Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Hospitality and the Deathwish Taxicabs

So having finally found our hostel after an agonizing walk, (a couple of miles at least through central Bangkok with a full rucksack in humidity that's verging on being under luke warm water) without seeing a single other backpacker and having had no sleep for the bones of 48 hours - we got a cab from the airport but when I said Sukhumvit Soi 38 he only heard the 8 (Soi 8 is very very far away from Soi 38 - I think soi means street incidentally) - we decided that we were too awake to bother trying to get some rest and got a taxi to the Khao san road.

It didn't look too far on the map and the hostel dude said it shouldn't cost more than 100 baht but to make sure and either agree that with the driver or argue with him until he put on the meter. Having had said argument and gotten good and deep on the wrong side of him in so soing he takes off. I won't waste time (especially with this hangover) trying to find colourful ways of expressing how dangerous that ride was, motorcyclists weaving around us at top speed to the point that I thought it was all a show being put on for us, a very near miss with another cab, thundering through a massive roundabout that was thick with cars at 65... That was bad enough but when we had been in the car about 25 minutes with no sign of getting anywhere but deeper into slums I started to get worried. I didn't want to look at Adam's face in case it betrayed a similar dismay. Freaking out is bad enough without someone else confirming that it's probably appropriate. Later on when we finally got to Khao San (it turns out he was probably just doing the 'scenic route' thing that cabbies everywhere pull) we would both exchanges relieved certanties that we were being driven to a squat where some hard men would relieve me of my money, credit cards, consciousness and possibly liver. It made the drink we eventually got that bit better though.

Khao San is mental, one long street where you can't take two steps without being offered a good deal on a 'ping pong' show. I didn't realise they were so into sport over here.

Couple of hours later and we're drunkish. I suggest heading back in the interests of surviving at least the first day but Adam's having none of it (and rightly so) so we walk down the road, whose masses being to dwindle and a few of whose shops and stalls are closing and fend off a couple more invitations to observe a woman perform a lascivous and salacious act of pseudo table tennis and we're grabbed by a quartet of thai girls who insist we go into the club they promote. I'm apalled at the age of the youngest one, who's no more than 12 and out on this street, and ask her age, she agrees to tell me if I agree to go into the club. What could I do? Having been physically and otherwise shoved in the door I ask her again. "42," she says and I'll give her this, she acts it.

Mai, Sum Laff, Was Da Stow Ree and Fern.

I won't go into specifics but thai girls like foreigners. Again trying not to descend into bad form by indulging in vulgar details I'll say this, the thought occured to us, having spoken broken english to a few people that it would be nice to see Bangkok from the point of view of a local. I say this thought occured but it was pretty much thrust upon us. So somehow, frankly langers, a minute later we're piled, two in the front, five in the back, into one of those deathwish taxicabs.

Soon after we're in the one room apartment in downtown Bangkok of a charming girl named Mai, the six or seven of us, Adam and I, Mai and her friends. Talk about a baptism of fire. Some first night...
The view from their balcony.

Edit: I only remember the names of the two on the far left and right in the photo above so the facetious act of attributing joke names was borne of necessity, not cultural insensitivity, I swear.

1 comment:

Derek said...

ha ha u funny bastard.. think i met some laff before. dirth and filth.