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So happy to just sit, drink and write.

THAILAND | Thursday, 22 January 2015 | Views [520] | Comments [2]

Cute, but debatable whether or not she is cuter than a beagle!

Cute, but debatable whether or not she is cuter than a beagle!

It's day three in Bangkok and I must confess that this journal is happening largely due to my love of writing more than anything else. I haven't done anything worthy of a journal in itself, but there is always plenty to write about in a place like Bangkok. And sitting at my usual afternoon hang-out looks far more purposeful and less Uncle Creepy if I am hammering away at a keyboard more than just getting hammered.

And I should stop trying to appear all hard and sleek and cool, like Rik from the Young Ones, and just say that I actually have blisters on my feet from doing burpees, jumping jacks and mountain climbs in my room this morning. If you don't know what they are, congratulations, you've never been in prison. Or you don't have a freak athlete friend who would be seriously disappointed in you if you didn't work out harder on the road when you have 'nothing better to do'. Hi Richie.

You just can't sit in prime position on Khao San Road and not buy something from the establishment. Sure banana shakes are delicious, but do you want to drink five of them so you can sit here long enough to get a whole journal written? You must be an orangutan or something then, and you'd fit right in here, probably with a gorgeous woman on your arm. Really, what is up with that? Why do so many old, fat, balding westerners have gorgeous women stitched to their arms and hanging on their every word like they know which horse will win the next race at Ascot? There are so many over-achievers strolling up the strip here that I feel like my bachelorhood is tantamount to leprecy.

I probably would do 5 banana shakes straight up if I thought that it could help me punch above my weight with the ladies, or was on a steady diet of white rice, but a king brown of Chang beer is where it's at. It's the cheapest beer around, and nasty enough to ensure you won't drink it too fast, even if you wanted to. At 6% ABV, it's virtually moonshine, tastes like it was brewed from the stagnant Bangkok waterways and the hangover happens before you get drunk.

I was going to include a beagle puppy picture at the top of this journal post, just because I am so dog clucky, but the one that appears has just trumped it out of pure cuteness. And for the fact that the gorgeous little girl shown nearly got run over 30 seconds after I took the picture. Mum's despondant look at market demand for disposable crap being down today equated to a similar care factor for the welfare of her child. In her mind, she was too far removed from Thailands version of a charity fundraising pest on the streets of Australia to notice her gorgeous little cherub had taken to chasing coakroaches around the middle of the road.

In the evenings, when the road is packed with freaks, orangutans, stunners, B.O. and tailor touts, it is supposed to be pedestrian only. Like most laws in Asia, except for drug trafficking, it's ok as long as you get away with it, or are able to bribe your way out of it. So, down the road came Mr. Tuk-tuk driver, unable to see anything due to his 2 stroke fumes traveling faster than his vehicle. A quick thinking back-packer, bucking the trend by being sober and actually aware of their surroundings, saw the impending tragedy and channeled their inner Superman to scoop up the little girl before she became a tomato sauce skid mark. Crisis averted and Superman was thanked for their efforts by being pitched some of the worthless crap that no one else wants to buy tonight.

I have written about the drivers here in Asia before, but two experiences other than the toddler squishing have made it pertinent to mention again. At the airport, I hopped in the most pimping taxi I have ever seen, half expecting Paul Walker to be driving it, overlooking the fact the guy is dead. I went to strap myself in for the most express ride to Khao San Road outside of teleportation, and couldn't! Seatbelts? They're for pussies. And old mate drove like his car was a hummer, made of adamantium, with a roll cage, and a force field, and he had a death wish, and he thought I was in labour.

Why did I not discolour his back seat and my pants with yesterdays shitty airport food? Driving in Asia is one big defensive driving course. Every single trip is at least 20 opportunities to exchange phone numbers with random strangers if you don't drive expecting hazards to be constantly coming from every angle. Road rules are for law-makers to debate, lane markings are there to give some painter a job, and car insurance companies are probably just a front for Phad Thai cart vendors to launder money.

Catching a bus to Bangkoks biggest shopping mall, MBK, to buy a handbag, uh-huh, you read that right, I saw a scooter driver run a red light, cut off a cop on a motorbike, and not even get a dismissive headshake in response. Other than proving I love commas, that sentence is the other half of the reason why Asian drivers are the best in the world. You accept someone pulling off some rank, highly illegal manovuer right in front of you, because you'll probably have to do the same thing yourself before too long. And this understanding of maleable road rules means there is far more alertness, and far less road rage.

People in this part of the world are far more patient, and far more fun loving than their western counterparts. Aside from not wanting to crow-bar every driver that cuts them off, you can't get an insult, or even a tut-tut out of someone who has just been screwed over in traffic. Largely because they respond by making a lane where there wasn't one before. Emergency lane on a highway? Yeah, this is an emergency, I just got cut off 17 times and I need to get to Khao San Road for a banana shake, stat.

You can't help but love the people when they spend most of their time laughing. Sure, it might be at my piss poor attempts at cultural integration, but life seems more fun without first world problems. And when idiots like me mistake the anjali mudra with the 'no deal' sign, who wouldn't laugh their ass off? Hands pressed together in prayer, or squishing flies in front of your face, is known as 'anjali mudra' and is the standard respectful greeting in Asia. Arms crossed mid forearm means that you're not down with what Andrew O'Keefe is pitching. How I confused the two is beyond me, and my tattooist that I did it to, but I'm pretty sure everyone present is still in mirthful awe at my cultural ineptitude.

So tipsy tangent time, I'm planning on hitting at least 10 countries on this trip, epic for someone from an island continent, a weekends bus trip for a European. I'm saviouring the fact that I have enough time to just sit around drinking and writing, without feeling the need to make the most of every moment. I'll be doing some Bangkok touristy things when I come back from Jakarta and spend 5 days hanging out with Julia from 'Black and Gold budget envy' days in Bowen. As a 'catching up with friends' trip, this is the only time in 3 months when I will be on my own.

But you're never really on your own when you travel. I just shared a moment with the tireless worker at my local Cheers bar who saw the humour in my nickname being Harry when hers is Sally. Sitting here writing and drinking, the company of Uncle Creepy is not as inviting as what it once was, making my sustained focus on the keyboard both a testament to my love of writing as much as it is to my desire to not look like I am hanging out the front of a primary school.

And as the dregs disappear from my fourth king brown, its street Phad Thai time then back to the room to watch 'When Harry met Sally' and give thanks for all the amazing friends I am about to see on this trip after years of absence. I may not be the next Bill Bryson, or a viable credit risk (I hope you're not reading this Blake!), but I define myself by the amazing friends I have. And to be able to see Claire, Julia, Gow, Kath, Charlotte, Laura, Ainslie, Paul, Lindsay, Kirsty, Alex, Maz, Rach, Jimmy and Steph after years of just email contact is far better than knowing horse 3 in Race 5 at Ascot is a shoo-in.

Tags: beer, driving, friends, roads, travelers

Comments

1

I remember being pushed by an old Thai lady in Bangkok in a crosswalk because I was too slow. She probably saved my life. Damn I miss Asia and all its quirks, and your read just really brought that home! Enjoy Harry!

  Scott Lunt Jan 22, 2015 2:37 AM

2

My budding author nephew I just love you. I am so proud that the family has prodiced an adventurer in the next generation. Big hug from me. We both love soaking up the moments when we travel. Onky difference is that I enjoy a drop of the red stuff rather than the brown stuff.
I am in canberra buying used Subaru Forrester. XXXOOO

  Auntie Helen Jan 29, 2015 7:57 AM

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