After 21 hours of departure lounges and airports, I touched down in Bangkok.
Having dropped off my bags in the hotel, I met the other English teachers working for AYC, Thailand’s English Cultural Programme.
Hailing a cab, we descended on Khao San Road, where all of Bangkok’s stereotypes dominate. Prostitutes, buckets of cheap spirits, and street-children selling various tat. Needless to say, I can’t remember the rest of that night.
With my days filled with teaching codes of practice and orientation to Thailand, I only sampled Bangkok by night. The worst consequence of that was the endless waiting in traffic queues as we left the freeway. Whoever said that Thais were patient and never honked their horns out of impatience clearly hasn’t been in central Bangkok during the evening.
My four nights in Bangkok ranged from inadvertently drinking in a prostitute bar and walking around the red light district of Sukhumvit, to drinking cocktails in the basement of a swanky hotel by the royal palace, and haggling prices in Thailand’s biggest mall, the MBK Centre.
On the last night together before we were scattered across Thailand, we went to Route 66, a Thai night-club. On entering, the room was still, with all the clubbers standing still next to the long tables that filled the room, nervously sipping their drinks. Us Brits, and some token Americans, smashed it, and did our best to encourage the Thais to move. It didn’t work.
One word of advice. Always take a written address of your hotel, preferably with the phone number. We had many frayed conversations with taxi-drivers who stated they knew where they are going to get your custom, and then five minutes into the journey, are asking for directions. It often leads to abandoning one cab for another.
Bangkok gives the cliché culture-shock a new definition.