On the second day Tom took me to a cheap mall called MBK. It is huge and has a great food court you can buy almost any food and where Tom and I ate random Thai food from a vegetarian stall. After food we met Craig along with Bow, a Thai medical student that that Craig is friends with. Bow speaks pretty good English and led us on a tour through what seemed to be 3 connecting malls starting with MBK (the cheap one) and ending with Siam Paragon (the biggest and most expensive in Thailand). To put this into perspective Siam Paragon is like a six storey version of the Bullring in Birmingham. Bow seemed very nice and was more than happy to lead us around and answer all our questions. One thing that I learned that surprised me is that Thai students have to be back in their accommodation by 9pm and aren’t allowed any guests at all. Tom and Craig luckily didn’t have to respect the curfew but they did have to plead with house keeping so that I could be allowed in to see their room. It’s too bad and has basic air conditioning plus its pretty cheap to stay in and has an ensuite. In fact if you overlook the dated decor its pretty reasonable. I took some interesting night shots from the balcony which I have also uploaded.
For my second night in Thailand the guys decided to take me on a typical Thai night out. Not the tourist kind but a night out as experienced by the locals. We started off with Thai food at Ana’s garden which as a restaurant that has been built around the trees and plants that were already there giving it a relaxed disorganised feel. The food was excellent and we all split 5 Thai vegi dishes so that we got to taste a good selection. Craig has been very good at putting up with eating vegetarian so that I can try more which means I must have tried 15 or so dishes so far. Anyway after food (and beer) we went to a club called Ice bar to experience Thai student clubbing. Ice bar was unlike any club you would ever see in England. Firstly when you arrive you are escorted to a table by several staff. This is necessary as it is incredibly dark. In fact all the staff carry torches so that you can read the menus. Another unique thing about Thai clubs is that there are no dance floors, Everyone just dances and tries to avoid hitting the tables. Drinks wise you are meant to order a bottle of Whisky and then order mixers when required. We opted for the smallest (700ml) bottle of Johnny Walker Red Label and cola and soda water to mix. The staff bring your drinks to the table and pour you a drink with your required mixer. Everything is done to maximise your comfort and minimise the effort that you have to put in. When you glass is empty it is instantly refilled. Not being used to this system it can be a little uncomfortable to have a staff member standing by you all night but we made sure they got a reasonable tip and they all seemed very appreciative. The music was mostly live and played by what can only be described as a Thai rock with punk influences band. the music was actually pretty reasonable if a little generic, though I imagine that not knowing the language probably didn’t help. Tom and Craig said that it was pretty good that night normally the music is more Thai pop which from what I’ve heard seems pretty poor. The night was actually pretty good fun and it was nice to be in a club where we didn’t see a single other westerner!
Okay well I was going to stop here but since I have a few minutes left I may as well use them! So the third day was pretty relaxed, we all felt pretty wrecked from the previous night so went for the greasiest 2pm breakfast food we could find. This turned out to be a pleasant little restaurant 30 seconds from where we are staying where we got a fried English breakfast adapted for Thailand. Not something I’d want too often but interesting and very good for a hangover I also had a banana smoothy which was delicious! Craig had stuff to do after breakfast so Tom and I took a water taxi to Kho San road (not the correct spelling, just a guess) which is a hub for backpackers (here backpacker and tourist seem to be entirely interchangeable). It was an interesting place but really just too touristy, and on the bright side this time the sex trade was absent. As we were about to leave I experienced my first torrential Thai rain which flooded the street and pavement and left us stranded in a bar for an hour (I guess it could have been a lot worse!) Our evening was pretty low key, Thai food was good, Tom was a little down as he had plans cancelled with his girlfriend and we were all pretty tired. We went to a posh looking bar and Craig and I discussed morals, politics, the state of the UK and communism at length.
While Bangkok is an amazing city unlike anywhere else I have been before has also left me feeling troubled. The gap between rich and poor seems to be so much wider here than anywhere else I have been to. I would love to talk more about this but I am out of time. We fly to Vietnam tonight so expect an update either very soon or not for quite a while, depending on the availability of internet access. Also after having no mosquito bites so far one of the little bastards just got me 6 times on the leg, I did manage to kill it though!