On my last day on Ko Chang, I met two other travelers, one from Canada and one from Korea. The Canadian guy really didn't want to do much, he just sat around and ate which was kind of nice, because I always had someone to eat with. The Korean girl was a bit more interested in doing some exploring, so I figured that I'd take her back to the place where I saw the snake and try to reach the waterfall again. She was a bit too small to carry or drag me anywhere if I got injured or bitten, but at least she could go get help so I wouldn't just lay in the jungle for days. I was glad that I made it back to the waterfall, because it was just about perfect. There was a big, deep pool underneath the falls that was just perfect for swimming. It was another one of those life goals that I can cross off my list. Swimming in a clear pool under a waterfall in the rainforest. Check.
We spent the rest of the day doing some more exploring and then I returned to my crappy bungalow for another dark, windy night. I left the next morning and headed back to Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Ayuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit. Some folks call it Bangkok. I had planned on treating myself to a slightly nicer room with air-conditioning and after finding a decent looking place, I checked in and showered. Haley and I had planned to meet up in Bangkok, and it ended up that she is staying in the same hotel as I am.
It is a little bit inconvenient to have someone else around all the time, but at the same time, it's nice to have someone who knows Bangkok a little bit and can tell me some good things to see and good restaurants. I wanted to go visit Chinatown today, and Haley tagged along. Chinatown was fine, about like you'd expect. Very crowded, narrow streets selling all kinds of junk. As tends to happen with me, I took the water taxi back to the neighborhood where we were staying, and missed the stop. I was paying attention, and I'm not sure how it slipped past me, but we ended up getting outside of Bangkok, which is a pretty difficult thing to do. I finally looked at the map and found that we needed to travel 10km in the direction we'd just come from. That's another nice thing about traveling by myself. When I screw up and find myself lost, I don't have to worry about dragging anyone else down with me. It doesn't usually bother me to be completely lost or have to stop and spend the night in some tiny town, but I feel a bit bad about making other people deal with my stupidity.
The good side of the little adventure was that I got to walk around Bangkok quite a bit, and take in the sights and smells of the city. One thing I noticed, was the huge number of billboards with pictures of the king. They don't say anything, they're just random pictures of the king going about his daily life. I find it funny, because for most of them, he's not even posing or anything. There are a few of him smiling and waving to people, but a lot of them are him doing random things that don't seem like they warrant being put on a billboard. I've seen him petting a dog, eating a meal, talking on a walkie-talkie, dialing a telephone, even taking a picture of a mountain. Maybe he just got tired of posing for the hundreds of pictures put up all over the country and finally told them that they could just photograph him going about his daily activities.
Another thing about Bangkok, and the Philippines too I guess, is that the stores are all very small, and sell very specific items. We passed a store today that sold pool cues and only pool cues. I've also seen small stores dedicated to doorknobs, extension cords, and other items that don't seem like they need a whole store. Just another one of those things. I think I'm going to leave tomorrow and head to Phetchaburi (or something like that) to spend two more days on the beach before returning to Bangkok to head to India. I told Haley she was welcome to join me, but I have a feeling after the incident today she doesn't trust me to lead her around. We'll see I guess.