I’m back, not in a tracksuit (name that song) but in the sombre black of UK officewear. But what of the intervening few days, I hear you cry?
Well, Friday evening Ammie and I spent whirling round the Siam square area, which I had somehow managed to miss entirely before. It is a warren of little stores and stalls, a lot of clothes stores, Thai music stores and of course, jewellery stores. I bought some more great stuff for MF and for myself and we had a general wander round. There was a big area in the centre (that’ll be the square, I guess) where there were some Thai bands playing – we arrived there just as a scary Thai metal band finished. It was such a great atmosphere, something that could never happen in Glasgow, not least because the weather wouldn’t stand for it.
After this, I went home on the BTS and decided to tackle packing. This was not as easy as I thought it would be in the end, as I had managed to accumulate quite a lot of stuff during my stay! I went out with one lightly packed suitcase and came back with one stuffed suitcase that had to be sat on to close it and an overflowing holdall. So packing took a lot longer than anticipated and I went to bed safe in the knowledge that I didn’t have to be up for work in the morning. I had planned on going to Chatuchak market, but after packing texted Mimi who had offered to take me to cancel, as there was just no way I could pack anything else (and it’s a given that you can’t go to Chatuchak without buying a mountain of stuff!).
So, Saturday morning I spent pottering around, watching TV and generally not doing much at all. The ironing board was still there – never did figure that one out. I had arranged to meet Jamie on Saturday afternoon at the office as he was working, so I headed down there in record time due to no traffic and we hit the street. Ake and his brother Arm came along and we ended up going to the cinema to see Cars which was just out there (it was pretty good, for the record) and to Subway/Auntie Anne’s at Paragon for some lunch. Auntie Anne’s pretzels is one of my favourite snack stops in the US, so I was pretty delighted to see one in Bangkok and promptly ate my own bodyweight in pretzels. Just as well, as the popcorn at the cinema seemed to be salmon flavoured.
After the cinema (we arrived just in time to stand for the national anthem at the start), Jamie and I went shopping around MBK and Patpong for DVDs and other general stuff. I managed to squeeze it in to my case, but only just. I bought a pair of Puma trainers for £6.50! What a bargain, even if they do fall apart after 5 minutes. They are way too comfy. Anyway, I managed to do some more shopping that was quite unintentional, bought a bundle of DVDs including series 3 of Las Vegas (all 5 discs) for about a fiver – it’s not even finished showing on TV here. It’s great quality too.
I took my last tuk tuk back to the hotel (it was quite a nerve-racking journey as we hit a pothole at one point and actually took off) and spent the rest of the evening trying to cram everything into my bags and worrying about excess luggage charges. My ride to the airport showed up this time and we set off around midnight through the relatively empty streets of Bangkok. We hit a traffic jam at some traffic lightsout past the night bazaar which was strange for that time of night – it turned out that a marathon was takin g place and the police were holding up the traffic to let the runner pass. A marathon. At nearly 1 am. That certainly rounded off my trip nicely!
We arrived at the airport eventually and it certainly is a lot less shabby than the old one. I checked in with ease (and didn’t have to pay any extra for heavy bags, mwuhahahaha) and paid my airport tax (they charge you 500 bhat to leave the country) and then began the lengthy trek to the departure gates. On the way, I passed an enormous statue thing of some Buddha figures which was most unexpected and quite spectacular.
Sadly, my first flight out almost was the journey from hell. It was quite a busy flight, slightly delayed and I was sandwiched in between a Swedish man with a heavy cold (and apparently testicles so large that he needed all my leg room too) and 2 of the fattest Asian men I have ever encountered in my life. I only mention their ethnicity as once they had sat down practically on top of me, and proceeded to sweat directly on to me, they then started to converse with their friends in the row opposite in another language and throw things backwards and forwards with apparently the sole purpose of making me cry. No matter what the other language is, you can always tell when someone is talking about you, or slagging you off, and to say that I was feeling pretty uncomfortable is a mild understatement. In fact, so visible was my discomfort that a nice Japanese flight attendant took pity on me and found me 2 free seats at the front of the plane for me to move to. I was very glad and almost wept with relief that I didn’t have to sit to what was surely Birmingham’s family from hell for the entire duration of the flight.
Dubai airport was also easier to navigate this time, despite my flight departing from the furthest away gate possible from arrivals. I should have feigned a dodgy ankle or something to get a shot in one of those golf cart thingumies. This flight was possibly one of the best I’ve been on. It was so empty that I got my window seat and the other 2 seats next to it to myself, so not only did I get to spread out, I got to LIE DOWN for the whole flight! I was quite excited about that, as I often feel that if I could just lie down on a flight, I could put up with travelling just about anywhere. So it was great to be able to lounge around and watch movies and snooze in comfort.
Lovely, lovely Lee came to collect me from the airport and I was sooooo glad to see him after having been awake for approximately 36 hours on and off. He had cleaned the entire house from top to bottom, bought me lovely flowers and he made meatloaf for dinner, one of my favourites of his many recipes. I was so relieved to be home, I could have wept. Nothing too exciting seems to have happened while I’ve been away, although I do feel that I’ve been gone for about 4 months, not just over a week.
It’s now Tuesday and I am having real trouble readjusting to GMT. I have been waking at around 3 am, wide awake and raring to go – but then of course by lunchtime, I am dead to the world. Yesterday I went home at lunch time to try and get some sleep, only to be kept awake by the sounds of bulldozers knocking down the last of the flats at the back of our house. I slept a bit but was awake around 4ish, so eventually got up around 6 am and tidied up, did some laundry, unpacked some more and generally pottered around until it was time to come to work.
Work clearly has not missed me while I’ve been away and nothing majorly exciting has taken place in Miso Funky world either. Jo is in Mexico, so I am doing the Miso Funky market meeting myself this Wednesday evening, ably assisted by Jo from Stella My Star – although the football’s on, so we will probably just end up having a natter and then escaping the crowds. Japanese class starts again on Thursday evening, for which I have done the sum total of NO studying for, so I am hoping the first few weeks will be revision of last year (otherwise I am screwed).
I will bring this epic post to a close now and insist that you go and look at the photos instead here.