Day 2 – Bangkok – Thursday March 3rd 2011
As I lay in bed, trying and failing to sleep, I could sense that the others were doing the same. We had a four-bed dorm to ourselves. Nobody spoke, and only Frank was asleep. Suddenly he woke up and sat bolt upright in his bunk. “Shit, what time is it!” he blurted out. “It’s about 2 o’clock mate.” I said. “Oh no, we’ve wasted half the day!” he shouted as he jumped out of bed, scrabbling around for his things.
“No, Frank. It’s 2am. You’ve only been asleep a couple of hours…”
The look on his face was brilliant. Almost made up for the sleepless night. He still managed to get back to sleep while the rest of us just lay awake until morning.
When morning did finally arrive I was exhausted, and glad to get out of the room. I had a tiny bowl of freebie Cornflakes for breakfast and then we headed for Lumphini Park.
We decided to walk to the park. It was only a couple of centimetres on the map… It turned out to be a few miles away but a good walk, as we got to see some street food stalls and experience the endless lanes of traffic and congestion. An initiation of sorts.
The park was an oasis surrounded by high rise office blocks. There were pretty pagodas and small buildings throughout the park, and a large lake with some sort of Komodo Dragon sentries patrolling the waters edge. The pagodas provided a handy resting stop when an impromptu thunderstorm stopped us walking for an hour.
After the park we stopped for lunch at a Chinese cafe and then bough Ice lollies from Tesco Lotus. We needed some fuel for our walk to the train station.
At the train station a kindly lady with official looking name badge helped us with train times, and ushered us towards a T.A.T (or TAT, I can’t remember) tour office. We thought we would see what they had to offer, and ended up going for a package to get us up to Chiang Mai by train via Ayutthaya and Lop Buri (Monkey Town). The trip also included accommodation in Ayutthaya and Chiang Mai, and a jungle trek for 3 days at the end. We had the next 10 days all planned out and sorted for £100.
Maybe we were naive, but this seemed like a great deal.
Referring back to our map, we saw that our hostel was only round the corner, so off we walked again.
3 hours later, we took a short cut and were wading through a flooded back street, trying desperately to find the canal to get our bearings. Then a thunderstorm started again. Nic nearly lost a flip flop as it floated off down the road. We found the canal eventually and followed it through tiny alleyways and houses on the edge of the water. Occasionally a local would pop their head out and point us in the right direction. Helpful happy Thai people.
As we crossed a bridge, Chick slipped and ended up on one knee proposing to Frank. She cut her leg a bit.
We did eventually find the hostel, and although exhausted, we were glad to have seen such a hidden side of Bangkok. If we hadn’t got lost, we would have never met those locals, and never known about their little houses along the canal.