Friday, May 20, 2011

Fighting in the pancake trenches

It's strange that it's taken me so long to get back to Bangkok: something like two and a half years to drag myself onto a plane and fly to the City of Angels (and stuff).

This afternoon we had a team building event based on the Amazing Race (like most of the team building events I've been on in recent years). This involved us taking public transport, possibly not enamouring ourselves to the locals stuck on the same skytrain as a hundred people bellowing cheerfully at one another. We got to ride in a longtail boat, which in an example of Thai ingenuity is a big boat with a diesel engine from a truck bolted on, spewing black exhaust and attached to a crankshaft that drives a propellor way oyt the back of the boat.

After that, and various wanderings through Bangkok in search of toothpaste, hungry fish and bored monks, we fetched up on the Khaosan Road.

Sadly this isn't a tribute to Mr Khao, the famous non-existent Japanese man, but instead a street full of backpacking scum, sorry, fresh-faced youths, wandering around in search of cliched tattoos and cheap "massages". Oh well. Youth is wasted on the young.

I drank a pint of Chang at an "Irish" bar, then ate a plate of fried vegetables, drank some beer and left for the hotel. And then got ambushed by some Australians, who took me drinking when I planned a quiet night. And an early night.

Instead of which I ended up stuck outside a bar, talking to a random teacher from Cornwall who materialised out of nowhere and tried to impress me by showing off some fairly amateurish tattoos. Maybe she was too proud. Perhaps she'd just had them done. I fled, got a taxi home. Amusingly, Bangkok taxi drivers will quote you a rate around double what the meter would charge, and it's only if you yell that they put the meter on. It's almost like they were trying to take advantage of the ignorance of foreigners. At least London cabbies will overcharge you by driving twenty miles out of their way.

I got back to my hotel room to find my roommate sound asleep and snoring, and needing to be woken up in three hours. But I had a message to go drinking with a team of Japanese and Singaporeans, and instead of staying in the room and sleeping (and then missing waking him up) I did the altruistic thing and went back out on the lash. It's hard being a good person like me.


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