Last days of Bangkok

We returned to Bangkok in the middle of the day, and thankfully it’s only about an hour long journey as I mixed up the departure and arrival time. We wanted to get the train back from the airport, but there was a lack of signage there, so by the time we arrived there, we had missed the train and there wasn’t another one for two hours. Again, perhaps we should have prioritised food, but instead we got a taxi that took about an hour and charged way too much despite being on the metre, probably because he got lost, and didn’t take the highway, where there is a fee.
This was the day I spotted that there was in fact a 7-11 and a Family Mart basically outside our hostel, when we thought the nearest was 10-15 minutes away. We had got out at around 4pm, so I was really hungry. After a few hours of chilling, we went back to this place that does street food with seats, near to the other 7-11 that we had been going to prior to that. We met a German guy and saw and spoke to him. It was 8 o’clock and the place was buzzing, packed with people, who were mostly locals. I had the same grilled chicken with rice, and it was great. 
We did our washing the next morning, and went for a walk whilst it was in the machine. There was a really unusual park there, that was part-cemetery, part-gym, and part-outdoor karaoke, not forgetting there were also places of worship around in the similar grand-fashion of glittering colours. We were welcomed by a small group of Thai people to join their karaoke. They gave us a strange sweetcorn thing that I let my boyfriend eat for the most part, and a couple of tea. My boyfriend sang in his own at first (Robbie Williams — Better Man) and then we did a duet of The Beatles’ Come Together. In our neatly-five-years together, we’d been meaning to do karaoke together for ages, but hadn’t until that day!


We chilled out most of the day, and then in the afternoon went to see a Muay Thai boxing match. We were early, so went somewhere to eat. There were hardly any cool places to go, but the place we found also had karaoke! The food was average, and somehow I got a beer, which was refreshing. That said, there was a weird vibe in there, perhaps because there were a lot of young girls in there wearing short skirts and very high heels. It was just so different from what a majority of Thai women seemed to wear — jeans, polo top or t-shirt and flat shoes. It was funny then that my boyfriend said to me afterwards, as if it was so obvious, that the place was a brothel. So, I’m still not sure, maybe it served food as a kind of cover, or was a place where women solicited with clients. Who knows?!
There was a kind of pre-match game, before the start at 6.30pm. It was interesting to see the atmosphere and hear the noise of the crowds — we had been shooed away during the first fight to sit away from where the betting was taking place. It was cool to hear the live music that was played throughout it too, and along with it the kind of stretching routine of the boxers, where it seemed almost like a dance. That said, I couldn’t follow the game at all and didn’t have a clue as to what was going on, who was winning etc. Perhaps it would have been clearer with better seats — we were in the cheapest seats available to foreigners, who’d are charged way more than Thai people. A few games would have been bearable, but we watched 8 out of 9 fights, each lasting about 30 minutes, and I was quite bored by it, if I’m honest. But then I went for my boyfriend, and he enjoyed it, so that was the main thing. I tried to get through it with popcorn and water, but the seats were also really uncomfortable after a while, sitting on big concrete steps. During one fight a guy had his shoulder broken, and during another, we didn’t see what happened, but it looked like he was knocked out unconscious, and my boyfriend even thought it might have died! That must be really rare, but I had no idea that happened. It struck me suddenly as bizarre, and I wondered why the crowd, mostly men, we’re so fascinated by the idea of two men fighting so violently. The pain endured by those fighting was incomprehensible. How was this entertaining? 


Reluctantly, my boyfriend agreed to go to one of the bars I had wanted to go to. It was coming up to 11pm and I was tired as well, but I wanted to experience some of Bangkok’s nightlife. Perhaps we needed to be there earlier, or to go on a weekend, or simply to walk about more, but it wasn’t the wildness I had imagined. It was hard to know what part to go to — everything seemed so far away. But the place we went, called WTF (Wonderful Thai Friendship), I’d seen in the Lonely Planet guide and it was right up my street. There was design work available in the gallery, with an emphasis on words, equality and feminism. I’d ordered a very strong and expensive cocktail, whilst my boyfriend had an expensive water, and it played music I liked such as Courtney Bartlett, and the walls were decorated with paintings. However, there weren’t really any other people around, and the guy who managed it talked to us a lot, rather than meeting other travellers. After that, the other place we’d heard live music coming from, when we arrived by taxi, seemed to be winding down, and we started walking the streets, but my boyfriend wanted to head back, and I was pretty exhausted from the boxing too. Once back, I ate toast half-drunk in my underwear, in the cool of the air-con room, and munched on my last chocolate wafer, before going to sleep around 1am.


The next day we tried to pack everything back, which was not inky stressful, but impossible. I ended up with a packing-block not packed and am having to carry it to Chiang Mai (I’m currently on the sleeper train now, and it’s coming up to midnight as I write this.) We then went down a random road, as we had down for a bit the day before. This lead us to a lot of places with street food, but walking so far in the heat, I just wanted a nice restaurant with air-con. I didn’t get that, so really I should have taken up the opportunity to eat earlier,rather than hoping something would turn up around each random corner. In the end my lunch was a freshly baked cake from a lovely street bakery, and a packet of crisps. When we eventually got back (by taxi), we had a all around the park again. However, I was feeling ill, perhaps due to the sun again, and just needing cool. There were lots of different karaoke bits in the park, which seem like a great idea! The guy the day before had said there’s no other place like it in the world, and I believe him! I’d love to have more time in Bangkok just to go there again! On our wanderings we also came across another temple, a church, and a golf course where you just hit the balls out on the spot. I got mine the furthest, near the hundred mark, so I was pretty chuffed. At the same time, I was very hungry by that point, and have also hurt my finger from holding the club too tightly! 


When we were back, we had an hour before our venture to the train station again. I drank some pineapple juice and ate the most delicious kiwi, an apple, and two ice cream lollies! I felt much better then haha! We walked to a main road (15 minutes with our heavy bags) and got a taxi. I picked up the tickets and then saw there was a food court! I was worried I wouldn’t be having a proper meal all day, so seeing that made me very happy. We had a pad Thai and water for a total of 50 baht each. Bargain. It was with tofu and tasted great! We then boarded the train, and happened to be seated with two Spanish guys. I’ve been writing this and reading my book on the lexical approach in teaching (two chapters to go!) and so it was interesting trying to listen to their conversations, purely to see what words I could pick up. I could have tried to say a bit more in Spanish, but I was panicking a bit, knowing that I don’t know whether my boyfriend will be joining me on not, it’s kind of a bittersweet subject. The only words I said in Spanish were “September” and “south”. Turned out they were from Andalusia, which is where I will be working! Anyway, I better get some rest now and go to sleep — I have a breakfast coming at 7.30am!

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About carminamasoliver

I'm an ex-UEA writer from South London. Founder of She Grrrowls. Feminist Arts Writer for The Norwich Radical. BAR poet. Published by Nasty Little Press.
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