Tuesday, 29 December 2015

The Final Days - Bangkok aka hell, and the 83 hour flight back to civilization

Well, we arrived in my favourite city Bangkok and sadly it has not undergone any changes.  It's still stifling hot, the infrastructure is all broken, it's difficult to navigate the streets and raw chicken with flies all over it is still on platters in the sun,   Nothing has changed.

The final day was sad with my daughter.  We were both bone tired and in a gravol stupor from the Red eye bus.  Made our way over to my second favorite place in Thailand, the first hostel who had kept our extra bags which was very nice of them.  We arrived at 5am to yak with a bored bartender who let me have a shower.  Funny, it wasn't as horrifying the second time when you realize much of Thailand is similar, but it was still out of a Stephen King movie gross.  I came out feeling like a million dollars, and prepared my knapsack for the trip home and to take on all daughter's excess and by the time I finished it, I was a river of sweat.  How do this live in this humidity at 5AM????

So she thought I would like the Golden Palace, which is a famous temple.  Due to her superior navigating skills, we traveled the city all day for about 30 cents.  She is travel agent extraordinaire.  At the Golden Palace, we knew already that there was a dress code and it was on the PA the whole time.  We had been wandering the streets and there were police everywhere...something was going on.  At the temple, we joined the sea of humanity- I think all of Thailand was on holidays.  Everything you want to see is mostly outside in the 1000 degree temperature but I have dressed appropriately and she is in a skimpy dress with tiny sleeves.  Out comes my shawl and my outfit is complete.  The only thing I have to offer her is a black omg winter sweater.  The joke was on me; the clothing police pointed to me and told me to cover up; I'm covered from head to toe.  Daughter's tramp dress was fine and I had to wear the black sweater which was my version of a burka.  Now I know have may not have been the best sport up until now but you have NEVER seen a crabbier, more miserable, bitchy traveler than I was on that day.  My poor daughter.  She was watching her coin and I was unbearable so we refused to pay the hefty 500 baht ($17) took a few random photos, did the sour grapes thing, (I never wanted to go anyway) and left.  She was sweet enough to take me to a local trinket shop to see what they were all selling as mementos from the Palace and it was the jade Buddha.  Took a picture and was all caught up.

My reality was the oppressive heat so we bused to Terminal 21, which is an odd high end mall, with air conditioning and each floor is a different themed country.  The main floor highlighted Italy but it was the gorgeous bathroom that captivated us.  The seats were automated with a panel on the side that resembled an airline panel. I didn't have my glasses handy so I took a picture of it and checked out how to use it after.  There is warm water spray for the front, a separate one for the back end, a bidet, a blow dryer and temperature settings.  WTH.  I want this in Canada. We did a bathroom run on the different floors but this was the best.

Daughter was desperately trying to make my last day busy and eventful but we were pooped.  We decided to go see a movie upstairs... chose a kids Dinosaur movie with the intention of sleeping and that's exactly  what we did. She slept more than me and I was enjoying the movie until the baby dinosaur got separated from his family and had to travel alone.  Well, the significance of that event and my 27 year old traveling alone again overwhelmed me and I was the sobbing, Kleenex drenched mommy thinking of deserting her baby in this Bangkok hellhole and then Australia for another year.  Patrons must have thought I really got into the movie.  So glad she slept.

With my red nose, we walked to Chinatown, which to me is the whole city but we were on a mission to find the restaurant we missed on the first arrival date that received a great rating for Pad Thai.  She made me walk, like my older sister always does on vacation.  It's a conspiracy, I'm sure.  100 hours later, feeling hot and sweaty, we arrived to an open building with one single man shaking his head to let us know they were closed, even tho Google said they were open.  Another couple followed behind us with the same reaction.  More forced walking and we settled upon a restaurant called the Sidewalk Cafe and it was quite possibly the food highlight of my trip.

We took lots of pictures and tried to cross the busy streets with median full of flowers and pictures of their king/leader/dictator?  Suddenly, we noticed the streets, which normally had 9 rows of traffic each way were empty.  It was such an eerie feeling.  I took out my camera and heard a voice warn me, "No pictures lady".  The royal family was passing through the downtown and they love their royalty.  His picture is everywhere.  Daughter warned me that if I drop a baht bill on the ground and it starts to fly away, if I step on it, it's game over sister.
Bought matching bracelets and went back one last time to get our luggage and take the final metro to the airport...no tearful goodbyes but it's bittersweet as I don't know when I will see her again.  I've learned that I'm a terrible third world backpacker and my body is reminding me of that.  It saddens me to realize this but I just don't enjoy this anymore.  When did I become old?

Went to use the bathroom and the attendant smiled and talked in Thai to me for 3 minutes...awkward.  I made my exit but she sought me out again to "talk" some more.  Really nice lady but she is the sole attendant for exactly one bathroom; that's it, that's all, nothing else, and there are only 3 stalls.  No wonder she's bored.  This place takes their bathrooms seriously.  Then there were three looking after the bathroom.  WTH.  I can't go with that many people listening.  24 hours earlier, I had buckets of money but now I have nothing left.  Spent it all with daughter.  Canadian money is useless, and the last security confiscated my last water bottle.  I hope I don't perish from the airport smog, poverty or lack of food and water.

Seat selection is very important to me.  I like the aisle seats only and especially if they are only two together; it's a claustrophobic thing.  On the upcoming 5 hour flight, I chose the perfect seat.  Heaven, until a young girl asked in broken English if she could sit beside her relative, and switch seats with me. The old lady beside me starts smiling like a jackal and talking a mile a minute and nodding her head at what  a good idea this is but she speaks not a word of English.  Damn, I really want my seat but this poor young girl will be alone for 5 hours.  Finally, and with a panicky feeling, I very reluctantly agreed to sit in the middle section, only to find out that half the plane are her relatives, she falls instantly asleep for five hours and said not one word to the old bat.  On the next flight, it happens all over again so I said, I will only switch if I end up in a two seater in the aisle.  Since they had to work it out amongst themselves, they gave up and I was happy.

On the flight, time is all screwed up and they deliver lunch or supper at 2am.  I'm all messed up but I eat it anyway.  stood most of the flight at the back and did stretching.  We flew over the North Pole.  Damn, it looked cold.

Back in Ottawa finally.  It's cold and I'm busing home.  The cold is all I could dream of in Bangkok but we've just had an ice storm.  Walking the finally two blocks gives me time to walk one inch at a time, and thinking that I may never eat rice or noodles again. My poor body is a toxic cocktail of smog and Gravol. My hair is gross, I gave up on makeup 17 days earlier and all the clothes that got soaked on the ferry 24 hours earlier, well, they are starting to stink.  I have become that hippy that no one wants to stand downwind from.  Can't wait to eat salad again, and have a bubble bath back at Spoiled Rotten Bed and Breakfast.   I want to be spoiled rotten!!!!!!  I LOVE Canada and my home.
Can you guess- me with my sweater on at the Temple.  Not a happy menopausal traveler in this heat.

The Grand Palace.

At Terminal 21 mall on the Japanese floor.

My beauty at one of the colourful road medians before they almost shot me for taking a picture of their exulted leader.

Street food- scorpions.

Our matching bracelets and the end of our journey together.  

The Golden Palace was sooo busy.

Weird seeing Christmas in the heat.

This bathroom console made my bum happy.

We didn't talk about the elephant in the room- my departure.

The Japanese bathroom was beautiful too.

Chi mannequins.  Hmmm.

The democracy monument.

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