Back in the Land of Smiles

So, it’s five years since I was last in Thailand…. Wait, not just about five years but EXACTLY five years and so much has changed in that time I can scarcely believe it, but ain’t that always the way? Has much changed in Thailand? Undoubtedly. political upheaval, tsunami, flooding, and much more, but I have to be honest and confess that even though I love this country, I have never been the type to keep up to date with international news and politics and most of that, apart from the tsunami of course, has gone almost completely over my head. Which I shall now duly hang in shame.

As I write I am sitting in Bangkok airport waiting for our flight to Chiang Mai having a coffee and listening to mum read out a list of jetlag symptoms since for the last 3 days or so we have both been having some lightheaded dizzy spells. I’m having one right now, it’s like being pissed but freeeeeee!

Bangkok was good but hectic: I’m glad we’re leaving after only a couple of days. It was a useful interlude to let us settle into a different time zone and remember what Thailand is all about, but I personally wouldn’t enjoy a stay there of longer than 2 days. I’m looking forward to being able to move around a smaller city a bit more easily and with less stress than Bangkok allows. However, I’m glad to have finally experienced a little bit of it.

So, how was it? Our hotel was lovely. Luxurious, clean, quiet, amazing staff, and an outdoor pool which provided welcome coolness in this mid-thirties heat. For all Bangkok’s legendary (infamous?) night life, my favorite bit was yesterday’s 6am wake up swim after finding myself wide awake at 4am and lying in bed for 2 hours, futilely attempting sleep. What better way, in my opinion, to see the Bangkok sky than floating in cool water on your back?

Anyway, our first night we got in after…. (mentally calculating….) 28 hrs constant traveling and having not really slept the night before leaving I was, as the French say, fucked. The journey itself was unremarkable, except for Mumbai airport, which was remarkably cockroach infested and awful. We both fell blissfully unconscious and woke up late and went for a brief walk to the local mall to find sim cards and have a coffee and some breakfast, having gotten up too late to have hotel breakfast. We had a wander and then in the afternoon I took a deathdefying, super fun motorcycle taxi ride half an hour to Jitti Gym to do some Muay Thai. Jitti Gym is quite famous in UK Muay Thai circles since Bad Company fighters, who are the best in the UK, tend to train there. My pad man was lovely and very patient of my wheezing and needing to take 3 minute breaks for every 1minute round, bless him. Skipping, pad work, then intermittent wheezing and bag work, then technique training and back home for a swim in the pool.

Thursday we woke up early, hence the 6am swimming, and took a guided tour of Bangkok that we didn’t really want but sort of got Britished into out of fear of saying no. we saw the reclining Buddha at Wat Pho, then got pushed into a long tail boat ride down Chao Phraya river and taken via the clothing and jewellery shops of our guide’s friends but succeeded in buying nothing. THoroughly travel sick and knackered we ended up at MBK shopping center, on the recommendation that we should see the “crazy” electronics floor…. Which is where I bought this iPad I’m typing on now…. Whoops! (awesome). Finally we made it home with no more energy or will to live than would permit swimming and room service and wondrous, blessed sleep.

The following morning, we packed our bags, bid farewell to the pool and let our tricky yet nice guide drive us to the airport to head for Chiang Mai, which is where I waffle from right now. So, hopefully tomorrow I won’t have to try and recount 5 days worth of information in 1 post and can do a marginally better job.


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