Another mammoth journey, and now deeply entrenched in Bangkok. Vietnam airlines wasn’t so bad, but obviously a step down from etiadh etc. vy limited in flight entertainment, and mostly Vietnamese films and music…but anyway I couldn’t be bothered. Service not so much with a smile, and forgetful! Anyway, my neglected gin and tonic order becomes 2, what joy. Hard to sleep with the overhead screens on all night, and flickering with Bruce willis escaping exploding cars in Russia, though it looked suspiciously like Budapest to me. There’s a woman across the aisle who seems to be vomiting with alarming frequency.
The transit in Ho Chi Minh could have been smoother, but for absence in signs, procedures or systems. Ho chi minh hasn’t quite got it together to be a modern transport hub!
So, having left at 1pm uk time, and with the journey taking 14 hours in total, it didn’t fit my body clock to sleep until arriving in Bangkok, but by then it was morning, and 30 degrees. An experimental languid journey in getting from the airport to khaosan area, where my hotel is. The train is fine, the 2 sky train journeys are fine, and the leg on the chao praya express (tourist boat) was slow but cool.
The big mistake came when I got off at the pier for the king’s palace, and had to push my way along a pavement teeming with Buddhist trinket and cold drink sellers, and food hawkers. that indefinable but quintessential aroma of bangkok, hits me and hangs like a fugue in the heavy sticky air. To my amazement only one tuk tuk shark heckled me. They must be losing the knack, or maybe I have the aura of I know what their game is?? The walk was taking an age, and actually I wasn’t even quite sure how far I still had to go, so I jumped on a moving number 1 bus, and pay my 15p or whatever, then the bus reaches a grinding halt. The bus in front has had an incident with a large woman on a motorbike who is now involved in an altercation with the driver. Once we get going again progress is rapid, but I still manage to get off too late and have to walk the last few hundred metres. An epic journey just to get to my hotel. It’s called the green house and is above a lively backpacker travel agency and restaurant. The room is surprisingly quiet and comfortable, and I’m glad I’m not on the khaosan road.
I have wifi and I get a sim, but no word or reply from hon. I’m beginning to believe my hororoscope from the evening standard that told me prepare to be let down by someone and make a plan b. ominous, bearing in mind my choice of book for this trip is a re-read of tiziano terzano’s ” a fortune teller told me” , in which the writer against his own better judgement decides to follow by letter of the prediction the words of a Hong Kong fortune teller. Anyway after a kind of doze, I hear from him and we make a plan to meet.
Downstairs in the travel agency nobody has the faintest idea about how I should get to nang rong. In fact neither the young American guy nor the Thai woman have heard of it. Surely not so strange a route..I thought this was the place to use as a base for phanom rong.
It’s started to rain and I go looking for the little courtyard restaurant I found years ago with fabulous vege food. It’s empty as before, and feels forlorn and forgotten. There are many Thais coming in and out with bags of ice, crates of drink, a trolley with an amp and sound system. Busy, but to what ends? Maybe this is party city at night time. The cook ( maybe ) watches volleyball on tv, whilst a young guy comes up his fin in the mirror by the bar.
I order spicy wing bean salad and its very spicy! Sweet, aromatic, hot…just what I had hoped. And a mango shake. My favourite.
Once you make it into Bangkok you feel almost trapped, so time consuming and slow is it to get around. So dense and impractical is the traffic. I don’t want to stay here too long, but tiredness and the need to recover is going to be a factor.