Day in the life – Thai style!
06:45 Wake up. Not sure where I am as in my dream I was in Buchanan Galleries. Slightly disappointed to not be, but delighted that I don’t have to get up for ages yet – hurrah!
08:30 Wake up again. Tofu pillow has somehow snuck up under my arm as if he was frightened of something in the night. Hope it was not a giant cockroach.
09:00 Reading a bit of my book. It’s about a man who is a voice-over artist. It’s quite funny.
09:30 In the shower. Open the window and it looks sunny but not too sunny.
09:45 Note to self: Do not use salt scrub on legs immediately after shaving again. That is all.
10.15 Straightening hair. I wonder briefly why I am bothering as I am going to end up sweating like a horse and/or being soaked by Songkran revellers the second I step outside. It makes me feel better tho, so continue.
10.25 Slapping on Factor SEVENTY sunblock that Mum sent. I will be needing that today.
10.30 Deciding what to wear. Go for comfort over style as will be walking a lot today.
10.40 Hit the street. Get stuck along narrow soi behind very slow-moving Chinese girl. Can’t overtake because of oncoming bin lorry. Bah.
10.45 Flag down taxi. Hop in and tell driver where I want to go. For some reason, no one understands when I say MRT. So I go thru every Thai word I can think of that might help – underground, train, station … you would think piecing those 3 together we’d get there, but no. The driver gets on the blower to his English speaking pal who instead of asking me where I want to go starts asking me where I am from, etc. During this chat, we approach the station and we screech to a halt as I shout STOP. The driver thinks this is hilarious and I laugh with him and get out and onto the subway. As you enter the subway, you have to open any bags you are carrying so the security guard can make sure you don’t have anything untowards in there and then they salute you as you walk past – I love being saluted.
11.05 Off the subway and heading along the walkway to BTS. Looking down at the road underneath, it’s chaos. There are people everywhere with giant water pistols and chalk, skooshing each other, or in some cases, simply throwing buckets of water over passers by. Were this to happen in Glasgow, there would be a 900% increase in the number of stabbings. Here everyone is walking round with grins the size of China on their faces.
11.10 On the BTS. Heading past my office building – see you on Wednesday! HA!
11.20 Think I’m going to be late. Make my way off the BTS and down the escalator where I receive my first skoosh of the day. It’s a half-hearted effort from a little kid wearing a Liverpool football shirt. I say thank you and then say you’ll never walk alone. He starts laughing and singing the song and he follows me along the road a bit, just giggling. He doesn’t have any shoes on, but he is possibly the happiest child I’ve ever encountered.
11.30 On the boat. Feeling pretty pleased with myself that I am going to only be a little bit late. Have got this river boat thing sorted. I was a bit apprehensive taking it alone at first, but Liz accompanied me the first time and it’s easy as long as you’re watching for your stop. I am heading for Ratchawongse stop, which is the first one for China Town. On the way we pass a big church I’ve not noticed before, the Holy Rosary. It looks very nice. Maybe I’ll go and see it one day. Also note that what I thought was a fire station before, is.
11.40 Off the boat and no sign of Liz. Worry that I am a bit late and then think durr, I should check my phone. She’s still on the boat which is no surprise as you’re at the mercy of the driver and your fellow passengers once you are on as to how long it will take, etc. Sit down on the benches near a man who is sound asleep on them – they are made of concrete. He looks surprisingly comfy. Drink half a litre of water from Mr Bun and read a bit of my book.
11.50 Yay, Liz is here. We head out of the station and get into a tuk tuk. I can’t believe I’ve been here almost 5 weeks and this is my first tuk tuk ride. It’s a lot of fun, tho noisy. We zip along the streets and arrive at the intersection next to the hotel we’re headed for. It’s really quiet today as it’s a public holiday, hardly any traffic.
12.00 We arrive at the Shanghai Inn. This place is amazing. The decor is fantastic. I would love to stay here. We head upstairs to meet Liz’s friend Jackie who is staying here. She is leaving today for New Zealand on an adventure involving a bicycle and a tent. We are all booked in for massage before she sets off.
12.25 We head up to the spa area and announce ourselves. The girl tries to sell us a special discounted massage and no amount of explaining can assure her we’ve already booked. She tells us to come back at quarter past 12, and we point out it already is that time. Finally Jackie remembers a slip of paper she was given and we’re in business. I am the extra guest, so I choose my massage from the extensive menu. I opt for the one hour foot massage at a very reasonable 360 Bhat (£6 ish).
12.30 Being pummelled. Despite requesting a foot massage, we start off with me sitting on a stool with my feet in a bucket of water infused with lime and the lady is stretching my arms like she is trying to break them. Briefly consider making a break for the door as she knees me in the spine. Wonder if my head is going to fall off or if anyone will hear me scream from here, as the others are in another area across the hall. having full body massages.
13.00 For the love of god, woman. She is really going at it with the punching the calves. Also it feels like she is trying to dislocate my toes. It is strangely relaxing though. She is paying far too much attention to my deformed big toes. Leave them be, woman!
13.30 An hour of hard work for both of us over. The nice massage lady stands up and puts my slippers on my feet for me and then bows to me. I feel like I should be the one bowing to her as I can’t really feel my feet anymore – they feel a bit like bales of cotton wool on the ends of my soothed legs. I am a bit unsteady on my feet as I’ve just been lying down in a state of alternating panic/bliss for the last hour. I shuffle back to the reception area and sit with my slippers on, leafing thru a magazine and sipping the extremely sweet tea that they bring me.
13.45 Liz and Jackie come back looking very relaxed. We all sit and drink our tea (I pretend to as it’s way too sweet for me) and get changed back into our shoes. I am wearing my new Rocket Dogs which I note have got a dirty mark on already from walking around the slightly muddy streets. I should probably not have worn them today as I expect to get wet at some point.
14.00 Jackie is leaving for the airport shortly, so we just have time to get some lunch. We head outside only to be met with a group of about 10 people brandishing what in the UK we would term Super Soakers. We duck back inside and get shot at from the other side by 3 men in shirts and ties armed with semi-automatic water weapons. We spy a break in the traffic and dash across the road – I bear the brunt of the watery attack. It is fun!
14.05 In the restaurant, more of a dim sum cafe. I realise as we go in that I have been here before on one of my previous trips to Thailand and the food was pretty good. This is where I tried Chrysanthumum juice and hated it. Steer clear of it this time and have some water instead. Also have some noodles (which come with half of China’s bamboo growth – yuck) and some pork dim sum which are tasty. We chat about general stuff, and it’s nice and relaxed. Surprisingly none of us order the stewed geese feet or steamed ducks tongues. Funny that.
14.30 We’re all done and heading out of the restaurant. Jackie has to go and collect her stuff and high tail it to the airport for her gazillion hour flight to NZ. Liz and I say goodbye and head back on foot for the water boat stop. The side streets are quiet and there are some odd people around. We get to the stop and wait for the boat and it’s not long before it arrives and we are back on the river.
15.00 On the BTS and part ways with Liz who is off to meet up with Rob, her boyfriend, and his parents who go back to UK tomorrow. Arrange to meet up tomorrow to go and see the madness which is Songkran on Khao San road. Get off at Sala Daeng.
15.05 Realise that I want to be at Siam. Go back upstairs and get back on the train.
15.15 Off at Siam. There is a Songkran Music Festival on at Siam Paragon. There is some emo tastic Thai band on with lots of girls screaming at them. One of them is wearing an orange jumper. He must be roasting.
15.25 Off at Ratchathewi, a station that sounds like someone is spewing when they announce it. Get off and narrowly avoid being soaked by a man with a bucket of water on the back of a motorbike. I am headed for Pratunam mall as I have read that they have western sized clothes there for sale wholesale but will also sell retail. I head off in the direction that I think I should be going in.
15.35 Hmm, maybe I am not going in the right direction. I can see a street sign up ahead. But before I get to it, I have to run the gauntlet of a group of teenagers with giant water cannons. They see me coming and look like it’s all their birthdays at once – a farang to soak! I think I am going to be drenched, but magically a pick up truck full of water-pistol toting guys pulls up and they start to have a skirmish as I skip past unnoticed. HA!
15.40 I AM going in the right direction. It’s just MUCH further than I thought.
15.45 Stop at 7-11 for a drink. Am knackered and parched. Think it’s not too much further tho.
16.00 Arrive and most of the units are of course shut for the holiday season. Didn’t think of that. Wander round in the air conditioning, cooling off. Use their bathroom facilities and get lost in a warren of corridors seemingly all filled with luggage shops. Eventually find an escalator and get back onto the street.
16.15 Trudging towards the main road, over a little hump backed bridge. A motorbike taxi stops and asks me if I want to hire him. I wave him on and keep trudging. The magic of the foot massage is draining away. I catch sight of about 8 people up ahead with water pistols. This is quite a quiet street, so they can’t believe their luck to get someone on foot AND a farang. They all cock their weapons as I approach. I smile and say PLEASE, NOT TOO MUCH – NIDNOI! They mainly take heed, apart from one guy who gets me in the back, but pleasantly just at the top of my neck and it’s really rather refreshing. One guy runs after me, he speaks some English. He presents a bottle of some sort of water with oil or something in it – it smells nice. He tells me this is what they pour on the Buddhas and onto their elders hands in ceremonies at Songkran. Then he empties it over my shoulder. I am a bit bemused, but thank him and trudge on.
16.30 Arrive at Chit Lom Central department store and duck inside to cool down. Wander round, look at the massively overpriced Marks and Spencers and cackle a bit to myself. Why would anyone pay near enough £70 for a pair of Per Una jeans? The answer is that they probably don’t as they have a massive sale on. Stumble across the Ideas zone and realise this is the place with the thick deco tape I was trying to remember last nite when I was talking to mar-c. I browse the aisles for a pleasant 20 minutes and purchase a few things for Jo’s birthday.
16.45 Outside and onto the BTS. Get off at Sala Daeng, my favourite station because of the name and also because this is where the revered Mr Bun is.
17.00 Walking along to the MRT station. I stop to hang over the bannisters like everyone else and take photos of the sheer chaos underneath. See my flickr for the photos!
17.20 On the MRT. Lots of people getting on covered in clay and dripping wet, carrying water pistols.
17.40 Off at Thailand Cultural Centre with the idea of getting some dinner on the way home. I pop into Carrefour to pick up some pineapple and some corn cobs and also some more kawaii things that I had to restock already such is my birthday gift giving ideas.
18.00 Moseying along, decide on impulse to give the Spaghetti Factory a go for dinner. Get skooshed on the way across there. Have some lasagne and garlic bread which is passable and about £2.50. Finish my book and remember to take my tablets.
19.00 Walking home, there is a definite party atmosphere. People are still riding around in pick up trucks, music blaring, water skooshing. It’s been a lot of fun today.
19.15 Arrive home. Dump everything on the bed and turn on AC. Get changed into my lounging around pajamas (shorts and t-shirt) and unpack shopping. Marvel that I bought about 8 things and they gave it to me in 5 carrier bags.
19.30 Log on to computer – 27 emails. How is that possible, I was just online last nite?! People email me a lot more now that I am 15,000 miles away, even the people that I hardly saw at home. I answer some of them, save some for lengthier replies later. Read my RSS feeds – oh, they found that TV presenter dead. That’s a shame. Look at flickr comments – people are asking about P&P for my new shop, Thai Kawaii. Realise I forgot to post that information up there. Will do it later.
21.00 Still online – typing this, talking to mar-c and Susan D. Susan is quizzing me about what I have eaten today as usual 🙂
21.20 Ooh, is that fireworks? I can hear them but not see them. BAH.
21.45 Editing the postage settings at http://thaikawaii.bigcartel.com. Paypal had messed it up. Too late for a swim now, bahhh.
22.30 Still faffing with Big Cartel. It’s quite easy to use. Adding 2 new things I found on way home tonite. It’s amazing what you can pick up with your corn cobs.
23.00 Off to bed! Fun day. Snoooze.