And so the cycle of solo and social travel comes full circle again. Steph returned home to weather colder than any beer I have drunk. And the weather here in Bangkok is colder than any beer drunk in the UK, according to everyone in the world but Steph. The crazy Bangkok winter has passed, taking its cold 30 degree days with it. I can happily report it now hovers around a more comfortable 32 degrees. Ideal for just wallowing in your room.
Unless of course the room you choose to stay in takes the crap cake when it comes to shit holes. A room where Nature has struck a symbiotic relationship between cockroach, rat and backpacker. At least it is spacious and allowed me the pleasure of kicking over a bottle of water and watching it flow into the neighbors room. A neighbor who spent the evening singing the entire 27 zillion syllables of the Ramayana by stretching each moaning syllable out to about 2 minutes. If it hadn't of been vaguely melodic, I would have called the paramedics.
That there was a squat toilet on every floor does not overshadow the fact that their state of upkeep obnubilates the line between skid mark and porcelain. The owners turned the mains on just long enough to fill the ass washing bucket, seeing as an bum-gun is a luxury too great for a 100 baht a night room. There was not even get a shower for that price, instead you have to sluice water over yourself from the bucket whose main purpose is to get as close to a dirty backside as possible.
Having held out washing my hands long enough for things to get messy, a few minutes in such conditions, illustrated the pressing need for some hand sanitizer. I headed out into the steaminess of the day to distract myself with some retail therapy and people watching. Most Western females openly flaunt their weapons of mass distraction in complete ignorance of the conservative dress sense predominant in Thai culture. What's fairly obvious is that I wouldn't normally complain about an assault with such artillery, and after seeing what was on offer, I don't think I'll complain about it now either.
Like all good shopping trips, I had managed to buy food (when I wasn't hungry), deodorant, squito repellent, a pair of sunglasses and a book before finding what it was I had set out to get. The sunglasses were a necessity after leaving my aviators in Ko Tao, possibly in deference for the degree of perving their mirrored surface permitted me. The pair I ended up buying for 200 baht was one of those decisions that no amount of prior consideration could alter the fact that hindsight inevitably demonstrated the choice to be a bad one; usually about 2 minutes after it was made. The orange lenses of the flies eyes got me into trouble on numerous occasions when I let my gaze go the direction it was accustomed to when wearing reflective glasses. Luckily enough it didn't result in them being shoved somewhere only a surgeon would be able to find them.
It seems that I have told an accidental porky too. The guest house did indeed have a shower. One shower for the whole 5 floors! Luckily most of the travelers staying here are as feral as the rooms, and don't bother showering. I overlooked it as it was tucked away in a corner on the ground floor. And I'm on the fifth floor. My calves were already on fire from just going out a few times a day to eat. If nakedness hadn't started to feel like being fully clothed thanks to the grime, I may have just passed on the shower aware how obvious it is that I will be back to square one in the dirt stakes by the time I made it back up to my room.
So I'll round out this post with a word or two on what are the latest crazes in Bangkok. One is to make every bus look like a speeding billboard. It's a phenomenon that shows all the talented artists are too busy doing something else. Some of the paintings that cover the buses from wheel arch to roof top are so amatuerish you have to believe they were painted that way deliberately. Portable mozzie zappers in the shape of tennis racquet's are a hit too (pun sheepishly admitted to!) Wave the thing around like a McEnroe – bad line call combo and marvel at each fried peril lighting its electrical strings like a one bulb Christmas tree. 50,000 restaurants ply their trade in Bangkok, an amazing number considering it is just a small town on the outskirts of the International Airport. But what's also obvious is that 49,500 wouldn't be even allowed to open their doors in the highly sanitised West. And whose immunity is worse for it? Possibly not the Thais given how many energy drinks they scoff down. Unlike home, they are a syrup rather than a fizzy drink, and all have been sweetened to the point of no longer being a liquid. And most are probably sold at 1 of the 3,700 7-11's that have made Thailand their home. A fact celebrated with collectable stamps offered with every purchase there.
And what's most obvious is a male cat that still has its knackers. Crikey! What's that all about?