Sunday, March 18, 2012

Confusion, Thai style

Today we saw the man who lied to us yesterday about the tourist boat, yelling at a tourist in a wheelchair. Then we went to Wat Pho, the temple of the reclining Buddha, had an argument with a taxi driver who didn't want to use the meter in his car, took a different taxi to the train station, got laughed at by a security guard, had a Swedish massage in a spa off Sukhumvit Road, an Italian meal in a Thai cafe, and then went back to our hotel.

All in all, that was rather confusing. The Angry Man wasn't displaying the smiles that Bangkok claims it's famous for, we were getting a massage from a Thai who has probably never been to Sweden, the Thai cafe had very poor pad Thai, and almost every taxi driver in Bangkok is driving around with equipment he never wants to use installed on his dashboard. At least the reclining Buddha is reclining; with the wilful contrarism of everything, I wouldn't have been surprised if the largest reclining Buddha in the world had turned out to be a small Vishnu, standing up.

On the way back to our hotel we stopped at Mr Donut (there were lots of flies inside) then returned to our room, where I lollygagged for half an hour and then went to the gym and ran for half an hour. My legs were bad all of yesterday and today after going too hard on Saturday morning, but perhaps that massage had been the right thing to do, because despite not feeling wonderful, I managed a fairly acceptable 5.45 km on the treadmill, and then irritated my wife by sweating for half an hour.

To round the evening off, we went up to the bar on the roof, which was made famous by The Hangover 2. It was a cattlepen full of Eurotrash and men in horrible t-shirts, and a queue of people in flip-flops being denied access because of the strictly enforced dress code.

If you're going to advertise your bar on the association with a derivative film from 2011, it seems somewhat bad faith to deny entry to the gullible and susceptible fools who think a hangover is something glamourous, rather than a combination of dehydration and an overloaded liver. Or if you do want your bar to be swish, at least ban the horrendous t-shirts as well. The Eurotrash can stay (where else will the French go to drink apart from the 64th floor of a skyscraper?) but I doubt any bars in Patpong are turning people away, telling them they're not appropriately dressed.

The bar's ok, but Bangkok's skyline is too dispersed and flat to impress, after you've lived in Hong Kong. Bangkok is all about the river and the street life: being far above it all is kind of missing the point.

Or perhaps they should bring the angry bloke up from the street to yell at all the Eurotrash, telling them the bar doesn't actually exist and his brother's place down the street is much cheaper.


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