So I arrived in Bangkok at about 5.30am on the 10th and fortunately Kenny was there to greet me.I was a tad worried at first because I couldn't see him but in typical reliable Kenny fashion, he showed up.
On the way to his place, we had a brief chat about what he's been up to, the fact that he's now married to his girlfriend Hava and a little about Bangkok, aka "The City Of Angels".Little did I know that Bangkok's Thai name is listed as the longest place name in the world by Guinness World Records and is pronounced something like "Krung-dēvamahānagara amararatanakosindra mahindrayudhyā mahātilakabhava navaratanarājadhānī purīrāmasya utamarājanivēsana mahāsthāna amaravimāna avatārasthitya shakrasdattiya vishnukarmaprasiddhi". It translates to "The city of angels, the great city, the eternal jewel city, the impregnable city of God Indra, the grand capital of the world endowed with nine precious gems, the happy city, abounding in an enormous Royal Palace that resembles the heavenly abode where reigns the reincarnated god, a city given by Indra and built by Vishnukam".To put it mildly……a bit of a mouthful!
After a few hours kip I walked into the living room and met Hava for the first time.A great girl, who since my time in Bangkok has done everything she can to ensure I've had fun, understood things and seen an awful lot.Not to mention she has a solid grasp of English and is increasing her understanding all the time.But a couple of times I felt bit awkward, when Kenny and I fall into a fast flowing conversation about one thing or another; using slang, dropping "t's" and "r's" etc etc.You could see Hava feeling like the proverbial piggy in the middle.
After chugging back a brain-tingling coffee and having a few spring rolls, the three of us headed on a little introduction to Bangkok.Taking in the market at Patunam during the afternoon and heading to Sukumvit (Soi 3) in the evening.Patunam's draw is not necessarily the shopping (despite being able to buy every kind of knock-off, electronics etc at dirt cheap prices) but spectating.The hustle and bustle, watching bartering and noting fellow farangs (westerners) being ripped off and the hundred different scents in the air.
In the evening we headed to Sukumvit, considering it's Bangkok's longest road (heading to Cambodia) it's like a blocked artery, clogged with mopeds and tuk-tuks all adding to Bangkok's beautiful ever present grey haze.There wasn't too much for me to be spending my money on and the urge to 'splash the cash' had evaporated thanks to having no bank card for a week.But the new card did arrive on time, like clock work.The stress of losing it had evaporated and hopefully that being the last time I have to rely on Mum and Dad for aid from the other side of the World. Thanks a lot to you both…….yet again!
The day after, we took in a bit of sightseeing and two place sin particular that I was surprised Kenny had never visited, The Grand Palace and Wat Pho (home to the reclining Buddha). The first thing that strikes you when entering The Grand Palace is the shimmering gold plated roofs and building walls. Enhanced on our visit by the burning Sun. As far as the eye can see, intricate carvings, colourful statues, paintings all further enhanced by the Sun's bouncing rays and Japanese tourist acting very snap happy. It seems that all I do is visit temples, especially after Chiang Mai and Angkor but The Grand Palace is different yet again. The vibrant colours and structures different from previous. But the humidity was gruesome and it was time to visit Wat Pho and the unmissable Reclining Buddha. Wat Pho is yet again different from The Grand Palace, apart from the ever-present Japanese. It has a very shambolic and lively feel to it. Around the main attraction of the Buddha, lay classrooms and basketball courts. Not something I'd usually associate with temples, particularly the latter.
But the Reclining Buddha is amazing. From the photo's you see and the photo's I've taken, it's hard to grasp its true scale but it is immense and a beautiful sight to take in. After ten minutes of gawping at it and taking a few pics, sweat was yet again pouring down my face and back. It was time to get some fluid, knock back some food and the visit Bangkok's infamous Patpong district.
LET THE EYE-OPENING BEGIN!!