Well here I am globetrotting the world in my pursuit of harmony and happiness and where do I end up – Bangkok, Thailand – land of the Ladyboys and allegedly the most promiscuous sex trade in the world. Now you might say that I should be enjoying myself in such a liberated society and believe me I would if I could find this so called place of sin. Where is it – can anyone tell me?
So without venting my libido, I have nothing more to do than work – boring I hear you all cry – talk dirty that would be so much more interesting. Well hard luck – nothing has happened so this will be about my work and whilst it may not tickle your fancy, it is the theme of this blog.
As you know, I spent a lovely 6 months in New Zealand and was very sorry to leave, but my time had run out and I would have been cast out by the authorities had I not left of my own free will. I travelled from Christchurch, where I had returned, having had a spell in Tauranga after I had been sent to Auckland for 12 days after I had been sent back to Christchurch Christmas time after my 3 weeks in Tauranga – are you following me. Don’t worry if you’re not, I aim to finish my New Zealand blogs and you can read about my New Zealand adventures again. Anyway back to Christchurch. I flew out on Saturday 28th January 2012 to Auckland where I stowed aboard my transport to Hong Kong and then to Heathrow. I arrived on Sunday 29th January having travelled for umpteen days.
Returning to the UK brought me feelings – feelings that I can’t actually recall at this moment. I bussed it – yes you read it right – bussed it to Stansted. Daniel & Rebecca met me and we had a good long chat before Daniel had to fly back to Dublin. Rebecca then drove me home – how good is that.
A good nights sleep and feeling refreshed I cast around to find my next work assignment. There wasn’t one. Despite having been promised a contract to work in Thailand, that opportunity had disappeared. Oh well back to the UK grind mill I thought but first some well-deserved R&R. I was just getting into the swing of doing nothing and looking forward to a prolonged stretch of nothing when that call to arms came bounding out of the earpiece of my phone – book Thailand – get on your bike – your needed now – move your arse boy – don’t dilly-dally – shake a leg – all those boyhood comments that I loved hearing enthusing me to action and encouraging me to act in all haste. Well as you will imagine – not being one that takes orders too well, I dillied and I dallied, booked my fare to the land of the King & I and well here I am.
Once I arrived at Bangkok airport (called some ridiculous other name that would take up this entire page to write down) I had to queue at passport control, in the searing humid heat, for 2 hours – an absolute disgrace. My driver who had been sent to collect me was nowhere to be found and I didn’t have the office telephone number to arrange an alternative mode of transport. Oh what was I supposed to do. Me an innocent abroad, lost in the melee of Asian indifference. British resolve came to the fore. I marched down the stairs back into the arrival hall and lo – there be my saviour, my driver. He took me warmly by the hand and led me like a naughty schoolboy to his waiting transport. Now remembering where I was (Bangkok), those memories all came flooding back about the fact that I shouldn’t go with strangers – so what should I do. To heck with it, I was man for anything and anyway I was shattered and couldn’t care less.
My apartment was located on the 33rd floor overlooking the sprawling mass of Bangkok City. What a climb up those stairs with my suitcases. I was breathless – dead on my feet. Still this is Bangkok and all I needed was shower and the thought of something awaiting me spurred me into action. Suitcase unpacked. Me lathered, showered and smelling oh so good and ready to slay the Bangkokians with a night on the town. Who should turn up in this 2 bedroom apartment but my Welsh roommate Simon. Now Simon didn’t know that he was sharing this luxurious apartment and was somewhat surprised to see this handsome, elegant and frankly all too charming personage going by the name of Colin Bush. Well I liked him and he liked me and so a beautiful relationship has blossomed. We went out on the town looking for food, fun and drinkies. A small local Thai café beckoned and we enjoyed some real Thai food (no idea what it was but hey I am still alive so couldn’t have been dodgy – could it). Next stop the local bar. Well knock me down with a feather and call me Irish Molly Malone, well perhaps not me but it was the name of the pub. Well Simon and me had a few bevvies before we were joined by another colleague and after several more we staggered back to the apartment.
Sunday dawned hot and sticky. Having showered and got ready for some serious sightseeing, we first went down for some breakfast – Thai style. Spicy rice, fish, bacon, eggs, French toast, soup, salad, fancy cakes, fresh fruit, cereal and a host of other delights assailed our noses. We partook as only an Englishmen knows how.
Satiated, the sun bearing down, we commandeered a tuk tuk and went for a hair raising ride ending somewhere in the back of beyond. Undaunted and like 2 intrepid explorers, we found a taxi and a driver who confirmed he would be ours for the rest of the day for 100 baht per hour. Now that took some thinking – a 100 baht – well that’s like £2.00 an hour including the car, fuel and the driver. Were we being ripped off? Now being seasoned International travellers we haggled and of course got nowhere and we reluctantly agreed to his outrageous demands. ‘Onwards and upwards’ we cajoled our Monty – he took us to the River, where he arranged for us to hire a boat to take us along a funny named river full of catfish. The water was a murky muddy body of fast flowing river where the boats vied for supremacy of the waves caused by the wash of the other boats all vying for the supremacy of the waves. An hour of motorised sailing and our trip was soon over. Monty was waiting at the quayside ready to transport us to another tourist delight. The sun rose ever higher, the heat bearing down like a flame-throwers flame getting closer and closer. Englishmen and the mid-day sun!
The Golden Temple of Buddha. A sacred place – one of countless thousands in this city of Bangkok. It was nice – ostentatious in its own way – a mark of religious power and business. A lesson for you all then – Buddhism is not a religion - it is a way of life. Parts of Buddhism have been hijacked and turned into a religion. Oh soothe my fettered brow……… My Maltese buddhist friend Chris would never forgive me if I did not impart his outrage to you my fellow readers.
Well that took about an hour and a bit. Simon was flagging. This was his first tour of duty since leaving the army. He seemed to forget his basic training (cover up, black up) and his head was cooking like a prawn – white to pink. Stoically we returned to Monty who then took us to another Buddhist Temple up the side of a humungous mountain. We climbed. We stopped to admire the view but more importantly to get our breath back – sip warm water and then begin the ever increasing trudge up the side of Katmandhu. Once at the top – we saw Golden Buddha again – how did he get here so quickly? Is he a God?
By now Simon was swaying around grasping at images of thin air. Hurriedly we descened the heavens to Terra Firma to be met by smiling happy Monty. Come come he said, I take you to see Buddha at another sacred spot. Bog off we said in unison – we are all buddhered out – take us somewhere we can refresh ourselves with a large G&T and a slice of lemon. Downcast, crestfallen Monty. How we had just spoiled his afternoon. Simon was suffering – as a kind hearted human being I relented to his misfortune and commanded Monty to find me an off-licence so that I could purchase beer and then take us back to our suite. Beer was found at 50p per bottle. Oh joy of joys. Perhaps Bangkok won’t be so bad after all.
Tomorrow we work. Dear friends think of me whilst I suit up, with long sleeved shirt and tie and venture to my new employers offices. I did wear trousers in case you’re wondering……
The next instalment will be winging its way to you shortly. Be patient, be thankful……….
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