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Destination: Home (via the other side of the world) Circumnavigating the globe (very quickly)

First steps in Thailand

THAILAND | Tuesday, 13 May 2008 | Views [653]

Well, "today" (today for me is two days ago for you because I haven't slept yet) is the start of the adventure. Unfortunately, I didn't have time to sleep on the night of the 11th May (the day before my flight) because I was busy making last minute preparations, and I didn't manage to sleep on the plane flight on the 12th. So here I am, on the night of the 13th, slightly sleep deprived - but strangely, not as tired as I should feel.

I departed from Heathrow Terminal 4 on 12th May at 22.00 for an 11.5hr flight to Bangkok, Thailand. Mum and Rebecca gave me a good send off, and thanks to everyone else who sent text messages. If I didn't reply, sorry, I didn't have time to reply to them all before I boarded.

Well, after departing, the flight itself was uneventful. Once I arrived in Bangkok amd passed through baggage reclaim, I had a tremendous amount of trouble figuring out which bus to take. The hostel had given rough directions of where to go and which buses to catch. But, regardless of how much I searched and wandered, I could not find the right bus stop. All sorts of pple were pointing me in various directions. Eventually, I came across one helpful soul who told me that the directions and bus numbers that I had been given were for the other Bangkok airport! Arghhh.... So, after being given alternative directions and bus routes, I proceeded to wait for the 550 bus. I waited, and waited....1 hour passed and I still saw no 550! 549, yes. 551, yes. But no 550.

Whilst waiting at the bus stop during that time, I met an outgoing Chinese girl who was backpacking with her boyfriend across Thailand and Laos. Turns out that she is a student, who was on the same flight as me, studying social anthropology at Cambridge. We chatted whilst waiting for the bus, comparing itineraries etc, and discussing the sciences vs. law, yadayadayada.

Anywho, that was the first and only sane and relatively normal person I met today. She got her bus to another part of Bangkok whilst I waited.

Eventually, I gave up hope. I decided to abandon my reservation at the hostel and just take the next bus into the 'backpacker central' area of Bangkok - called Banglamphu.

Wandered around for a while, with my Rough Guide to Thailand in hand, until I found a suitable hostel. I opted for their cheapest room which costs 2 GBP per night for a small room with a bed only and ceiling fan. Once I was settled in, I went to find some food...I was starving!

I strolled down Khao San Road, which is the main backpacker street around here. The street was lined with bars, neon lights, restaurants, and even a Boots. Also, in the middle of the streets are street stalls which sell various foods and taxi drivers constantly pestering pple about wanting a taxi ride.

I found a small street vendor on one of the back roads which appeared to be popular with the locals. So I enjoyed a bowl of soup-like noodles with chicken.

I started chatting to a guy called Andy who was also there having the same dish. Well, ermmm, he was CRAZY. After much coaxing, I managed to get out of him that he was an investigator who had been in Thailand for 9mths to date. He told me that his work was confidential so he couldn't tell me too much about it. I continued to probe. 45 minutes later, this is what I got out of him....he is an investigator here, but he is his acting on his own initiative at the moment, not for a private/public client. He is here to trace the movements of certain sums of money. How much? I don't know. By whom? I don't know.

Anyway, he appeared credible until this point. Then he went on to tell my how the NSA (which I believe is a civilian intelligence organisation in the US) is involved in a conspiracy to populate the West(?) coast of America with human clones. This process is apparently underway. And his investigation links in some way with this conspiracy. He is voluntarily reporting his findings to Bank of America, which is also involved in some way (I think he said that they were being used unwittingly as intermediaries to fund the conspiracy).

We talked about some other stuff too, but he was deadly serious about this - he wasn't pulling my leg or anything.

Certainly one of my more interesting dinner conversations. I left him after I had finished my bowl of noodles.

I then continued to stroll around the surrounding areas to see what was there.

After my strolll, I went into a restaurant that looked relatively quiet to read my 'Rough Guide' book and sort out my plans for the next day.

After an hour there, I struck up conversation with another traveller called Gary - Australian, late 40s or early 50s. Poor guy. Apparently he had been on the same flight as me, arriving today. There had been some mix up at the airport when he was putting his luggage into a storage locker. The attendant inadvertantly switched his passport with another customer's passport. He had also had his wallet stolen in East Europe, so had no ID now and rapidly diminishing money. We shared a Singha beer whilst chatting about his situation and about his travels so far.

We agreed to go back to his hotel lobby (only across the road from the restaurant) to have one more beer before I headed off back to my hostel. Unfortunately, those drinks didn't really go anywhere. Two representatives from the airport were waiting in the lobby for him when we arrived to apologise and attempt to resolve the situation. So i just finished off my beer and eventually left him with well wishes that he sort out his predicament.

And now, here I am! In Bangkok, in a cybercafe, writing this. Tmrw Ive planned a busyish day.

Internet is surprising cheap (about 0.7p per minute), so I will be writing again soon!

Khao San Road (main backpackers' street)

Khao San Road (main backpackers' street)

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