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Nov. 17th, 2018

I think it's a good thing to be honest and open, even in the face of everything.There's too little honesty in the world as it is. I'm glad I said it. People deserve to be told the truth.

I've never really been afraid of my feelings. I don't mind what others think, I don't live life for opinions. I have the courage of my convictions.

Haven't brought a lot here. earrings and bangles, very cheap frippery. Tomorrow Nix wants to head to a market, and as I haven't been out for the last couple of days, I will try to join her. The lack of shoppingness has been unreal for me really! A cheap mani wouldn't go amiss either.

I am raw, and as another sleepless night beckons, I think I'll pack.

No more jollys til June next year, bar a short zip to Bruges with Dawnie for the Christmas markets in December, with ridiculous timings of course. However, I've scored a couple of 1st class tickets on GWR, anywhere, so toying with the wilds of Devon or Cornwall maybe. Or Wales. Scilly Isles appeal.Something more "back to nature".

I have 2 invites for Christmas, but I want to be home alone with my boys. I am doing a tree this year, first time in years! It's going to be absurdly trashy, and I will love it!

And for now, let the tigers come with their claws. I am not at all afraid of tigers.

Arghhhhh

Good and bad!

So, I have been awake several times a night here. All except one night, which I managed to sleep though but still awoke pre-dawn. Stress and upset combined with jet lag and time zones do not great zzzzzzs make! To make matters worse (or better, depending on your POV), I have been having obscene sex dreams. Worse I guess as no man and no BOB to hand. And I started chatting to somebody a week or so before I went away. He's very interesting, articulate and funny. And good looking! And very involved in the sex scene. Predominantly swinging and GBs. I said I'd visited some swinging places with my ex, and wasn't impressed, especially with the low quality of people there - IE nobody I'd actually want touching me. It appears he knows much better places. So, fantasies may come realities after all, but early days yet. To worsen matters, I have been cut off from the site, because, I think, I am in Thailand, not the UK. So no outlet!

Last night I was wide awake at 2am and again at 5am. Eventually got up at 10.30. So I don't feel tired per se, just out of synch. Very.

I've just looked up the population of Bangkok, and I'm sure it can't be accurate. It feels much more crowded than London, but apparently not. There are hotels literally everywhere, ditto beauty salons, massage shops (legit) and lots of shopping malls and markets. It's one giant service industry. Also lots of big businesses, housed in skyscrapers.

Similarities to other South East Asian places I've visited, well, heat and food. Heavy reliance on tourism. Lovely people. You cross the road anywhere by just keeping going steadily and letting the traffic go around you. A grotty and unloveable backpackers district. And there it pretty much stops.

The tuk tuks are new, spacious and snazzy compared to elsewhere, good in one way, but taking away that whole feeling of dicing with death in another. They have English TV channels. On the whole, they are educated and well dressed. You don't see the grinding poverty so prevalent in other places. Virtually no begging or homelessness. It is very much the easy, sanitised option for Westerners, with high-end restaurants and spas everywhere. I like it, but wouldn't want to do 2 weeks here. Michael has somewhat amazingly been here for 10 years now. However, with a very big salary, a luxury condo paid for by his employers and his own driver, plus cute Thai boyf, what's not to like! But even he is feeling unsettled.

I am starting a new class in January, but I am torn between improving my French or Spanish, or starting Italian. Twofold really, I need to get back into the habit of learning and also, if I want to retire abroad at some point, I would like to be reasonably fluent in the local lingo. Plus of course, it's an opportunity to meet new folks. I am still feeling anti-social and reclusive. I know I go out a lot, but I make myself do that. Having a more defined sense of purpose isn't a bad thing. I know I've said it before, but I am actually gonna book :)

Bangkok by Night and Other Surprises

After an incredibly relaxing day, we headed off into the late night markets. Here, it transpires, they go on til 1am. There are several to choose from, Nix decided, and off we went to Rod Fai, about 20 minutes away from our hotel.

Bangkok TOTALLY transforms at night, it's a neon jungle, lights and brights everywhere. Music pumping, bats jumping, I love it. It's also safe, friendly and you don't get ripped off (unlike Phuket and Pattaya). And it's CHEAP.

The market was huuuuuge, and very very hot n humid. 80% humidity even at 11pm. A plethora of uber-trendy clothes, cutesy accessories, local goods and the weird and wonderful, of which there is plenty. We did street food, very inexpensive and very yummy.

And home in a tuk tuk!

I have been pondering the differences between Bangkok and other South East Asian places I've visited. More on that another time.

Back in my lovely cool suite, I find somebody wanting me to front a new fet club, and a load of free tix for good events.
So, I have slept just 1 night in the last 5. Not so good. Last night I woke up at 2am and 5am. Grief is a strange thing I s'pose. So is a sprained ankle, which is very ouchy.

The sun didn't show itself until after noon today, but when it did, it was glorious!

This evening we are heading out a bit to the night markets and shopping n eating. Bangkok has a great deal to offer :)

Abundance

I woke up at sunrise this morning, in a huge, freshly made bed, with the sun slowly lifting her head over the towering high rises of Bangkok. Made coffee, and contemplated my day, having already told Nix and Tiff to do without me.

Much to my surprise, I went to the gym and did 45 minutes on the hill setting of the bike, which overlooks the pool. I could've done longer, but it was already becoming humid. Back to my suite for a mini feast of raclette and more coffee, and I caught up with the news via BBC World and the internet.

I ventured out on to the sticky streets and headed back to an artisan jewellers I'd spotted on Monday, and purchased my handmade earrings, for a song. Took a few photos of the absurdness that is Bangkok, came back, changed into my swimmies and parked myself poolside with my book - The Minaturist, which is an excellent read. 35 degrees, but cloudy, it was like sitting in a warm bath. Still no tan, but wonderfully relaxing.

Met up with the girls and boys, who after cocktails, took us to an amazing Thai restaurant. Wonderful food and service. The boys would not hear of us paying for anything at all, not even the taxis.

I am a lucky lady.
I started yesterday exhausted, the jet lag caught up with me and I didn't sleep all night. However, a pre-dawn breakfast of bacon, and custard steamed buns and multi-vit juice filled me up, and we commenced what was to be a very long day.

If you think London traffic is bad, think on. Bangkok takes 2 hours to get clear of, even with only 1 other hotel pick up. We were transferred from one very ordinary and non-executive van, to a worse one. It took us three and a half hours to travel the 130km to Kanchanaburi.

First stop was the British and Australian war graves. It was 24 hours post Remembrance, where ceremonies had been held, and the cemetery was beyond immaculate. Every single headstone was spotless and had a thriving plant either side. The cross was adorned with multiple poppy and fresh floral wreathes, from individuals and associations and even an Aussie MC club. We wandered the graves and I gave 2 minutes silence at both the British and Australian sides, in tears. These men didn't die from bombs or bullets, they died of overwork, torture or starvation. It's very, very humid there on the Burma-Thai border, it's hard to imagine how they worked in those conditions.

On to the Death (Jeath) museum, which is actually a messy collection of several other museums. Many artefacts of Japanese occupation remain, surrounded by hand drawn ceiling and wall frescoes done by local people. Most poignant for me were the 2 rather grand bamboo rocking chairs, sat on a pontoon over the river, overlooking the bridge. That's where the Japanese bosses sat. Part of the original bridge is there too, the current bridge is a replica.

Then on to the train to cross the river, and into the mixture of jungle, sugar cane fields, mountains and cassava plantations. It's a local train, and we purchased lunch, chicken and rice, from a old lady who was wandering up and down selling these home made goodies from a basket. 69p for a very tasty meal! You can buy all sorts on the train and it's a great little journey with amazing views.

After an hour and a half on the train, we were back on the bus and literally headed off into the middle of nowhere. Watching people work their fields in coolie hats, with the obligatory wild dogs wandering around. We were dropped off at another part of the river, on to a huge houseboat, half of which was a simple restaurant, and we were served a meal of chicken, rice and omelette. I rather liked it there. The black dude in our small group did not, as their dogs scared him, and he jumped up on to the bench whilst vociferously complaining about dogs being dirty and the boat people living in filthy conditions. They were not, it was merely "simple". He was extremely rude.

Lastly, a short trip to the waterfalls. I was delighted to see there were more locals there, picnicking with their gorgeous little kids, than tourists. Swimming in the pools and cascades at the top, paddling and chasing small fishes and crabs at the bottom.

It was there the Yank joined us. An LA hippy type, pony tail and designer sportswear. Ostensibly going to a friend's wedding on Kho Phi Phi. He was fine for the first couple of hours, but after that, complained non-stop and told us he had no colon. He would not shut up.

We arrived back at the hotel after a 14 hour trip, tired and grubby. We retired to our respective rooms and had baths and room service suppers. I slept like a log, and feel fresh this morning, rising with the sun.

Yesterday I wore a poppy dress and poppy hair accessory as my own little mark of respect for those perished during WWII in this part of the world. I was horribly over-tired, but armed with snackies and pep pills from Nix, determined to keep perky and absolutely no complaints from me. The bus was small and uncomfortable, it was a humid, sticky day, but I am glad I found and booked this day out. The dead deserve our respect. It's not all about 5* hotels, golden beaches and cheap shopping. If you miss the opportunity to do something like this, you're not learning.
I have not slept at all tonight, urghhhh. And off to River Kwai in an hour and a half. Not good.

However, yesterday was good.We got Tiff measured up for a 3 piece suit at a lovely tailors, Mr Nagy, very professional, had a wander, had pedicures, visited Terminal 21, which is a huge shopping centre. The main shops aren't interesting, but there's a myriad of side alleys filled with local designers and craftsmen, excellent. Tepanyaki lunch, a wander of the gourmet market and then some poolside time. Followed by a delightful 90 minute massage with the most wonderful lemongrass oil. I spent a lot of the time drifting off into rudey thoughts about anal sex. It was a Thai lady masseuse, so no idea why!

Michael picked us up in the evening and we went to a local Thai restaurant, Cilli Culture, superb food.

I'm horribly jet lagged, but I do smell yummy!

Good Morning Bangkooooook

It's 4am here. I went to bed at 8pm, having survived the long haul flight (not to bad!)and a night with Michael, his lovely man Guy and of course, Nix n Tiff.

Michael picked me up at he airport in his company driven whatever, it's good to have friends in high places. So easy for me, thank you Michael. Straight to the hotel, I changed into something cooler, came down to the bar, to find that they'd ordered a whole bottle of gin, several tonics and a lot of ice. So, we got stuck in....

Nix n Tiff arrive, we order pizza and cocktails.

Then we order tapas and another bottle of gin and cocktails.

Then we order Thai food.

All still sat at the hotel bar. Guy very, very generously picked up the whole tab. No idea how much it was, they wouldn't let me see the bill.

Thus far, I have seen absolutely nothing of Bangkok, but have eaten like a king and ginned like a queen. I'm going back to bed for a couple of hours shortly, tomorrow is another day.

Hotel is absolutely lovely. I got upgraded, have a suite with a massive bed, TVs that are larger than my big one and home, and a fab bathroom. Great views over the glittering lights of Bangkok. Can't wait to be up n at it later.

I have a feeling I'm going to put weight on......Michael has decided he wants to see me EVERY night I'm here.

I observed Remembrance. But lost my poppy somewhere. I am also quite annoyed that not one shop in Heathrow sold poppies. Not one.
I may get a new tattoo done in Thailand, if there's time. I want a visible reminder to rely only on myself and not believe anybody who says they've been tamed or will always find me. I really need to move away from silly lovestruck "rose" notions and harden up. It's important. I don't want to get duped again. The tat on my bum can be easily covered up, but it'll have to wait. I do like the temple tattoos I've seen, but I want something more succinct, crisper and on point. Not so keen on how they do them either, ouchies!


Packed, cleaned the bathroom, just about to tackle the kitchen. Just a few hours now and I'll be on my way. The weather here has really turned. I need me some sunshiiiiine!

I'm sure the fur babies are in very good hands, Scar is a cracker. And Rod has kindly agreed to be her fall back, so she'll be fine. She's already connected to and chatting with co-friends, so that's great.

Yippeeee!

The exceptionally good news is that Natasha had her liver transplant and is in recovery. Fingers crossed for her that everything goes splendidly from here on in. She has been amazing. And really lucky to get a viable organ. If you are reading this and aren't carrying a donor card, WHY NOT????

I have now finished work, my out of office is on. I am just having one lickle glass of wine, before stormtrooping a multitude of tasks, including packing.

I am so looking forward to this break.