cheeky enough to crawl, in the dead of night, through the bus, going through people’s day-bags!
The Government buses are cheaper and totally safe. So we booked a first class bus to Bangkok and waited around for 1 hour before boarding. We could have got a “VIP” class bus, where the seats are wide in a way the airline business class seats are, but it was £20 instead of £12 each and we decided that as we’d be asleep the whole way, what’s the point?
As it turned out, the bus was great. We boarded at 6pm, watched a movie on my laptop, ate the free dinner provided, put our earplugs in and eyeblinds on (courtesy of first class Emirates airline :- ) ) and went to sleep.
We woke up at 6am, in the centre of Bangkok (we did get woken up at 12am for dinner in a café – we declined, a very odd time to eat!). After that, we got totally ripped of in a taxi – they told us it was 35k’s to the centre of Bangkok and charged us £6. It was 5k’s and should have cost about 80 pence. Ah well, you can’t win all the time.
(I’ve just moved inside from our balcony in Kanchanburi – you’ll see a pic later – it is sooo hot in Thailand right now, you have no idea. Unreal. And England is engulfed in snow! – all those years with a 4x4 and NOW it snows. Bah!)
Anyway, we chilled in Bangkok for a few days, just to get a feeling of normality back, and fast food….
(Yep, they deliver McDonalds to your room at no extra charge)
We spent most of our time watching the freaks on the Koh San Road, and Soi Rambuttri, where we stayed. I’d show you pics of tattooed nightmares with dreadful hair etc, but this bird was a classic…
(part sofa, part aquarium. What was she thinking?)
After we’d had enough of Bangkok (which doesn’t take long) we decided to go to Kanchanaburi, a provence of Thailand that hosts the “Bridge over the river Kwai” – although the truth is, it’s not on the Kwai, the author of the blockbuster film got it wrong, but the Thais, being creative chaps, renamed the stretch of water under the bridge to match the name of the film.
This time we decided to take the train as we’d enjoyed it so much going down to Cambodia last year. It is slower and a little more expensive than the bus but a much more enjoyable experience.
The station is not far from where we were staying so we decided to walk, avec backpacks etc. Half way we realised the error of our ways and got a tax. Talk about hot and sweaty! – A beer was in order….
And then the station..
T’was a lovely journey and we arrived in good form in Kanchanaburi and jumped on a random songthaw (taxi thing) and got dropped off at a random lodge on the river Kwai (not really the Kwai, you understand). We didn’t like the place so we walked for 2k’s to one we’d read about. It’s on an island on the river. After much asking around we were put on a small ferry shuttle boat and taken there. No idea how much, or what it was like, and it was dark. We laughed on the boat – we really didn’t have a clue.
As it turns out the place is lovely. We have a room which two of its walls are glass sliding doors, looking out over the river. A touch pricey though at £26 a night.
(Not a bad way to start the morning)
(Their longtail boats are different here – there are no waves – it’s a river, so they are like “Speedtails”)
Today we took the free boat to shore and hired a scooter and went off to see the Allied Cemetery ..
…and then the War Museum – which catalogued the history of the trauma that was the making of the railroad though the region, under Japanese control (horrific).
After that we scooted up to see the famous “Bridge over the River Kwai” – kind of disappointing really – expected it to be far, far bigger….
But interesting none the less.
We also spotted lots of accommodation for way less than we are paying so we’ll move tomorrow – we are paying 1300 baht and we’ve found AC rooms with good views for under 300 baht…. And I had to buy petrol for the scooter…..
(Petrol in whisky bottles, 40p each. Classy)
It is so quiet here it is unreal. The island resort we are on – well, we are the only people bar 4 Germans. The other guest houses are empty. When we get the free ferry shuttle to our island we are always alone.
It’s lovely, and kind of “real Thai” here. We went out of our way to drink in shitty looking local bars today – and they are very cheap. We’ve been paying 70 Baht (£1.50 for a beer) up until now, but today we’ve paid as little as 40 Baht (£75p) for the same beers. In fact, our resort is so expensive for beers that today we bought some beers in the market for a fraction of the price, 2 x big bags of ice, and a bag of salt, and I’ve made a “freezer” out of our sink. Saved over 100%! Our beers are chilling (or maybe freezing) as I type – ready for after dinner when we watch the marathon that is “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”. 3 Hours.
(Watched the new James Bond last night – a bit contrived and very confusing about what the bad guy is up to. Good pace and action, but they are starting to lose the plot – the bad guy is supposed to be building a world dominating space station, or a special nuclear island, not starve people of water to make some money – bit gay really)
Off to the waterfalls tomorrow then and I’ll report back.....