I’m out of work at the moment. For two months now, there’s not been a single day of work available. I wish I was back in Melbourne. My dollars are dwindling – I just didn’t see the absolute lack of work coming and then my beloved kitty Lili died unexpectedly (cue $$$ vet bill). So it seems like such a stupid time to go on a holiday but that’s exactly what I’m about to do. Truth be told, the trip was booked a long time ago (in true Michelle fashion) and I would now lose money by not going. In a way it’s a good thing I did book everything so far away because I shouldn’t have to fork out much on the road.
I think about all the travel I’ve done over the past couple of years and wonder if I shouldn’t have gone to so many places or travelled a bit less, but at the end of the day?… no, I wouldn’t take that back. Looking back through my blog at all those incredible experiences, amazing places and breathtaking views, there’s not a single trip I regret.
But maybe this is just what I need to pull my despondent ass together and regroup. Travel re-sets me. So I haul my backpack out the door once more and try to forget my money woes.
At 3.15pm I arrive into Bangkok. My driver isn’t keen to talk. Is it the “heavy one hour drive” ahead of us? I’m not sure but it suits me fine, talking to others is not my strong point.
Giant signboards with peeling Samsung Galaxy 7 posters dominate the freeway, above a patchwork of grey metal sheeting from disused looking buildings and amongst a mass of grey concrete flyovers.
It’s a fairly grey afternoon but the air is warm. No was last here 8 years ago for a day or so after my trip through Cambodia and it doesn’t seem to have changed much. It’s not my favourite destination, just a pass-through point to somewhere else. But I’m keen to give it another chance.
Banana and other assorted tropical looking trees now begin to dominate the landscape. These give way to new constructions and elegant mosques, homes and showrooms. Tall pines interspersed with what looks like, but surely can’t be, massive marijuana plants.
Suddenly we hit the traffic. It’s peak hour and school’s just let out for the day. The driver tuts at the stream of cars in front of us. A man stands outside a school gate with his cart, grilling after school snacks – tiny little children lining up for their turn. Leis of flowers (gajra) are being peddled from car to car in the unmoving traffic. Tributes to Thailand’s recently deceased and much beloved King appear here and there. Elaborately framed photos, black ribbons and bouquets are everywhere.
Now the driver decides to talk. And he talks loads. About the parents picking their kids up from school, about his son (24, lazy, constantly lends him money), his divorce and finally about the King and how accomplished he was.
Outside the Nouvo City Hotel, we say goodbye and the delightfully helpful staff check me in. My roommate has already arrived but isn’t in the room at the moment. I dump my stuff on the unoccupied bed and freshen up a little. I’d kill for a Jack Daniels right now but I can’t make myself leave the hotel so I decide to just chill in a way that doesn’t include being squashed up against the side of an airplane window and wait for group meeting time.
6pm arrives and I head to the lobby to meet our Thai tour guide, Sar. Formalities aside, some of us head to Rambuttri St for dinner. It doesn’t take long to realise that the restaurant Sat has guided us to is quite expensive and despite the nice outdoor area, which we aren’t seated in, the food was not brilliant. Back out on the street, all sorts of food carts emanating delicious smells and sometimes an unusual range of food, have us feeling perhaps a little ripped off.
My roommate, Erin, spies some guy she met at the airport yesterday, so we head to a bar/restaurant for some much needed drinks. Erin is from Newcastle and we seem to get along fairly well. The others are an odd bunch at first glance (do we have to put in for the tip kitty?) and I’m not sure how this is all going to go (flashbacks to the tour group in Europe – oh gosh).
But that is Day 1 over, so we’ll see what tomorrow brings. On the way back to the hotel we stop in at the convenience store to stock up on drinks and snacks. For some reason, I decide a packet of silk worms would be a great snack. Unless you like the taste of ash in your mouth, it was not.