Saturday, 27 September 2008

Strange habits

They say you don't know your mates til you live with them? I think that should be travel with them. I came back to the room to find a post-shower Colonel rubbing his deodorant stick down his pants.

"What the fuck are you doing, Mossy?"
"I get a bit sweaty down here, that's all"
"I wipe it round me arse crack, too"

Fuck about Too Much Information. Remind me not to run out of deodorant and become forgetful of that exchange.

Right, Saigon next up. What the fuck's waiting for us there? Do they do Saigon Chick Boys? I hope it's just a Bangkok Thing. Please.

Bangkok Chick Boys

Had a great meal last night...a nice green curry served by a girl who was so stunningly beautiful, she made me want to cry. Or maybe it was the chillies.

We hit Kiss Kiss Bar later, just sinking a few beers. The Colonel got a little over-excited, but when the madam of the place explained the prices for the lady he was nervously chatting up, he decided he was being scammed and we made a hasty exit. There were some crackers in there, but I don't pay for it. They should be paying me...I can provide references.

We ended up in another gaudy joint, where a lady (at least I think it was a lady) took a shine to me. She kept trying to kiss me, but I found the deep voice rather worrying. Anyway, I managed to fend it off...slapping the hand away from between my legs.

Before leaving, I had a thoroughly bizarre toilet experience. I'd hardly finished pissing and tucking the family inheritance back in my pants when the attendant grabbed me in a bear hug from behind, under the arms, and picked me up off the floor. I thought I was being robbed at first. He shook me up and down a couple of times, dumped me on the floor. Then he twisted my head little, pulled on both of my arms and then my knuckles. Things were cracking which I didn't know were supposed to crack, most disconcertingly my neck? He spun me around and wiped my face and neck with a cool, damp cloth. I tried not to think about where it had been previously . I must have still been wearing a confused look as I palmed the guy a few baht and stumbled out.

In London the toilets aren't as entertaining. It's usually just some bloke from Nigeria who doesn't seem to think you can't manage to wash your own hands, tries to splash you with some stale 80s cologne and then expects a quid for the lollipop/ chewing gum/ boiled sweet he's just bunged you.

I'd had enough. I hailed a tuk-tuk in the street, jumped in and had a chuckle to myself at the thought of what the Colonel had got himself into unsupervised.

Bangkok Rip-Off Merchants

I can sum Bangkok up in a short sentence. It stinks of shit, and everyone is trying to rip you off.

OK, so not everyone. But it DOES stink of shit. But I'm getting the hang of quickly snorting out through my nostrils and holding my breath a few seconds.

I quite like the place, it's a mass of contradictions. Shiny new towerblocks right next to decaying, decrepit concrete buildings from another era. Tree roots growing through crumbling still-inhabited buildings. Beggars kow-towing to orange-robed priests passing carrying laptop bags. It would take a long time to be visually bored of this place. But I'm already bored of being taken for a ride. Literally, at times.

We had a laugh today. The Colonel and myself set off for the MBK centre to get me some trainers, and some local SIMs. The place is massive. 1500 sq kilometres. Anyway, we got a tuk-tuk to The Golden Mount for 100 baht (quid thirty-ish) which was a great ride through the smog. Nothing to report about the attraction (not really) apart from the fact that the view was OK. The second tuk-tuk guy wanted 200 baht and to take us to see some gems. Like we were going to fall for that one? We wandered off, and met another guy who was happy to have his photo taken in his tuk-tuk and posing with The Colonel. Seemed like a nice chap. At the time. I can't remember his name now, but he will be referred to as Pigsy from here on in. I'm not being racist, I assure you that he looked like a hairier version of Toshiyuki.

So, anyway...Pigsy's English was very good. We chatted about football, etc. He was on his break, waiting for a friend. But as soon as we mentione dboat trips, his eyes lit up and we were soon on a hair-raising 50 baht (should have sussed him here) ride to the river.

On arriving, he sat us away from the counter (until some other Westerners had moved...again, should have twigged) and then took us to book a 12 quid, 1 hour ride. We were promised 1. 3 beautiful temples 2. Children swimming in the canals 3. Fish leaping from the waters 4. A floating market. We got:

1. A single temple, half built.

2. One poor little sod who, on seeing us, dropped his little fishing rod and leaped into the canal.

3. An offer to stop and take picture of the leaping fish, who were obviously having a siesta, for a further 20 baht. The cheek of it...

4. This is the best one. The boat slowed, and with the boat in front moving away from a pontoon, we were greeted by three people in Thai traditinal dress. all smiles and bows, until we politely told them we didn't fancy a 20 minute dancing and sword-fighting show for 200 baht. Cue evaporated smiles to be replaced with disdainful sneers and a look from the woman as if I'd told her she'd better get home, because Unle Gary was looking after the kids. The next time he slowed the boat, a woman came across in a small canoe, trying to sell us wooden elephants, bamboo fans and non-brand Thai cola. To say I was bemused is putting it politely, as the boatman pointed at her and said "Floating Market". The Colonel's face set me off.

"Floating Market? Where?" I asked the boatman. "There" he said. "Where?" I asked, rhetorically. "Her". Oh dear. "That's her name? What, like Crouching Tiger and Hidden Dragon?" To say I was mildly annoyed was an understatement, but there's no point getting annoyed. "No more markets, please" and we were gruffly deposited at Wat Pho temple, charged another 20 baht to get off...and then some arsehole tried the Gem Scam. Saw him coming a mile off, to be honest. Told us the Temple was closed, and we should see another one...he'd get us the tuk-tuk. "Do you speak Thai?" he asked as a driver approached. Got your number, mate...see you later.

This country...

Snoring Cats and Death-threats

Well it's 6.40am and I'm wide awake. Decided to come downstairs and write, as The Colonel was snoring like a drunken pig after his Titty-Bar Afterparty escapades (I left him in a fuddled state in a Patpong bar with some keen local woman stroking the inside of his thigh and calling him "Lover Man"). I kept nudging him this morning to stop him snoring...he was driving me insane. The exchange went like this:

Me: "Mossy, stop fucking snoring"
The Colonel (sleep-talking now) : "It's not me, I wasn't even there."
Me: "Mossy...turn over on your stomach...I can't get a wink of sleep."
The colonel: "I don't know what you're on about. I don't have any paper, and I haven't finished downloading it. I didn't download anything it wasn't even me."
Me: "For fuck's sake...I'm going to have to kill you, Mossy"

So I left, and I'm in reception typing this. Far be it for me to comment on The Colonel's sexual predilictions, but I'd suggest Lancashire Police have a look at his hard drive back home, if he's that worried about it?

Oh...and the snoring cat? It's in reception. I've never heard anything like it. I'm sorely tempted to pick the fucker up and throw it in the room with him.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

London Departure/ Bangkok Arrival

Well, it did bring a tear to my eye on my last bus ride through London Fields, after saying ta-ra to my partner-in-comedy, Mr Hodgson...and passing those familiar hangouts and drinking spots (usually one and the same). It's funny, London has felt like my home these last 6 years, but in my last few days I felt like an it had cast me off already. It's time to move on, and find some new trouble to get into...but it was heartbreaking all the same. Having said that, i don't feel so bad in the lobby of my guesthouse in the Kho San Road. A cold bottle of Chang for 50 Baht (around 85p), and I just had my first authentic Pad Thai off a street vendor. Not quite Busaba Standards, but not Busaba Prices, either. You can't complain for 30 Baht, can you? Graddy?

Flight was uneventful. Just the usual of not enough leg room, and some shithouse behind you sticking their knees in your back for 10 hours. Like some sort of free Shiatsu Massage for free. I had a free seat next to me, and was feeling pretty fucking smug about curling up on it...when some late arrival who looked like Henry Cooper was plonked next to me to steal the seat AND my fucking armrest. C'est la guerre. I'm not even going to get started about the freaky couple in front, the woman in a lime green and beige kaftan...the like of which Demis Roussos would have been ashamed to be seen in. And he was better looking, too...

Anyway, I'm sat here sweating like Gary Glitter at Toys Are Us. Goof wasn't lying about the humidity. I'm yet to see if Speckled Jim and Nasty Gay were lying about the be honest, I'm not in a rush to find out.

Already made friends with a Manc in a Bangkok dive shop. Has offered to let me store my gear with him while I'm in Vietnam and Laos/ Cambodia. Little or no diving there, he said. But I may store the gear in the airport lockers for a quid a day, and just take the lighter pack. The room I've sorted for myself and Colonel Kurtz (a soon-to-be-arriving Jeff Moss) is on the 4th floor with no lift. I was sweating like a French rapist by the time I'd lugged both bags up there. I think I've lost a few pounds alrady. Just another 20 to go, then.

Speaking of which, I think I'll have another cheap, authentic, cold Thai beer. Toodle-pip for now.