Monday, February 1, 2010

Back to Bangkok

Here I sit in Chiang Mai Airport. I just read through a “Tokyo Top 25” book that I picked up at a hostel. April 1st doesn't seem all that far away right now. And yet, when I think about all the things I'll see before I get there...

I was reading the Tokyo travel guide (which I'll probably toss away at the next hostel I get to – as I don't really need to be amassing anything) because I'm quite bored by this Red Rabbit book. It's about the plot to kill the Pope. And sure it has Jack “Rainbow Six” Ryan in it, but that's not enough. I find myself dreadfully bored. Now, to be honest, I'm only fifty pages in, which isn't much for a 900 page text, but that's the problem. I don't really want to read nine hundred pages of terrible.

In the night market last night I saw Jurassic Park but it was selling for 99B. I wasn't willing to spend that much on a novel. Looking back though, I could have been reading something I would have enjoyed, rather than dreading to open my text. This is something I've not felt thus far on my travels. I think I'll switch it away at the Bangkok hostel too. Or just drop it there and start reading another one of my novels from my pack. This was a random grab anyway.

Of course, months from now when I'm out of books to read, I'll look back on this moment and wish that I just kept one more, one more.

Well, I'll give it a try and then we shall see.

Waking up at The Little Bird Guesthouse, I killed some time before heading out to grab my final breakfast. Spring Roll lady had no spring rolls, once more. And it was tragic. So rather than enjoying a delicious last meal, I had to fall back on 7-11 which I now view without the love I once held for it. I know that there are so many more flavours to experience than the bland pre-packaged food sold there. But it is all out of my reach.

Still – I ate my cake and meat bread, downed a malarial pill, and finished up my water. Then it was off to check out, find a tuk-tuk, get to the airport, and wait wait wait. Red Rabbit – well, I might as well give it another shot.

It turns out that I just watched a lot more of co-op, check them out at But, once on the plane I started to read my book. Until I fell asleep – woken by the terrible flight food that only Thai Airways offers. Seriously, I normally like airplane food, but this place gives you sandwiches with a vegetable spread. The same spread I threw out back in Scandinavia. And if I was willing to throw a whole tub of it out, when money was short, well – what does that say about the quality of it? Yet here it is again.

Once I landed down in BKK I realized that I have probably spent an entire waking day in this place over the last month. I went to grab my bus ticket to the city, and then began to wait and wait and wait. All in all, waiting for the express bus, and riding the EXPRESS bus from the airport to the city took three times as long as flying from Chiang Mai to Bangkok did. Ai ya.

Things started to settle once I'd checked in, and got myself in order. It was time to get some food. The street stands offered me an array of treats, all conveniently on sticks, and cooked over fire. And while they made a good appetizer, I headed out for the prize – a Big Mac. They're never good. But they always are in your mind after a few months without. It is because of this inner turmoil over the relative deliciousness of such a sandwich that I pressed on towards the golden arches. Through my math skills, and realization that fries were half price right now, I discovered that it was cheaper to buy the combo in parts than as a set. Ordering a drink, fries, and the Big Mac confused the poor girl, but finally I convinced her to punch it in separately (the combo price was not reduced as part of this french fry promotion) and all worked out in my favour.

The Big Mac was undelicious.

It's strange. You know, in theory, that McDonald's sells hamburgers, but when you think of a burger would your mind ever go to those little biscuits? They're hamburger-like, granted, but hamburgers they are not. They just can not be. They're so awkward, and without substance, and... Harvey's I could admit as being a burger. But – well, if it's microwaved?

After succeeding in this doomed to fail quest I headed back to the hostel, popped open the internet and -


A kiwi-girl that I'd met back in Belgium was here at this very hostel. There may have been some pre-planning, and so it was perhaps not quite random, but it was delightful none the less. To be in a familiar area, with a familiar face.

We talked about travel and where we'd set off to since parting months back. It was the first time I really relived my whole trip. And perhaps the last? There's something about saying, “and then I did this, and then I did this,” that makes you feel like a jerk. Every other place I mentioned though, she was able to talk about from her perspective. It was a conversation with give and take, rather than a one-sided listing of events. And that, as Robert Frost, might have put it were he one to comment on such things, made all the difference.

She'd just woken up from four hours of crashing after her flight and was ready for some food. Having just eaten I – well I went out for more. Thailand.

We headed to Khao San Road, and grabbed 20B pad-thai. You can't beat that value, or the flavour. I'm really starting to worry about how things will taste when I get back home. Perhaps just not as good. And what will I do then? Be destined to eat sub-par food for the rest of my life? Learn how to cook? Travel back here every few months to refresh the flavours? Options may present themselves. Still – I hold out that Combo C will retain its deliciousness. It must.

Wandering the streets she stopped once to buy a fake ID. A fake student card, reversing her age by ten years, making her under the 26 year old cut off for most travel discounts. The fake IDs they make here? Flawless. I thought about obtaining one that declared me a member of the Canadian Government. But thought against it. It's interesting that all my students work to get fake IDs that make them older. And here travellers are grabbing ones to make them younger.

Back at the hostel we internetted, traded youtube favourites, and crashed into the night. Then, as always, it was time to sleep. Perhaps the mall tomorrow? Ohh... the mall! (I'm not sure if that's sarcasm or not anymore...)

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