August 26, 2010

Sand, Sea and Street Hustlers

I want to get this down while it’s reasonably fresh in my mind. Memories fade over time, and it’s been almost a week since I returned from visiting Thailand and the Philippines.

I’ll start at the beginning. My flight out to Thailand, where I was headed first, left Incheon airport in Seoul at 8.30am. This meant a check-in time of around 6.30am, and there was no way I could get there from my town in Dongducheon at that time. So I was left with several choices – stay at a hotel or jimjilbang (public bath-house with sleeping room) in Seoul or go to the airport the night before. The airport won, as it’s a brilliant airport, with shopping malls and restaurants and plenty of places to get one’s head down, including its own jimjilbang, and it’s very safe, as is all of Korea. I also had to change some money, and the airport with its many banks was as good a place as any. So I headed to the airport mid-Monday afternoon for my Tuesday a.m. flight. The airport bus goes right through my town and is ninety minute journey, so getting there was no problem.

I wasn’t sure my Korean ATM card or credit cards would work abroad, so after changing some money into Philippines Pisos and Thai Baht, shopping around a bit in the mall, and eating dinner in one of the myriad restaurants, I went to the airport jimjilbang to sleep, to find out it was full, so I tried vainly to sleep on one of the many empty wooden benches around the place. I didn’t get much sleep, but on the other hand, I didn’t miss my (uneventful) flight, which was the point of being there in the first place.

The flight changed at Manila, and I had a seven hour stopover at Manila airport. Incheon airport may be one of the best in the world, but Manila certainly isn’t. The wifi doesn’t work anywhere despite signs saying ‘wifi’ everywhere, there is one restaurant which doubles as the smokers’ room, and there are about four shops, two of which sell nothing but cigars. However, they did lay on a free lounge for people with long stopovers like me, which helped – it had free food and beverages, as much as you liked, so I can’t fault their hospitality, other than the lounge staff deemed a suitable temperature for the air conditioning to be about minus five. I had to get a blanket from the airport in the end I was that cold.

Then another uneventful trip to Bangkok, and a ten quid taxi ride, and I’m in the famous Khao San Road! For those that don’t know, Khao San Road is the backpackers mecca in Bangkok – everyone goes there – there are endless bars and restaurants, and cheap hotels. I bedded down on the first night in a lovely hotel which happened to have some cheap rooms at the top – a basic single room was about four quid. After the first night I found somewhere much nicer – the D & D right on Khao San Road itself – this was about fourteen quid a night, but it had a swimming pool and bar on the roof.

I was only staying in Bangkok for four full days, Tuesday night until Sunday morning when my flight left for Manila, and I planned to go on trips most days, and just relax and party in the evening. I only managed one trip in the end, to the Bridge on the River Kwai.

The trip itself only cost a tenner (UK Pounds) but it was well worth it. We visited first the War Cemetery at Kanchanaburi, which is adjacent to the bridge itself. The museum was a bit run down, though still quite impressive, though not compared to the temples that surrounded it. See photos. Then we walked across the actual bridge. I went all the way over, and down on the other side was a little old lady selling pieces of the actual railway itself. I couldn’t resist but buy a big sleeper nail, which cost 100 Baht (about two quid). It may or may not be real I guess, but on the other hand I did buy it right there under the bridge – where else would she get railway remnants from? There’s not another railway for miles around!

Then we took a rickety old train along the ‘death railway’. It’s funny (i.e. funny peculiar) that so many things get the ‘death’ name, ‘the group of death’, ‘the stairs of death’, and so on. I don’t want to sound flippant in any way, and I have the greatest respect for those that paid with their lives for me to even have the freedom to write this article, and also in this case, as so many needless lives were lost the name is undoubtedly deserved, I just feel (OK there’s no way to not make this sound flippant) I just think they could have been a little more imaginative with the names, certainly after the event. There I said it. I wish I hadn’t but I’ve typed it now and that’s that. My backspace key doesn’t work. OK it does, but I’ve made my point. I will reiterate though that I have the greatest respect for them - I know many died in the most appalling circumstances – and actually, I welled up several times at the cemetery, seeing so many British graves so I’m not stone hearted at this. It’s just a small point that’s all. I think the name of such a harrowing event deserves more than a tired cliché is, I guess, what I’m saying.

So we took a train along the railway that they cost ‘a life for every sleeper’. 12 500 British alone died, not to mention the thousands of Australian and Dutch and other nations’ men. Worst of all though were the Chinese and Asian conscripts – they reckon 100 000 died building this railway. In all, the Japanese killed somewhere between 6 million and 30 million civilians and POWs during World War 2. That’s a lot of people – I think they killed more innocents and unarmed than the Nazis did – and Germany had had its own ideologies perverted by the Nazi Party. What was Japan’s excuse? The Nuremburg Trials eventually decided that the atrocities committed by the Nazis were the result of ‘a basic flaw in the German character’, i.e. Germans aren’t very nice, they reckoned. Japan killed as many if not more, just as brutally, and though some were tried and punished, many were not tried at all, and those responsible for the infamous Unit 731 (human vivisection, testing bombs and diseases on live patients etc) for example, got off scot-free! I said in a previous entry that I’m not offended that Japan was A-bombed, and I honestly am not. I can’t condone the killing of civilians, and I’ve been to Nagasaki’s Bomb Museum and seen the damage – horrendous – but what they were doing to our people, and others’, had to stop, and soon. It did.

Where was I before I started hitting on Japan? Oh yes, I’m on the train, which went over two ‘viaducts’ carved through sheer cliff faces. The train was too old and slow (they said) to go over these, so myself and many others walked over both, which was maybe a mile or two. Unbeknownst to me, our little group’s guide had said in broken English not to go walking this far as we had a schedule - I hadn’t heard her and followed every other group, and lost my little tour group for two hours. She was not happy when she found me!

Then we had the choice to go elephant riding or playing with tigers. As it happened (Jimmy Saville) I had already played with a tiger cub earlier in the day back at the Kanchanaburi museum, and a jaguar cub, so I chose the elephant riding, which was great, though it rained. Elephants are lovely creatures, big and slow and thoughtful. I reckon they are also kind of intelligent, trainable anyway. I loved them and wanted to keep one.

I met a girl when I was elephant riding - Jen – a Korean girl, and arranged to meet her later that night.

Then the last stop of the day was at a beautiful, though kind of small I’d say, waterfall – where I met another Korean girl. This was her last day so I also arranged to meet her that night, as a back up in case Jen didn’t turn up. Jen did turn up at 8.30 as arranged, but she turned out to be a ‘nice girl’ if you know what I mean. Many Korean girls are (and some aren’t!) and there’s nothing wrong with that, but being on holiday I was hoping for a little holiday romance, but she just wasn’t that type. We swapped emails and I’ve emailed her a couple of times, but she has never replied. I guess I didn’t make much of an impression – though I must point out I was the perfect gentleman, at least I tried to be anyway.

Anyway, Jen turning up meant I had to let down this other girl, which I felt terrible about. She seemed genuinely excited about meeting up, and the thought of disappointing her was genuinely a heartbreaker, but I couldn’t get out of it – I couldn’t even call her. I emailed here the next day to apologise and she accepted my apology and we’ve arranged to meet again sometime. We’ll see!

Jen went back to her hotel around midnight, and I went of to PatPong, and the girlie shows. Not normally my thing – I’ve never even been in a lapdancing club, but I was in that kind of mood and….well I wrote a whole piece about what happened here.

The rest of my time in Bangkok was pretty straightforward to be honest. I would get up late morning, maybe go for a swim in the upstairs pool, walk around seeing things (like the National Art Gallery and Temples nearby) and then in the evening I would go to a bar or the hotel bar, and there are so many westerners around that I was never alone, not once. I always got talking, and drinking, with someone or some group.

My first full night, Tuesday, I was standing sheltering from a huge downpour when I got talking to an Australian guy called Mike. He seemed OK, he was OK, and we went for a few beers. Before we’d paid, he said he was going to meet his girlfriend and would be back shortly. A full hour or more passed and I thought I’d fallen for the oldest trick in the book. The thing was I didn’t have enough cash on me to pay for both our tabs. So I waited and waited, feeling like a complete sucker, and eventually decided to do the same thing myself - i.e. just disappear. We were sitting out front on the pavement anyway, so I slowly got up and started ‘innocently’ walking down the street when the made-up-in-lipstick-and-eye-shadow ladyboy who worked the bar tapped me on the shoulder and told me about the bill. I acted all innocent and without hesitation walked back. I explained that I didn’t have enough cash on me, and my ‘friend’ had left, but if they would come to my hotel it would be no problem. After a couple of minutes of negotiations Mike turned up again! With his girlfriend. The relief overwhelmed the anger, he settled his half of the tab and off we went into the night (via the hotel to get some more cash!).

Later on I asked him if his girlfriend had any friends. She arranged for her auntie to come down, who was about 45 with three kids. Now I’m not fussy, but there’s a line. Lo and behold, after several more beers, Michael decided to walk his girlfriend home, before paying the tab, again, and left me with auntie. After another bloody hour, I thought there’s no way I’m paying for these four, and told auntie that I would be back in a minute. I never saw any of the three of them again. I hope Michael returned and auntie wasn’t left with the bill. Anyway, he deserved a little comeuppance for the nerve shattering experience he’d caused me earlier. I felt a little bad about leaving auntie, but needs must, especially when you’re drunk, in Bangkok, and left with paying a bill for four.

On other nights I met: some Aussie guys, who liked a drink, bless ‘em. Some Nottingham Trent students, one of whom lived in the same street as me when I lived in Nottingham, and various other fleeting, drinking, pals. Just the usual stuff, drinking chatting, gallivanting.

That was more or less it for Bangkok, shopping and general sightseeing daytime, and bars etc in the evening, though a few things struck me. Firstly, there is poverty there. Children begging on the street. I’d never seen that before. Young children too, like three and four years old. I’ve only lived in Korea and the UK, and whilst neither country’s welfare system is perfect, we don’t have too many child beggars. That was a little sad.

My last mention goes to the tailors, taxi drivers, and ‘tuk tuk’ drivers. (A tuk tuk is a three wheeled motorcycle taxi type thing). In my country, and here in Korea, when I want a taxi, I’ll flag one down. Taxis there have a hard sell – you can literally get out of one taxi, and the taxi driver behind will jump out and ask if you want to get into his! You CANNOT walk down the street without everyone trying to get you in a taxi or tuk tuk. In the end several got told to **** off by me – I don’t have the longest fuse, especially with a hangover. The tailors, of which there are many, are just as bad, stopping you in the street and shepherding you into their shops.

Oh, and one day I tasered myself – already covered here.

On Sunday I caught my flight to Manila…

I had planned, whilst in Bangkok, to plan my Philippines visit, i.e. where to go and what to do. My good friend Dwight here in Korea had given me a bunch of information about the place, but other than that, I’d planned almost nothing when I arrived. On the aeroplane (as we like to call them in the UK), I’d perused Dwight’s info, and decided to spend a couple of nights in Malate, a ‘touristy’ district of Manila, with bars and hotels etc. In short, Malate was, in my opinion, a hellhole, full of drug pushers, even more child beggars and hustlers than Bangkok, and I stayed one night, in a hotel room with cockroaches, and decided the very next morning to take an internal flight down to Boracay island, which is a popular tourist destination, especially with Koreans, on account of it’s wonderful beaches.

In the morning I spoke to the hotel staff, who graciously called the airport for me and told me the price of the flights etc, which was very helpful, though I had to go to the airport itself to buy the ticket as the flight left in just a few hours. I asked the hotel how much a taxi should be and they told me 300 pisos. There was a taxi waiting outside, so I said 300 pisos to the airport, he said OK, and I hopped in. Dwight, whom I’d mentioned earlier, had given me a great piece of advice. When you get in a taxi, especially somewhere decidedly dodgy like Manila, sit in the back and keep your luggage with you, which I did on the trip, and I’m glad I did. First the driver started saying something about paying in dollars, which I mumbled ‘no chance’ to, but he insisted. Then he started chatting to me about my flight, and I explained (unwisely) that I was on my way to buy a ticket. I’d already taken a taxi in the other direction the night before, and now I’m driving through the slums of Manila, in very unfamiliar territory. It turns out the driver had some ‘friends’ who sold airline tickets out of a wooden shack in the street. This guy wanted me to get out in the middle of this slum, and buy a flight ticket from two vagrant-looking chaps! I told him in no uncertain terms to get me to the airport now, which he eventually did. When I got to the airport, he said that because he was ‘officially affiliated’ with the hotel, he had to charge me fifty dollars, as well as my 300 pisos. I couldn’t believe the audacity of this man. He got his 300 pisos, no more, and I took my luggage and vacated his taxi pronto. I honestly thought that in those slums I was going to get robbed, and asking for fifty dollars? Unbelievable! Taxi drivers in Thailand and the Philippines are basically low-level extortion artists it seems to me.

Anyway, Boracay Island was great! It was here I had the best nights, and days, of my holiday.

Firstly, it was low season, which meant the hotels were cheap, and I got this wood and bamboo place with a hammock outside for just a few quid a night. It didn’t have air conditioning, which was a bit of problem as it turned out, because the weather the whole time I was there was unseasonably hot, but it was great otherwise. They even had their own little kiosk/shop thing in the courtyard, where beer and supplies were way cheaper than on the main strip. A beer was 40 pisos, which is about 70p!

By the time I’d landed, took a minibus from the airport, a ferry to the island, and a motorbike taxi (pillion!), and found a hotel, it was around 10pm. So I set off to check out a bit of the wild-, I mean night-life.

My first stop was the bar of the Calypso Hotel, with the lovely Emma serving. Here I met Bjorn and his wife, and had a good chat with them. Bjorn didn’t like Koreans as it turned out. I won’t say what he said, but he’s not keen! Then I went along to Charles’ Bar, right on the beach – a horseshoe shaped bar with a band playing. It was full of beautiful girls, except the one I ended up talking to, whom, though beautiful, turned out to be a post-op transsexual! I won’t tell you how I found this out, but I will say my integrity remained intact, let’s put it that way! Well just about intact! That was an experience…

I decided to head home about 2am, and could I remember the name of my hotel? No, in short. It took me 90 minutes of bumbling around like an idiot trying to find it. The beach here is 2 miles long, and filled with identical-looking (when you’re drunk, it’s dark, and you’re new) places. What a night! Transsexuals and getting lost. Thing is, I’d been drinking the local brew “San Miguel Red Horse’, 7% lager. I switched to a normal beer from here on in. I thought it wisest.

Again, I was after a relaxing time, and had adopted the same routine as in Bangkok, walking around sightseeing daytime, and bars and nightlife in the evening. I guess that’s what many people do anyway? I can’t recall a lot of day two, so not much must have happened. I went swimming in the beautiful clear sea right next to the hotel most days. I think in the evening I went along to the Calypso Hotel bar again, and chatted up Emma (to no avail). I remember chatting to Bjorn, and I met a new chap, Volker (Aussie guy with German heritage) who had some great stories of times visiting South America, like the time he went tarantula hunting. Apparently you get a fern, tear the ends into string-like shapes, roll the end into a ball, and stick it in the tarantula burrow. Now these burrows, he said, are bigger than your fist, and the burrow entrance is always slightly smaller than the spider as they squeeze themselves in. Anyway, you stick this ball-on-a-stick in the hole, the spider thinks it’s under attack and wraps its legs around it, and you pull it out! Not my idea of fun, but it takes all sorts!

“What did you do with them?” I asked. “Oh, we set them all free except the biggest one, which we ate”! They taste like chicken apparently. He also told me about piranha hunting. Basically, you jab some meat on the end of a stick and dip it on the water, and flick them onto the boat! I liked Volker, he was an interesting guy – he worked in a gold mine in Tanzania as a geologist. He didn’t say as much, but I think he was quite well off. Nice guy though – we had a few nights out, including cocktails at ‘The Hobbit House’, a restaurant where all the staff are midgets (or dwarves, I’ll be honest I don’t know the difference!).

Many evenings on Boracay were spent in ‘Cocomangas’, a nightclub up at the other end of the beach. This place was always crammed with ladies, real ladies that is, who were not that hard to pick up. I don’t want to paint myself as some kind of, well, slut, but I bagged a couple. I was on holiday! It’s what you do!!

Most days on Boracay were spent padding around the beach or streets off it, or going swimming. One day I hired a motorbike for a couple of hours, and toured the island. It’s not very big, around 10km long, so I saw most of it. I visited the other beaches, saw some genuine island villages, and again saw poverty the likes of which I had never seen, people were living in wooden sheds with straw roofs. Though I would say they all seemed happy enough. Perhaps the tourists on Boracay brought with them enough cash to make life a little more livable for some? I don’t know, but everyone there seemed happy with their lot, and also a lot of vendors (the annoying ones on the beach selling sunglasses and fake watches) came down from Manila. So I guess there’s more money in Boracay than many places in the Philippines because of the Westerners bringing their cash.

Two or three days after I’d been at my hotel, Alex turned up. Now Alex is cultured, and I don’t say that as flattery or somehow dulled down in awe, but Alex knew endless movies I’d never heard of or seen, and knew bands I’d never listened to. That doesn’t matter, I knew stuff he didn’t, that’s how it is, but he knew a lot of stuff. In fact he bombarded me with ‘Americana’ all night(s) almost to the point of wearing out my patience, but I had a good time with Alex nonetheless. We have stories not for public consumption. Well I do, Alex was excluded as he has a serious girlfriend whom he had vowed to stay loyal to, and did, but he was around and helped my cause, my wing-man if you like, so I thank him for that.

Cocomangas was a crazy vibrant nightclub, with a sign outside saying ‘leave your guns and knives at the door’! That makes it sound particularly rough, but it wasn’t, people took their kids there and everything, but they did have some big burly bouncers (wearing t-shirts saying ‘bouncer’!) so I guess they had some trouble from time to time, though I never saw any, except the trouble I nearly caused myself.

I’d been sitting chatting to this Filipino woman for half an hour or so, on these large (two feet high) steps next to the dancefloor, when this Chinese or Korean, I’m not sure which, started dancing on the step I was sitting on, literally six inches to my side. Koreans, and I’m supposing Chinese also then, have a slightly different attitude to personal space, partly because subways etc are so crowded here, so I didn’t think a lot of it. Five minutes later he returned to dance near me, right in the space in my lap, between my legs, his ass was practically in my face. I’d had enough of this rudeness now and stood up and gave him an almighty shove in the back, sending him sprawling onto the dancefloor. Cue a load of clucking and gesturing from him and his Asian pals, particularly aimed at the woman I’d been talking to, which made me even angrier as she’d done nothing to deserve the tirade of (albeit unintelligible) abuse. By this time I was raging, and was just about ready to kick off, when one of the ‘bouncers’ came over and explained that I and my ‘lady friend’ had been sitting in their seats! That was the end of the scuffle.

Other peoples’ cultures often amaze me, and dancing in my lap as a means of ‘excuse me, I was sitting here’ simply does not wash. Try speaking next time. Or if you can’t speak, gesture. Sticking your ass in my face will ALWAYS result in a smack in teeth, or similar, I’m sorry but that’s how it is!

Koreans and Chinese have a terrible reputation abroad, as their culture, which it has to be said is uniquely polite, doesn’t translate into politeness in other countries. There is no ‘excuse me’ in Korean, a simple nudge to alert you that someone wants to get by is all it takes. It’s not rude here, but it certainly is in most other countries. Also, Koreans don’t hold doors open for people, they just don’t, again this isn’t rude here, it’s normal, but if Koreans want to be thought of as ‘nicer’ abroad, they should try, a little, to let go of the ‘culture’ they so stubbornly hold on to, whilst traveling. You can’t bellow at the bar staff to bring drinks to your table in every bar, some bars you have to go to the bar yourself, they really must accept this. I met some people in the Philippines who positively loathed the Koreans and their ways, and whilst I don’t, I live here and they really are a kind, caring and polite race, they really need to take a little look at themselves whilst traveling.

On the last day Americana Alex and I hired a boat, and two crew, to take a tour of the island. We visited a few other beaches, many of which I’d seen on my motorcycle tour, and we went snorkeling. This was my first time to go snorkeling and I really loved it. I guess with snorkeling it’s the quality of the water and what’s in it. We moored the boat maybe 500 yards from the shore, in about 20 feet of crystal clear water, which was teeming with tropical fish and sub-aquarian wildlife. It really was the most fascinating sight. I reckon we spent a good hour just swimming around and gawping at the beautiful and colourful fish and sea creatures.

Boracay Island is a wonderful place (annoying vendors aside). You can walk around for hours, you can take boat trips and motorcycle trips and go parasailing and all the wonderful things you like to do whilst on holidaying. Or you can relax on the perfect beach, take a dip, and there’s enough nightlife, just, for the younger crowds to have a good time. I went in the off season, and many of the beachfront bars were deserted in the evening, with most people congregating at one or two, like Cocomanga’s.

One thing they don’t advertise in the travel brochures is mosquitoes. I had, at one point, around forty different bites! They love my joints for some reason, and I had five or six bites on each ankle and elbow, and various bites elsewhere too. After the first day or two, when I also got a little sunburn on my feet, and got a few blisters from walking around with wet feet in sandals, I took a lot better care of my skin. I went through a whole bottle of insect repellent in five days. It works. Oh, one last thing regarding mosquitoes – if you do get bitten, and it’s as itchy as hell, rub toothpaste on the bite. Works a treat!

My journey home started at 5am on Monday morning. First I had to get to the small ferry port, which meant I took a beach cycle taxi (50 Pisos) to a motorcycle and sidecar taxi (there are no cars on Boracay), who took me to the port around 5km away (100 pisos. Seventy pisos is about one UK Pound). Then I took the ferry (20 pisos) and then a taxi (another 50 pisos) to the tiny airport (propeller planes only!). My flight in Manila was at 14.30, and if this flight from Boracay was on time I should land at around 9am, giving me ample time to get from the domestic airport in Manila to the international one, a journey of only 3km, but there is the problem of gridlock traffic.

My flight was due to arrive late in Boracay, so they put me on an earlier flight, and I got to Manila well ahead of schedule. I even managed to hop on the airport shuttle bus, which I didn’t know existed, and get to the international airport at 9.30am! It’s great to make connections, but another long wait in Manila airport was no fun. Thank heavens for I-pods and their games, video and music playing capabilities.

I caught the bus back home to my town and got in around 10pm.

All in all I had a fantastic holiday, and met some amazing and wonderful and friendly people. The Bridge on the River Kwai was a particular highlight, with the elephant ride thrown in. Boracay was fabulous, and I will never ever forget some of the experiences I had during these two weeks visiting Thailand and The Philippines.

August 18, 2010

Koreans Abroad

I've just been down to Boracay Island in the Philippines for a week - and it was great - I had a lovely time. It's also a popular destination for travelling Koreans. They don't, it has to be said, have a great reputation down there! I met several people who had very strong opinions on the Koreans and their 'ways'.

I live in Korea, and I like it - but it does have a few idiosyncrasies that simply do not travel well.

Firstly, there is no 'excuse me' in Korean. Here, you'll get a gentle (and here it's polite) nudge in the back or arm. This does not translate politely abroad.

In typical Western style bars you go to a bar to get the drinks yourself. In Korea, you shout "Yogi Yo", which means 'here please' (again, this is polite) and your drinks are brought over. You cannot, in a foreign country, bellow at the bar staff to bring you drinks.

Korean culture is fine, it really is, but they really should learn other countries' customs and ways if they don't want to be thought of as rude travellers.

August 07, 2010

Days You'll Never Forget

You go travelling to have a good time right?

Today is Saturday - yesterday here in Thailand I hooked up with some random Aussie guys and just hung around and got drunked (no typo). I did a little cultural stuff - I went to an art gallery for example, but I didn't do too much because I didn't get up till 3pm.

Because I wanna tell you about Thursday.

I booked a trip to the bridge on the River Kwai. Heartbreaking stuff - a war cemetry with literally thousands of 'our boys' buried. The graveyard was in pristine, thankfully, condition. I was happy about that. But seeing all those graves, and knowing how those, our, guys suffered and was a sombre moment. I'm welling up now typing this.

Then a walk over the new bridge - they destroyed the original, though remnants remain.

Then a trip on the train itself, over some bridges carved through rock - heaven knows how many people died to carve their way through. I've no regrets that we nuked the Japs. None. And I've been to Nagasaki and seen first-hand the destruction that was dished out. Fuck 'em. I know what they did to us building that railway, and other things (Google the rape of Nanking) they did that to our lads. Rotten, rotten bastards. Nuked and deservedly so.

Then we went riding on elephants. My new favourite things - elephants. Huge, beautiful gentle creatures. I'm thinking of taking one home - wonder what customs will say?

"Anything to declare?"


I also fixed up a date with a Korean lady I met.

Then to a waterfall and frollicking around with another Korean lady I met.

I arranged to meet Korean lady numero uno at 8.30, and the second at 9pm in case the first didn't turn up. She did and I stood up the second, which I felt terrible about as she was really nice. Hey ho. I've apologised by email.

Turns out the one I met was a 'nice girl' - there's nothing wrong with that - but it wasn't what I was looking for, being on holiday and all. You understand right? So we shook hands about midnight and politely went our separate ways - her home to bed and me to....


Aptly named, as it's where they do all the ping pong shows. Those women are NAUGHTY! How can you project a ping pong ball that far, from there? And blow smoke? And blow out candles? And they were hot girls too!

My night got even naughtier after that with a beautiful 28 year old Thai lady (NOT ladyboy!). She knew what she was doing, and that's about all I can say on here. My mum could be reading this!

So that was Thursday!

To the pool...

August 04, 2010

Day 2 in Bangkok - Getting Tasered Hurts!!

Day 2:

Actually my first proper day, as I didn't arrive until about 10:30 last night.

Last night I found a very cheap and clean doss-down (£4 a night), until I got my bearings.

Today I booked a hotel right on the famous Khao San Road, for £14 quid - with air-con and a swimming pool on the roof. Really nice gaff. I've even bought some condoms in case I get lucky. Lucky if the fuckers fit out here, but that's another story.

I've also been to book a trip to The Bridge on the River Kwai, War Cemetery, and riding on elephants tomorrow - all for a tenner! 7am start for heaven's sake.

Right now it's monsoon hour in Bangkok, and I'm sitting in an internet cafe typing this.

Whilst drinking Chang beer.

Some of these Thai women are very beautiful indeed.

Went for a Thai Curry earlier. In Thailand. £1!

Funny story. This morning I'm padding around just looking at stuff and shops and gifts and shit, as I am wont to do. So I'm at this gift shop with a table outside that sells knives, torches, and 'guy stuff', and I picked up this fake-looking mobile phone thing, that looks like a little security box or some shit. So I'm fiddling with the switches and that on the side to see what it does, expecting it to pop open, and fucking tasered myself on the hand.

I shot one way across the shop, and this taser phone shot the other. Literally about twenty feet.

Don't ever taser yourself. Good advice that.

Still raining. And thundering.

I'm meeting a lady, actually a very nice Dutch lady, for drinks later. She's nothing to look at if I'm honest, but we just kept bumping into each other - in fact she told me about my hotel as she used to be a tour guide.

Hopefully I won't have to use my condoms on her. That would, in bleak honesty, be a disappointment.

Perhaps PatPong Street later, for a game of Ping Pong. If you don't know what that means. Google it!

And remember. DO NOT taser yourself.

Hope this helps.

August 03, 2010

Today..... the 3rd and 4th of August. I say two days because in the last 24-odd hours i've been in three countries - South Korea, the Philippines and Thailand, and crossed a couple of time zones. My destination was the last, but I had a SEVEN HOUR stopover in Manila which was a fucking draaaaaaaaaaaaaaaag! And a half.

Manila airport is shit. It's like Humberside airport with cigar kiosks. Spending seven hours there was nothing short of suicide inducing. They had a special room - a big room - for long stopover guests (idiots) like me, and they laid on free booze, and food, as much as you could eat or drink - so it wasn't all bad - but they didn't warn me that the air conditioning would make everywhere minus-10 degrees, I swear I've got hypothermia.

So My day has consisted of, since midnight:

Sleeping in Seoul airport for six hours(great place for that kind of thing)
A four hour flight
Seven hours of temperatures that would have sent Captain Oates on a wander, though he would have had some nice cigars.
Another four hour flight.
Rats in Thailand.

Had less strange days.

2am here now.


August 02, 2010

Hello to Two Weeks Travelling Around!

Today, Monday 2nd August, I am going to Incheon airport. My flight isn't till tomorrow, with a 6.00am check-in, but from where I live, I'd never be able to get there in time. So I'm going to spend an afternoon and an evening, in an airport.

That might not sound like everyone's idea of fun, so here's a little information about Incheon Airport that might change your mind:

  • It has free wifi.
  • It has free PC rooms.
  • It has loungers about the place to sleep on.
  • It has a bath house and sleeping area where you can spend the night for about 7 quid.
  • It has duty free shopping arcades.
  • It has bars and restaurants aplenty.
  • It has free showers.
  • It has a museum.
  • It has a casino and an 18-hole golf course.
  • It has, for the last 5 years, been voted the best airport in the world.
So I'm sure I can entertain myself for a few hours til I'm drowsy enough to drop off in either the loungers or the bathhouse.

Then I'm off to Thailand till Sunday.

Then the Philippines for a week.

Life's good.