So today was going to be a bit of a write off. I expected to have to spend all day at immigration, in queues trying to explain my story to several people and dragging poor Pops along for the ride. How wrong I was.
After a morning of e-mailing and laundry we found a taxi to the British Embassy and after a ridiculous amount of security checks just to get into the building we were in and sorting out paperwork before we knew it. Luckily I had everything I needed and after a lot of negotiating the woman persuaded me that I would be able to get a full passport after a couple of weeks, rather than the usual four. An ETD would be possible in 24hours but because I didn't have all my flights confirmed it would not be possible. So I cancelled all my flights and all my onward travel plans, bought a new flight home and handed over all the necessary paperwork to get my passport before my Thai Visa ran out. I though paying £150 now for a full passport rather than the £90 for an ETD and then another £150 when I get home to get a passport, made more sense.
We were done and out of there by lunch time! Result.
With an unexpected day in Bangkok ahead of us we decided to try and cram the fun in as we were not sure how much longer we were going to have in Bangkok and how much longer Poppy and I were going to have together. We got on the sky train from 'Phloen Chit' station (best name EVER!) and made our way to Central Pier. The sky trains are super speedy; with air con and mini TV screens to alleviate the boredom. The best bit about the sky train is the handy map which has little LEDs which light up when you arrive at said station and then turn red once you have left it. I love this part the best because we soon realised we had passed our stop and did a quick U-y to correct ourselves. Thanks little LEDs.
Once at Central Pier I grabbed a bag of mini Thai empanadas before heading to the long boat pier. We were persuaded to hire our very own long boat to take a leisurely trip back to our guest house via a few temples, flying fish and The Grand Palace.
So far Bangkok hadn't impressed me that much. It was claustrophobic, manic, polluted, noisy and I was CONSTANTLY being accosted by people trying to get me into tuk tuks, massage parlours and tailors. The boat ride changed all that. It gave Pops and I the chance to see a bit of the old Bangkok. The ornate temples, the little bamboo houses on stilts, the stunning flowers and wildlife. The city was nothing but a foggy silhouette in the background.
We did have one salesman approach our boat to try and fob off a few magnets on us, but I forgave him as he was also on a small raft carefully balancing a whole shop on it
Our first stop was the 'Crocodile Snake Farm'. Not quite the Crocoseum at Australia Zoo. In fact it was a heartbreaking experience. While we waited to see the snake show we walked around to have a look at the emaciated monkeys, featherless parrots, cowering deer and hundreds of rabbits crammed into the smallest enclosure I have ever seen. It was horrifying and yet the Thais seemed so unperturbed by the state of their zoo. They were quite happy to try and get us to buy food to feed the poor little things and didn't find it worrying that they were almost dying in those cages.
We only managed to walk around for 10 minutes before we went to try and get the show over and done with. Luckily the show was short and sweet. We saw a king cobra get milked along with lots of other snakes jumping around, popping balloons and jumping at the handlers. I have utter respect for those guys but if you ask me they are looking for trouble and I wasn't going to encourage them and their scary zoo by leaving any tips.
Only good part? I did get to hold a 5ft python and have it wrapped around my neck. Tick that one off on-the-things-to-before-I-die list.
Back on the boat to see the Cat fish being fed and then a quick walk around the most beautiful temple I have ever seen; Wat Arun. It is huge, shiny, ornate, awe-inspiring structure. We didn't have time to pay and go in to see the Golden Buddah but the outside and surrounding spires were more than satisfying enough.
Last stop was The Grand Palace. We arrived 30minutes before closing so made a mad dash to go in. We didn't get very far before Poppy was asked to hand over 1000baht deposit to put on someone else's smelly sarong and sweaty shirt. Once we got her all dressed up we realised we didn't have enough money to then go into the Palace itself, so after a quick walk around the outside wall in search of ice-cream and failing, we returned Poppy's new wardrobe and walked back the way we had come in. Grand total of 15 minutes in the Grand Palace. Maybe another time.
We walked along the river back to our hotel and washed off the day. We decided to venture out for some dinner. Once again, we managed to make it across the road before a very friendly tuk tuk driver persuaded us to go to the local T.A.T (tourist information office) and then onto the night market and Khao San Road all for the grand total of 40baht. We were easily swayed and within the hour Poppy had changed her flight to New Zealand, we had booked our trip to Ko Pan Gang and the Full Moon Party the following day and my onward travels to Krabi and Ko Phi Phi. These Thai's know how to make a good sale. We didn't get any sales vouchers that night as we arrived just before closing so we agreed to come back the next day to pick everything up before our 6pm bus to Ko Pang Nan.
We were on cloud 9. So once we were dropped off at the night market we ended up paying our driver 100baht for helping us sort everything out and then partook in a little cocktail at the Silk Bar to celebrate the continuation of our journey.
Khao San Road is amazing. Busy, crazy market stalls, invitations to 'ping pong' shows round every corner, excellent Pad Thai and Spring Rolls for sale and Pops and I purchased some very sexy dresses and playsuits to mark the beginning of the beach season down south.
That morning all I could think about was getting my passport. By that evening I had a two week holiday around the South booked and paid for! Amazing.