Day 52, Saturday 25 Feb 2012, Bangkok
As seems to be the tradition lately I had a lousy sleep, if I slept at all. Up earlyish for an explore of the hostel and to see if they had free breakfast at or at least coffee – they do. The hostel is nice, roof garden, good views and a nice little shrine out the front. We are on the 4th floor, under the roof garden and there seems to be a good number of, mainly young, people here. It was a good choice I think, hard to choose hostels on the internet.
After breakfast I got the wireless log in and checked my email and had a message from an old friend Trudi. I travelled Europe in a Volkswagon Kombi van in 1987 with Trudi, two of her sisters and my then wife, Deana. Trudi is Australian and is working for their immigration service out of Colombo in Sri Lanka and has come to Bangkok for the weekend with her daughter Bella. We made a plan to meet for a meal later in the day, it will be great to catch up as I have only seen Trudi a couple of times in the past twenty five years.
The plan was to go and see some of the key sites this morning and then head to one of the big malls for some aircon, lunch and for me to get a few things, zip lock bags, new board shorts, t-shirt and more USB drives being top of the list. However the hostel manager told us to go checkout Chatuchack, supposedly the worlds biggest market, which is only open on the weekends and a convenient ride away on the Skytrain – so we did…
The market is huge ! 9000 booths selling a mix of clothes, shoes, bags, shoes souvenirs, fake watches, jewellery, household items and general tat. I loved it and could have spent a day there perusing and shopping. The t-shirts were amazing, the best range I have ever seen of t-shirts that I would buy for ME to wear, I may go back tomorrow and buy a load to post to NZ, at about $5 a shirt you cannot go wrong. I did buy some new O’Neil brand boardies ($10) a t-shirt ($5) and a pair of shorts with zip pockets ($6), that I wore tonight and may be a bit small, damnit – i think it was all the beer 🙂
Not one of the shirts I would wear, but i did like it.
One of the things I really enjoyed about the market, especially after the Philippines, was it was entirely smoke free, even outside ! Bangkok – you are awesome.
But similar stuff to the market, though I did pick up another dry weight t-shirt for a couple of bucks and will send some other less useful clothes back to NZ tomorrow – though mum, I will wash them all first time ! I sent mum a package from Miri in Malaysia with some not quite so clean articles in and it just arrived the other day, I think mum had to wait a couple of days to build the courage to open it.
On the subject of packages, earlier this week I also received an email from the shipping company in Auckland advising that the box of stuff I delivered to them before Christmas to ship to the UK (my good camera, laptop and winter clothes) finally left on Feb 24th!
Outside the mall there was a group of what appeared to be uni students, doing something, not entirely sure what, there was a small march and some “singing” and dancing and some dressing up, I dont think all the girls were girls 🙂
After the mall we went back to the hostel and I did the usual catching up with blogs and emails and talking to friends. I also gaffer taped over the video record button on my camera as I keep accidentally pressing it and recording hours of video of the inside of the lens cap – and flattening the battery. I finally found a use for the small amount of gaffer tape I brought with me! Some bits around the hostel.The neighbours.
I caught up with Trudi and Bella at Asok station, couple of stops up the line from where I am staying, we had dinner in one of the local food places and it was the hottest noodles I have had – had to have a couple of Singha’s to wash it down. Great to catch up with Trudi and I am tempted to go to Colombo on the way over to Europe. I will see what flight options there are.
After dinner I had a beer on the hostel roof with Mike and then called it a night.
A good first day in Bangkok, clean, easy to get around and reasonably hassle free – it was much better than I expected.
Auckland band Muckhole were around in the late nineties but I only saw them once. It is a big call but I think they are my favourite ever Auckland punk band, I mean I loved the Spelling Mistakes and the Scavengers, The Warners and a string of other bands, but these guys were cool and their records were well made and sounded great. Muckhole – Cool guy