Thursday, 26 April 2012

Bangkok Take Two.

We returned to Bangkok for our last 2 days in Thailand after a nice ferry ride with a lovely Canadian couple and a long, boring, painful bus journey. This bus was probably the most uncomfortable yet, and definitely not built for 6 foot 2 broad shouldered Irish men. It nearly killed Leigh. 

We arrived that evening and checked into our hotel, which was a bit less swanky than the place we treated ourselves to on our first stop. It was grand though, and on Soi Ram Buttri (our fake Koh San), so we were happy enough. We had a bit of a wander around got some grub and had an early enough night, being fairly wrecked from the days travel. I don’t know why sitting on your ass while someone else drives you around can tire you out, but apparently it does…

The next day we decided to hit up Chatuchak Market, the HUUUUUGE weekend market in Bangkok. It’s a 35-acre market that has over 8,000 market stalls filled to the brim with bargains of all kinds to be had. Apparently over a typical weekend it gets more than 200,000 visitors, so it’s safe to say it was a little chaotic. In saying that I was expecting it to be absolute mayhem, but it was actually a really nice day. It didn’t feel too busy or crowded, probably due to the fact that it is so damn big. We spent about four hours wandering around and checking out the stalls. 
They have everything from watches and shoes to air conditioning units and 8 foot Buddha statues. Basically if you wanted it you could buy it. I couldn’t take full advantage of its awesomeness as I just have my backpack that’s already bursting at the seams, but I got a watch and some sandals. I would love to come back in November some year and do all my Christmas shopping. They literally have something for everyone, it would be amazing. I’d be going over with one carry-on bag and going home with 2 filled suitcases (I could buy them there too you see! ;) ).

After that we decided to experience the awesomeness of a Bangkok cinema. I know it sounds like a boring thing to do when we’re somewhere as exciting as Bangkok but tonnes of people recommended it to me, which I thought was strange enough to warrant checking out.
So we got the Skytrain from the market to the fancy shopping centre we went to for the aquarium and got the lift to the top floor cinema. It was a strange set up. They have normal screens, and then separate box offices for the super fancy VIP screens. We went with the Nokia Ultra Screen because it sounded like the plushest from Leigh’s googling, and we were not disappointed. It was crazy money for Thailand, but just more than a normal cinema ticket would be at home, and starts off with a free drink and brownies in the posh bar. Then we went into the screen and we were blown away! 

The seats were huge electronically reclining leather loungers in private alcoves of two, each one with a blanket and pillow. It was the comfiest I’ve been in so long, probably more comfortable than my bed at home. It was freezing in the screen to allow you to use the blanket, and felt like a strange way for the rich to prove their wealth blasting this air-conditioning to such an extent that you actually need a duvet.

One of the things I was looking forward to experiencing was I’d heard that in the cinemas in Thailand they play a short film in honour of the King before the movie that you must stand for. I wasn’t sure if this was true, or if it was if everyone would really stand, but it was and everyone did. It was actually a nice video portraying Thailand in a very positing light, full of happy children. I mean clearly it’s some form of propaganda, but still it was interesting to see. I mentioned to Leigh that I thought you wouldn’t get that at home, everyone standing up if they played a video of that nature but translatable to Ireland, but he reminded me that everyone stands in the same way, without question for the national anthem at a football match at home. I guess it’s the same thing, and if that was played in a cinema before a film in the same way and was ingrained in us from a young age we would stand up for it. We saw The Hunger Games which was awesome, and it was a cool experience so I’m glad we went.

The next day was our last full day in Bangkok so we did some of the things we wanted to do before we left. I got my nails did! Manicure and pedicure for €4. If it cost that at home I’d get it done all the time and wouldn’t constantly have the nails of a teenage boy…if only! We also took our last trip to Koh San Road in the search on sunglasses as I broke mine that morning and Leigh lost his. We stopped at a million different stalls checking them out because of my indecisive nature and when we finally stopped at a huge Aladdin’s cave of Ray Bans and all of a sudden the guy’s throwing sheets of canvas over the glasses concealing them. So we walked on and half the sunglasses on the road had suddenly disappeared…only the Ray Bans though. And then we saw some police men on motor bikes drive by. Clearly the two were linked, but it was strange that just some of the glasses were hidden. I guess either they were stolen or it was illegal to pretend they were Ray Bans. Not gonna lie, it just made us want them more. We eventually got a pair each and some food and went to collect our bags and get a taxi to the airport. So long Thailand it’s been a pleasure and I have no doubts that we will see each other again.

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