Monday, January 23, 2006

Back in Bangkok

So I had a flight with AirAsia back from Hanoi to Bangkok. Get to the airport with plenty of time. That's the thing about planes, lots of hanging about. Circled the airport like a bored tiger in a cage. The most interesting thing was watching these guys clamber about the roof with no safety harness moving among the beams to fix the lights. Rather them than me! After paying taxes on the ticket, you then have to pay the $14 departure tax, presumably it's one of these don't pay don't leave thingies.

Anyway, we defy gravity and pull away into the stratosphere (or wherever planes fly) and all is going well, it's only a 90 minute flight in theory....

Yep, some geezer in Bangkok decided to stage an airshow for Childrens Day tomorrow. Today happen to be the rehersal. Nobody seemed to realise that flying fighter jets and the like in and out Asia's busiest commercial airport, would cause a few problems, havoc in fact!

We ran out of fuel and had to parachute into Bangkok. Not really, we got diverted to Udon Thani airport, where we sat on the runaway for an hour or so. Eventually the captain said we would be taking off shortly now that they had refuelled. The guy behind me excitedly exclaimed "I knew it! I knew we were refuelling!". I didn't think much of his deduction powers, given that the large refuelling truck outside the window was attached to us via a large refuelling hose.

So off back up into the sky, where we circled Bangkok for another hour or so, burning up all this pesky fuel we had on board. We landed without incident (thankfully!) Then we get one of the shuttle buses to the immigration as we appeared to have landed nowhere near it. Typically I was stopped from going on the first bus, but was the first person on the second bus. Meaning that a busload of slow people were in immigration before me, I didn't even have any hand luggage, no fair!!

There is a separate queue for Thai Nationals and foreigners. In the foreigners queue was a Thai family, so one of the officals waved them to the empty Thai queue, this caused a lot of foreigners to assume that a quicker queue was possible and jumped behind this Thai family. The offical then pointed out the sign, much to the digruntlement of the tourists. To the back of the queue with the lot of ya!

After getting through immigration it was back in another queue this time for taxis, not going anywhere quick. At all. Chatted with a guy, going to the same place Khao San Road, got another couple of people and flagged down one of the taxis for a fixed fare (600bt). Only trouble was he was completely blocked in, made it out eventually somehow and into the traffic jam that is primetime Bangkok. Got into a room about 19:00. My flight was supposed to arrive at 14:30. Enough time to grab a bite to eat and meet up with Steve for a beer or few down at Soi Rambutri. Friday night and the place was heaving. Remembered how strong Chang is the next day...

Saturday, just had a stroll around Banglamphu. I thought I was heading straight South but then I turned up to the North of where I was staying, very odd. A quiet day, then when I tried to get to sleep I got munched on my bed bugs or some other horrible nocturnal insect, the previous night I had just crashed out so didn't noticed them. Spend half the night swotting the little buggers.

Unsuprisingly decided to move guesthouse the next day. I went into another nearby guesthouse where a customer was asking when they would get rid of the begbugs, about turn, quick march! I decided I would try and get a guesthouse near the BTS stations. Had a flick through my guidebook and found a place, but the taxi driver went elsewhere, so I tried somewhere else and as I walking towards a taxi pulled up and two people jumped out and checked in before me. No more rooms. I wandered around couldn't find anywhere so back to the guidebook, tried a different area of town the strangely named Soi Ngam Duphli. Got a place there, but wasn't sure where it was in relation to the Sky Train, not very near as it happens, but at least if was close(ish) to the Lumphini metro.

Met up with Steve again for a few quiet beers on Sukhumvit this time. Bit pricier round this area, seems like the Costa Del Sol of Bangkok sometimes!
I had booked my train ticket, nice and easy 2 minutes, not like India! This time I would be sure not to lose it. I had a look around about my new guesthouse and stumbled across a few small restaurant shacks. Didn't think there was much here but when I turned the corner there was about 50 buses parked there, this was the Suan Lum night bazzar. Loads of shops and a giant food court, just the place to devour a chicken! Like a lot of food courts, there is a coupon counter where you exchange your bits of paper for other bits of paper. Pretty tasty! They had some bad band playing way down at the front of the stage, thankfully far enough away to ignore :)

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