« Tampere AirportMainChangover »

City of Angels

After a night in Gatwick airport we enjoyed a very pleasant flight over to Abu Dhabi where we changed planes. Abu Dhabi airport feels classically Arabian, with a domed central atrium covered in bright red and blue mosaic tiles, and sheikhs drinking strong coffee in a small, smoky cafe. In the short time we were there, Carita was taken by the warmth and friendliness of the Arab people we came in contact with - something I've always been struck by, and contrary to how the western media usually like to portray the Arab world.

Our flight touched down at Bangkok airport early yesterday morning before sunrise. Although we hadn't slept properly for three nights we were both very excited to arrive, hurried through the airport, and caught the shuttle bus through the rush hour traffic to Banglamphu.

It was so early that the backpacker mecca of Koh San Road was deserted as we made our way up it with our backpacks and sat down to have breakfast at My House Guesthouse. Dazed from the long flights and a serious lack of sleep - we'd been travelling since Monday and it was now Thursday morning - we sat eating our banana pancakes outside in the tropical heat as it gradually sank in that we were in Thailand. Flying somewhere is just travelling too fast for my brain to comprehend; it was difficult to grasp how we could move from Britain to Asia, from winter to summer, from cereal to banana pancakes, so quickly, and things felt surreal, like a vivid dream in the middle of the night.

Due to a small incident with a bug or two on a previous visit to Bangkok, Carita had made it clear that she didn't want to stay at my usual, cheap, friendly guesthouse this time, so after breakfast I set off to find some superior budget accomodation. Although we know the area pretty well, things develop so quickly in Thailand that new guesthouses had been built where old wooden houses had stood on our last visit . Soon, we had a newly renovated room in the terrifically named Happy House, with a balcony and more luxury than we needed, and we lay down for a siesta for a couple of hours.

The noise was so loud it felt like it was inside my head. Builders were working above our room, drilling into the concrete ceiling and it felt like being at the dentist, waking us violently. Unable to sleep we headed into Siam, Bangkok's centre for some food and retail relief, and returned to the hotel in the evening. There, we sat on the balcony drinking beer, watching a ladyboy in long boots dancing in one building, and a hooker hard at work with a foreign client in a hotel room. It was good to be back in Thailand.

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)