Thank god it was a Saturday to 'kick off' my week in Bangkok. Saturday for me means football. It always has and pretty much always will. It also seems that wherever I am in the world, this weekly event in my life will never change, even in summer.
Everybody should have a passion, regardless what it is, and mine is football.
Even though I love the game and regardless of it's sceptical comments (i.e. "blokes just kicking a ball around") it also brings people together. I knew that and used it to my advantage to get to know people. As Manchester United kicked off at 10pm, Bangkok time, I approached the 'lucky bar' on the Khao San Road. All the tables were taken in front of the three TV's that lined the terrace but I didn't stop there. I asked a couple of lads if I could sit down at one of their tables 'to watch the game'. Well, you wouldn't think from that moment my new aquintences, Bas (Thai) & Ron (Dutch),
would have partied until 6 am in the morning in Gazebo, a known hotspot for excellent live music, and disco bar. I was, though, shocked to have had been offered drugs by a fellow Scot. Although Thailand is massively strict on drugs, and if caught you'll get around twenty in the Bangkok Hilton, it seems young lads are quite content to carry on them a bag of pills and risk a heavy jail sentence, yet probably make peanuts before that time even arrives. Anyway, despite the young lad hailing from my home country I still took great pleasure to say 'sod off', the 'Gazza Weer' way.
Thankfully, both Ron and Bas, shared the same passion as I. We were able to talk alot about football. We also discussed Thailand's drug and corruption culture amongst loads more other things that one shouldn't really mention on this blog. I suppose 'Ladyboys' is pretty much an accepted topic since it does capture the world's attention and imagination. Fortunately, for me, I didn't come across any. Even with the the regular offers of visiting the "ping-pong" shows for only 30 bhat didn't do it for me since their was always something sinister behind those ridiculously cheap prices. The idea was that you get in a 'tuk-tuk', and they take you to the show. One lad who I met on the second night, said they end up charging you more at the door, or they take you to an unknown area of Bangkok, say a quiet street, and rob you of all your belongings. Well, I wasn't prepared for that and continued to enjoy myself around the bars and clubs in the Khao San Area.
For those who don't know the Khao San Road Area at night, picture dazzling neon lights on a stretch of road, about 400 metres in length, Illuminated as well by many different types of people from the four corners of the globe coupled with lots of bars and market stalls plying their late night trade due to influx of these many foreigners. As well as us westerners, there are obviously Thai's around, although the place is mainly habitated for the backpackers, and city partygoers.
The second night consisted of more football. I had arranged to meet Bas and Ron to watch the London derby. We agreed to meet at the same bar. However, I was pleased to see that somebody else was playing my same game too. Having arrived to bar half an hour before kick off, I was approached by a female (no, not a ladyboy, please). She was from switzerland and was sitting right in front of me, when suddenly, she challenged me to a game of pool. She was young, very timid and shy but she did launch herself, and that is what I liked, so I naturally agreed. As we approached the table, any attempts to have me on her own were gone when we were suddenly challenged by two other young travellers. So, doubles it was. After a couple of racks I was then greeted by my two mates. They were mates, otherwise they wouldn't have turned up. It was a shame both of them were leaving the following morning (Although Bas is Thai he studies in Canada) and only had time to catch the match. After the match, we said our goodbyes and headed back to the table. Now, even more people joined and at one stage we were around twelve in total. We carried on until 6am drinking Changs and Singhas, and having a real good time. We all left our seperate ways but throughout the night I was challenged yet again by Miss Swiss, this time to agree lunch the following day before she left for Chiang Mai. I declined by not showing the following day. I believe in Karma (I'm now Buddhest, by the way) and trust me, I have received some bad back. Those on Facebook might know what that was. I might tell later on in this blog.
The next again day, I met Ian again. I had saw him as he checked in on the Saturday. I made some small chat again with him, and we both agreed to go out for some quiet beers. Yeah, right..! We played pool at the same place and ran into some of the lads from the previous night. As Ian was flying to Pattaya (a beach resort in South Thailand) the following day, he retired and said his goodbyes too. This is the night when I ran into the Polish girls and experienced one of the things you wouldn't normally do unless drunk enough to be convinced. This is the story of the bet.
So, there were three of us lads. After playing pool and getting a little bored with the same old, we grabbed some noodles from one of the many street vendors (food was delish by the way) and headed up the Khao San Road for a bar, not just any bar, but a bar with music, beer and candy. I selected the seats, and instantly made chat with the polish girls. As I was talking with them the lads (names still unknown) had decided to order plastic sandcastlesque pails of Rum and Coke, and at an offer of 2 for 1. There was just no debate in the matter. The more I talked with the girls though, the more the other lads drank. As they finished their first bucket, I was egged on to finish mine off and the many straws provided with the buckets were almost forced into my mouth to drink. So, by the time the last bucket was consumed I was completely, using my own popular choice of word, 'gone'. That's when the bet came in, and quite stupid it was.
Although, I talk of the Khao San Road, I describe it to you retrospectively. I thought it was another street. The same street where the airport bus dropped us off. Message to Noemi, this is how we got lost on our very first walk. I had taken the Khao San Road as that very same street where the bus dropped us off. Mind you, it doesn't help if the front of the airport bus had said Khao San Road. So, as I was completely sure the Khao San was perpendicular to the real Khao San, Marta, one of the Polish girls, decided to bet an earpiercing. At first, due to the loud noise of the music that she said, "an earbashing", I agreed 100% to the bet. So, when I lost, off I went for my earbashing. We
walked down the street until we were chatting to what turned out to be ther owner of a parlour for tattoos and piercings.
What would you have done?
In a drunken state, please bear in mind?
Well, even though some might say, "irresponsible so and so". I actually quite like it, and.....it's staying.
So, again, the night finished with more goodbyes after that. We are facebook mates (Marta and Karolina), and I hope I stay in contact with the girls as they've marked my life, literally. They left for Chaing Mai the following day, and are still there. Although it sounds like a very short story, we had talked throughout the night for about 5 hours....non stop.
Okay, in short, and as not to bore. The following and final night belonged to me, myself and Gary. All three of us decided to go off for a walk. I badly wanted to see bangkok. Not through the tourist sites, not by shopping, or take the open top bus top. I decided to go to the tallest building in BKK.
Sky for a reason. It touches the sky, and I wanted to do exactly that.
For a few years I've wanted to touch the sky in all senses, and I can now say that I have finally done it. It's not the tallest building in the world, but at 1am, after all my adventures in Thailand for the last 11 days, I was certainly the tallest in the 'land of the smiles', with my hand reaching the sky. I was now living the dream. My dream.
When I said we went for a walk, we sure did have to walk to get there. We trailed through the poverty stricken, down and out areas, right up to the flush high rise hotels and shopping commercial zones of the capital. The skytower was visible all the way from the start of my pilgrimage and I followed the natural path there the same way the three kings were guided with the holy star. I 'were' the three kings that night.
The tower is 88 storeys high, and up there I enjoyed a Singha beer and reflected on the amazing journey I have been fortunate enough to have had. Thanks to absolutely everything and everyone in my life, I have enjoyed this experience. It was hardly a 6 month sabbatical or anything like that but it sure was a journey to find more about the world, and about me.
Right, I was going to be short with that so I'll wrap this penultimate blog up with my bad Karma. It wasn't really bad come to think of it, as I write, but I just sure wish I had the chance to have had invited the wonderful barmaid close to my hotel for some 'khao', nothing more. Despite getting on well, she didn't want to, citing a sore throat and cold. It was true but maybe had she really wanted too, she would have agreed. Maybe had I time to persist further then she might've but hey you win some you lose some, take the rough with the smooth, but gotta keep battling against the odds, should they be against you. I did ask at least so I'm happy with that.
I spent everyday looking into her unbelieveable blue eyes as she served me my morning brew of PG tips.
Having lived part of the dream, it's time to continue dreaming dreams to have more dreams come true.