Monday, October 26, 2009

By Any Means

I had a dream last night, something about Lady-Boys having their Adam's apple removed at birth so that you can't really tell what sex they are, the dream ended with someone at Darling Towers filling the Torana up with mud and then chopping the roof of and converting it into a motorbike. I wasn't really happy about that, but that is all quite irrelevant...

When we wake up in the morning here we feel lovely and refreshed, we shower and dress for the day, then head out of our airconditioned room for the buffet breakfast. It is at about this point that the wall of heat hits you, and your forehead starts leaking sweat like a cold bottle of water in a sauna. It is under these conditions that we set out for the day with the aim of sampling a few of the local forms of public transport.

After finishing another delicious and filling brekkie we walked off toward the river looking for the local ferry, it operates similarly to the Brisbane ferry system, but unlike the gigantic Brisbane Sea Catamarans this was just a long wooden boat with a massive engine and a lack of regard for any kind of water safety, overcrowded is an understatement. The boat charges down the river as fast as it can until it is about five meters from the next mooring, where it throws reverse on full throttle and slams sideways into the dock. Then there is a scramble as people jump on at their own risk.

It was actually a nice "cruise" down the river, and interesting to see the culture of water side living from the very rich to the very not rich. After we jumped off the ferry we found ourselves in Downtown Bangkok, a completely different world to the one we'd left behind in old town. You could almost confuse the business district to Melbourne's CBD, well except the market stalls on every corner, the public liability dangers at every step and the fact that everything is written in Thai.

After getting a bit lost we found our way to the Sky rail, basically a mono rail that serves a small portion of the city, with a ticketing system similar to Melbourne's, but the trains are a lot more modern with comfortable airconditioning and televisions featuring advertisements every five meters along the train. The Sky rail took us directly to MBK Shopping centre, Bangkok's version of Chadstone, only a lot bigger and cheaper and everything is available in legit or ripoff versions.

We shopped for awhile and then jumped back on the Sky Rail to get to the Vietnam Embassy. We have to apply for our Visas for Vietnam, and the embassy has a very cold and cruel atmosphere, after all of the warm hospitality of Bangkok, I sure hope Vietnam isn't anything like its embassy portrays. We have entrusted our passports with the embassy for the next few days, and as we are heading into the jungle for a few days tomorrow, I am hoping we don't need them.

Our last mode of transport for the trip home was by another ferry, this one was down the channel and was quite obviously a more "local" form of transport. The ferry operated much the same as the river ferry, in that it charged along as fast as it could towards each new pier. Only on this ferry, it went slightly faster and only had about one or two meters clearance on either side at every point in time. Also cornered like a demon.

Eventually we have found our way home for a very well deserved swim in the pool as today was probably our hottest one yet. Think we might get a meal and retire early tonight for our trek into the jungle at 7am tomorrow, we have booked a tour featuring Tigers, Elephants, floating markets, waterfalls and death trains... yep Death Trains... Wont be another post for a few days (probably) so you'll just have to read this one again.

Enjoy the photos from the last few days HERE

sexual inuendo at the zoo!!!

Today felt hotter than any of the others so far but that didn't stop us from getting out in it. We decided to go to the zoo today and those who are big on animals getting the best in life then look away now. We got a note this time from the hotel saying how much we should pay so the tuk-tuk didn't rip us off. It actually worked too. We got to the zoo after paying 50 baht which is a pretty good price. After wandering around the zoo for ages we decided that, A. the Melbourne zoo doesn't have very many animals and B. the muddy floors and no aircon for so many of the animals had to be pretty sucky for them.

We made our way back to the arena in the middle to watch a kids acrobatic show and elephant show. Again if you're against this I'm sorry, the elephants were very cool and did all sorts of tricks. The Kenya's wild boys show was very cool too and the pics will be up on facebook soon. The overall feeling we got from the show was a massive amount of sexual innuendo was squeezed into a very short show :) The were doing the show to music that ranged from pussycat dolls to Thai pop we had never heard. But when the performers we thrusting their hips and pretending to be having sex if they landed on someone made for a laugh worthy and entertaining experience. I'm not sure the mum's in Australia would have been as cool and entertained by it as the Thai mums were though. At one point they even had the male and female elephant pretending to have sex.

Anyway after leaving the zoo we headed to the Golden Mount which is meant to hold some of Budda's remains. It was an amazing experience. At the base of the Golden Mount we had our first 'we'll have what they're having' experience of food. This shop didn't have a menu and spoke very little English. Totally cool with us but meant that we ended up eating what I think consisted of chicken, oysters, egg and bean shoots with chilli sauce. Was very good but I couldn't eat all the oysters. Very fishy!

We then made our way to the top of the Golden Mount with all the locals and tourists ringing all the Buddhist bells on the way up. The top was an amazing stuppa which had been there since King Ramma II had it made. We jumped on the back of a private tour a German couple were taking and found our way out onto the roof. It was an uninterrupted view of the city and all the better because we walked up so many steps to get there.

We made our way back down and had the happy experience of realising we could walk home because we now knew our way around this part of the city. We then got back to the hotel for a swim and watching a rain storm pass and then we headed to Khaosan rd for dinner and my first 30 minute Thai massage. It was amazing and only cost 100 baht. That's about $3.30. Very happy walk home as my beaten up body finally felt good.

I promise we'll post photos soon.