Updates from South East Asia!
Oh my God as I write there is the most ENORMOUS lizard on the wall next to me-it's a toucay (think thats how you spell it) and tis bout the twice the length of my handspan-not that you know my handspan...um about 40 cm? The toucay not my handspan. Shut up Jess. Anyway sorry, distracted, um where was I? Oh yeah hadn't started. Ok, well after we landed in Bangkok we spent a night at my Uncle Damian's apartment before heading to Khao San Rd (Sawasdee Banglumpoo guesthouse) for a few nights to be more central. The only eventful thing that happened on the way from the airport to my uncle's was that we saw a couple of ginormous elephants casually strolling across the heavily congested Bangkok highway, seemingly oblivious to the honking horns and screeching brakes. We were delighted, obviously and I fell off my seat straining to reach over far enough to get a photo out of the window. I missed. The next day we saw a man riding yet another elephant along the pavement with a baby elephant in tow. It was pretty random, he just looked like he'd finished work for the day (i.e. tired and bored) and this was his usual transport home, which, admittedly it probably was. The following night we went out to Pat Pong to go clubbing but unfortunately all the clubs had shut. In fairness we were forewarned they would be but we stubbornly refused to believe that Bangkok nightlife closes at 1am. It does. We did however see ANOTHER mini elephant and a Thai woman grabbed my arm, shoved something unidentifiable in my hand and then thrust it under the elephants trunk. I fed a baby elephant! Ok enough about elephants now, oh no actually I take that back. Tomorrow we're going on a 3 day trek to Pai and we get to go bamboo rafting and.....ELEPHANT riding! Sorry, I really will shut up about them now. It was really strange being back in Bangkok, sort of felt like we'd never left. Khao San Rd is wicked so it was cool to stay there. It's central to everything we wanted to do; see the Grand Palace with the Emerald Buddha, MBK shopping centre, Bangkok river cruise and of course see the liverpool lot. I'd forgotten just how humid and polluted Bangkok is though, so that was a bit of a rude awakening-tuktuk drivers wear surgical type masks to reduce pollution intake with good reason. One ride in a tuktuk through central Bangkok and it'll make you yearn for the clear, relatively unpolluted air of home. Oh and the retching raw sewage smells are second to none in Bangkok although there are pretty close contenders all throughout Thailand. We met up with Colleen and waved her off to New Zealand and then spent a couple of crazy days with the liverpool lot before they too flew onwards. We'd met a few of Jay's mates from Uni so we hung out with them until we got our coach to Chiang Mai and they got theirs to Koh Pha Ngan (lucky gits). Pretty much everyone who comes travelling to Thailand goes to Khao San at some point so we spotted quite a few familiar faces from the islands including a wicked Austrian guy called Rene, two girls from Northampton (who we're meeting up with tomorrow to go on a trek with) we'd met in Phi Phi and another random from Koh Pha Ngan. Dave is not in my good books at the moment. Evidently not satisfied with ramming the fully laden airport trolley over my big toe a few days previously, Dave decided to go and trip over a cable along Khao San, bringing an overloaded plug socket crashing down on my head. Cheers Dave. I had a gargantuan swollen lump just above my left eyebrow leaving me looking suitably disfigured for the rest of my time in Khao San. To anyone who asked what happened Dave explained: "She gave me cheek".Again, thanks Dave. Talking of Dave and eyebrows, his piecing has closed up. He finally (after ignoring countless "leave it Dave, if you take it out it'll close up, it looks fine, stop fiddling!" reprimands from me) managed to prise the ball from the end of the piercing and have a good poke at it. Once he had sufficiently satisfied his curiosity he tried to put the ball back on the end but because his fingers were all sweaty he accidently knocked the piercing out and it fell down the sink. After considering shoving a cocktail stick in it to keep it open then rejecting this idea with thoughts of hygiene, he went to bed and by the morning it had completely healed. I have shown an enormous amount of self-restraint and not said those few words i have been itching to say: "I told you so". Never mind, he's thinking of getting is tongue done next I think... Anyway the coach journey to Chiang Mai wasn't too bad actually. I read (via the light from my phone, bloody drivers turning off over head lights, grr...) pretty much the whole way (really good book: Are you experienced? William Sutcliffe) and was only marginally perturbed by the weird staring woman on the other side of the aisle. It's one thing to feel that someone is repeatedly stealing covert glances at you, it is entirely another however when someone is sat within two feet of you openly gawping with wide unblinking eyes. I tried turning round and making eye contact thinking that was bound to scare her off but she just continued gazing openly and in the end i gave up and returned to my book, inching the cover higher to cover my face... We didn't speak to anyone else on the journey, not because we were being anti-social but we were completely unable to- two Thais behind us, Japanese in front, and the weird starey couple across the aisle who we think were French. Short of trotting down the coach to try and find some English speaking people and parking yourself on the floor in the aisle to strike up a conversation with the surprised people, there wasn't really much we could do about it. I think I got about an hour and a half sleep but coach seats really are not the most comfortable beds in the world. As soon as you manage to contort your body into an adequately comfortable (and I use the terms in their loosest possible sense) position, you'd inevitably get cramp in said contorted bodypart, get a dead arse and /or realise the scary staring woman had upped her freaky vigil and is now staring hard enough to surely see every infinitesimal twitch or movement of the muscles in your face and gaze wonderously into every pore. Once we got to Chiang Mai we were ushered into a taxi going straight to "Nice Place Guesthouse" which eschewed the need for any painful decision-making on our behalf. Excellent. It is so much cheaper here in the north because it is far less touristy. We're heading to a market in a minute but it is only about 15p a minute to ring home and 20 baht (about 35p) for an hour on the inet! Plus the room we have here at the guesthouse, although basic and a bit scabby isn't bad and it's costing us one pound sixty a night! That's the least we've paid so far, other than free accomodation with my uncle obviously (I love relatives). Not much else to report really, well I could go on for hours really but I think I've rambled long enough for one journal entry, keep in touch people otherwise I shall be having words when I get back in 5 and a half weeks! Loadsa love Jessxx