Saturday, June 18, 2011

Day 48/49 - The Full Moon Beckons

It's 3am. I can't sleep. It's just so fucking bright in here.

I'm stuck on a train. A train going to Surat Thani. And if you ever decide to take a 2nd class seat (note: not sleeper) on a train in Thailand, know this: they NEVER turn the lights off. This insanely fluorescent, over lit railcar is keeping me awake.

But that's not the point. The point is, I've left Bangkok and I'm heading south. I'm making my way to Ko Phangan for the infamous full moon party. Not exactly part of the original plan, but hey, plans change.  

See I was already missing the sun, sand and sea after spending 3 weeks in Indonesia. After spending 5 days in the megalopolis of Bangkok, my blood was surging for some sun and salt water. So when Tom and I met up with Mallary and Leah (two American girls we met in Chiang Mai), and they practically begged me to come along with them, I couldn't resist. We left Tom to go back to his rented house in Pai, so Mallary, Leah and I could have a girls week on a tropical island in Thailand!

So here I sit, on this train bound for Surat Thani, where we will catch a bus and then a ferry and finally arrive on Ko Phangan in about 12 hours time.

On second thought, maybe isn't the bright lights that are keeping me awake. Maybe it's the anticipation that is cursing through my veins. I'm headed for one of the biggest parties on earth, set on an amazing backstop of a tropical island.

Ko Phangan, I hope you're ready for us. Eat your heart out!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Day 44 - Take me on a helicopter ride!

The night began with two tube of traveler’s vegemite and a reunion with two handsome men from Sydney.  In front of the Four Seasons no less.

The two handsome men were of course Chao and Brendan, and they had very kindly bought me my kryptonite; “yurky vegemite” from down under. The night only got better and better from there on in.  Our first destination was a German-Thai bar/restaurant/stage show where we had an awesome meal of hearty Thai food (it does exist!), accompanied by a 3 litre beer tower. Which may have skewed our judgement somewhat, as copious amounts of alcohol have a tendency to do.

So we all jumped in a taxi. Our destination; a helicopter show. Last night was ping pong shows, tonight it was time for the boys of Bangkok to show us what they could do.  FYI, a helicopter show is the gay man's answer to the Ping Pong shows. But Tom and I went along with Brendan and Chao for a laugh. 

The four of us walk into the bar, and take a hopefully inconspicuous seat in the back row.  The show has already begun, and wow, these boys definitely have some talent.  Not only do they look like they're having fun, they also reak of sexuality.  Already they are far out stripping the girls from last night.

The finale of the show was a 'meat market'. Quite literally. The boys walk around the stage, in a line, with numbers pinned to their underwear.  This was when the show really started getting interactive. Being one of the only females in the gay bar, it was quite obvious from all the attention I was receiving that not all of these boys were of the gay persuasion.  On the other hand however, from all the attention Tom was also getting, some of the boys were obviously gay. Or willing to take Tom home anyway. After we'd had enough of being fawned over by men we definitely weren't going to invite to bed, we called it a night. 

But let me leave you with one vital piece of information; helicopter shows are much, much more fun than the ping pongs. Given the choice, I'd take a helicopter any day!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Day 43 - Bye bye Indonesia, Hello Thailand

Today I'm flying back to Bangkok.  Not the best destination Thailand has to offer, but I'm definitely glad to be going back. To going back to street stall food, street side cocktails, and spending less than AU$5 a night on accomodation!

So again, I've packed my ever expanding backpack, and I'm embarking on another transit journey. After being away from home for 43 days, somethings do start to get to you. Like packing. Packing everything I own back into my backpack is sometimes the reason I end up staying in places a little too long! There are other things as well though, like, not being able to brush your teeth using the tap water. Or not knowing where you will be sleeping that night. Or there never being hot water available. But then, it will hit me, that actually, I don't have to clean a bathroom, or mop my floorboards, or cook my own dinner, and repacking my backpack for the hundredth time doesn't seem quite so bad.

Arriving on Khao San Road it was my mission to find a guesthouse. Something nice and cheap, I needed to make up for all the extravagance of Indonesia! Finally, I stumbled upon Mom's Guesthouse, where I found a room, with two beds, and within my price range! YAY! Unfortunately, it did not have any of the comforts I'd come to love, like; soft beds, private bathrooms, swimming pools and free wifi. But boy, I was still glad to be back in Thailand. Tom had spent the last 3 weeks in Pai whilst I've been away, and I couldn't wait to catch up with him! I wasn't sure what time he was getting in, but he'd planned to come down to Bangkok to meet up with me. 

Bangkok, being the backpackers gateway to almost everywhere else in Southeast Asia, is always a place to reunite with previous travel buddies. And this time didn't disappoint; I was to be reunited with the crazy pirates of the Perhentians (minus Tori unfortunately!).  Just as I was having a Chang (oh, how had missed them!), and catching up with Gwen, I got a call from Tom, he is in Bangkok already - where am I? I give Tom rough, but hopefully sufficient directions to my whereabouts, and return to my girlie chat.

After meeting up with Tom, it was time to hunt down the Manchester boys, Zach, Danny and James, to reminsce about pirates, ladyboys, and spiked buckets.  Now, Bangkok being Bangkok, we felt it necessary to go and see the horrible but curiously intriguing tourist attraction; the Ping Pong Shows.  Tom, having 'been there, done that', was not up for another round and retired to the guesthouse, quite understandable given the 10 hour bus ride he endured to arrive in Bangkok! So the rest of us, 9 at this point, piled into 3 tuk-tuks, and we were off! If you've never been in a tuk-tuk, they are generally designed for two. That is, two people that know each other quite well.  Cramming in three westerners is quite the challenge, and three competing tuk-tuks makes it feel like you are an involuntary passenger in some twisted version of 2 Fast 2 Furious: Tokyo Drift. Perhaps, 3 Too Many: Bangkok Nightmares? But once we arrived, down a dark alley, we had apparently arrived.  After a dispute over the entry price (welcome back to Thailand Alicia!), we were in. Into the dark, dingy, little bar with mirrors all around, a blacklight and a disco ball that had seen better days. The show began. I won't go into all the sordid details, but let me say this; it's not as fun as you expect it to be.  The girls have a sad emptiness in their eyes, and their movements lack any hint of sexuality. Ping Pong Show: Check. It's a one time only kind of thing.