After a slightly niggly, delayed departure and a similar arrival (I've never had a taxi stop in the middle of a motorway to ask me again where we were going) - I've found myself in little haven in Bangkok. The hotel is fabulously kitsch, but done to an art form - literally - each room has been designed and decorated by a different artist (on who knows what sort of magic mushrooms).
I spent my first evening lazing at the pool with a pad thai and singha beer wallowing in the tranquility. It felt a little strange being on my own but also rather nice in it's own way. I'd managed to sleep for 6.5hrs straight on the flight (amazing what 1 glass of sav blanc and a valium can do) but was still tired enough to have a pretty early night. After a good dvd (girly of course) and saying goodnight to all my fish I fell into a dead sleep by midnight. Oh, the fish - my room has the most original bathroom/bedroom divider - an aquarium!Who needs walls when little orange fish will do!
At breakfast I met a french canandian girl (38 so luckily I don't feel like great aunty kim backpacker) and the two of us decided to go see the Emerald Buddha and grand palace. As amazing as the hotel is, it's a little out of the way so the cab rides have proved to be a source of "entertainment" in their own right. Despite having a little card with the hotel name, a little map and all of this in Thai - it was rather a task getting someone to take us where we wanted to go. We eventually understood a big shake of the head and a wave of the hand towards the door to mean "get out-i don't know what you're talking about". But of course in a way that only the Thais can do that you don't get offended.
The temple was indeed quite a beautiful sight; I said a little prayer to buddha and doused my head in holy water by means of a flower and felt remarkably at peace! It's been a pretty warm day today, about 32C, so decided to limit the "sightseeing" to a minimum....I'm sure after 6 weeks I will have felt satisfied in the temple department. Isabelle needed to book a ticket to Chang Mia so we did venture to the Khao San road - backpackers holy land for those who don't know. The energy of the place is quite something to feel but I was more than relieved to know that I could escape to my little oasis on the outskirts. Another thai curry and singha beer satisfied the afternoon hunger before beginning what turned out to be a bad mistake in the "what time to head to the outskirts of bangkok decision". It took an hour of frantic waving, begging and pleading before we found a taxi that took the initiative to call the hotel to get exact directions to take us home.
Needless to say, the pool and another singha were more than tempting on arriving back here. While lounging in a big armchair/sofa while the sun went down, I took the stressful decision to have a thai massage upstairs in the spa room. The plan was to go have a drink at the highest bar in bangkok tonight but unfortunately the massage was far too effective and left us both in a state of, what can be described as "jellylikeness". The effort to actually get dressed up and try another taxi expedition was just a little too daunting for ones in jellylikeness state.
So instead, here I am. My first real little brain-dump. As far as Bangkok goes, I think I made some good choices and will be ready to leave the end of tomorrow. My passport is at the Laos embassy at the moment so I won't be going anywhere until I get it back....oh what faith we have in our fellow mankind (giving them passport and money asking them to return it the next day with a little stamp in it).
My plan from here is to fly to Chiang Mai in northern thailand for a few days of trekking and walking and the like, then up through Chiang Rai to catch a boat at the Laos border. A 2 day trip down the Mekong to Luang Prabang after that should be the start to the true "adventure" bit.....so watch this space.
for now...it's hot, I have great food, cold beer and good company - ready for 3 months of this! Bye bye from bangkok.