Destination Chiang Mai

Yesterday comprised of very little. Bit of a scare when we thought Lucy’s card wasn’t working, but alas, she had just typed in the wrong PIN ! The pool, from which we could see all of Bangkok, was lush and we had a couple of hours to soak up some rays (or in my case, reflect them). I experienced my first Thai massage… though the effects of this wore off very quickly thanks to the backpack. How is it I go away for half the time the girls are going for, and yet mine seems to be the heaviest?! Most upsetting.

Relax time comes to an abrupt end when we realise we need to leave the hostel if we are going to catch the train to Chiang Mai. After risking our lives to flag down a taxi, Amy works her negotiating charm and we head to Bangkok Train Station, AKA Hua Lamphong. It’s interesting. Our attention for the majority of the hour is focused mainly on the woman next to us, asleep on the floor. She wears a nice jacket, but she has no shoes. I can’t decide whether I’m more concerned about the fact her feet really don’t look human, or about the large blood stain on her shoulder… I’m relieved the bandage round her head looks clean, though I’m now finding it difficult to enjoy eating my chocolate doughnut!

On board the train, and at 8ish the woman comes round to transform the train into a dormitory. In fairness, the newly-made bunk beds are actually quite comfy and by half 8, I seem to be the only one awake. After attempting some Code Breakers, I drift off myself… We all awake at a similar time, and though I can’t speak for anyone else, I feel like I’ve had the most amazing night’s sleep. This is good as I was personally dreading the early wake up!

We are shocked & disappointed when Laura tells us it’s only 3am! Ahh well, only 5 hours until Chiang Mai!!…

…We are devastated when she reveals she read the time wrong and it’s actually 10.30pm!

8.30am and Amy wakes us in panic… we should have got off the train 10 minutes ago! Slight stress, but we are calmed down and reassured by the woman packing our beds away, that we are in fact one hour behind schedule… Of course! When we do finally arrive, we are welcomed by the rain, and the pushy people at the station who try to get us to go to their hostels. After a little discussion,  we are persuaded to stay at SK House II. It’s a cute little guesthouse-style hostel with balcony, pool, and fish tank. It works out less than a fiver a night, for a four-bed room with two extra mattresses thrown in. I volunteer to go on the floor and Lucy joins me.

Quick shower and after realising we are too late to see the Longneck women, we decide to spend our afternoon at Tiger Kingdom where we can feed and play with tiger cubs! They’re incredible obviously, and personally I’d pay the £10 to do it again, but if they’re not drugged up then I’m Japanese! I’m also concerned at seeing the larger tigers roar with distress when they’re being threatened with sticks when their cages are being cleaned and I feel slightly guilty that I have technically contributed to this. Nevertheless, life goes on and that evening we decide to find a restaurant called “Riverside”, which has been recommended to us by a number of people. However, our incompetant tuktuk driver dispatches us in a market area we have no knowledge on and we have no choice but to dine at “Le Bistro”. This is a place where drinks and “local” food are prepared God-knows-where, but definitely not here!!

What is it about the Southeast Asian culture that makes the men want to grow their pinky fingernails really long?!! We refer to these people as ‘Cocaine Fingers’. Our waiter uses his to itch his nose. It’s pleasant. Needless to say, the food is not, and we show our disgust at being charged 5% VAT AND 10% Service charge!

After a cheeky little drink round the corner from the market, we are greeted by a delightful cockroach back in the room! At first Heather thinks it is a lizard, so I happily volunteer to remove it from the room! But when I see the black armour and humongous wings I join the girls who are stood on the bed at the other side of the room. Thanks to Rosie, a guy comes in to kill it and everyone happily gets into bed…

…Me and Lucy live in fear on the floor…

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