I landed in BKK after a long but mostly uneventful flight from Christchurch with a cup of coffee in Sydney, breezed through immigration and booked it over to where I was supposed to meet the gang. 45 minutes later they rocked up fresh off their plane from the islands and we broke out the hugs and selfies.
We all had a few things we needed to do at the airport – I had to stash a burlap sack filled with my cold weather and camping gear, Drisdelle and Murphy had to get flights to Siem Reap, and Queenie needed a reentry visa, “Last one back buys the first round.” Reconvened, grabbed a cab, negotiated a flat cab fare of 500 baht into Khaosan Road and headed into the city.
The signs of mourning for the king were everywhere we looked – nearly all of the billboards along the highway had been converted to black & white memorials for him, some even in English. We had plenty of time to look at them too, the cab ride took the better part of an hour, kind of unbelievable it only cost us about $14 USD. Ahhhh that great feeling of travelling to countries where everything is dirt cheap.
Murphy’d found a sweet-looking hostel located somewhere near Khaosan Road so we strolled the strip looking for it and saw a lot of action. Lots and lots of bars, people hawking cheap knickknacks, others with trays of assorted deep-fried critters like scorpions and tarantulas, but no sign of the hostel. We were keen to get down to the business of drinking so we just grabbed a hostel that looked decent, Pannee Lodge. We sprang for a couple of VIP rooms that share a baller patio and hit the streets in search of beers and foods.
We come out of the hostel and some Tuk Tuk driver says, “Ping Pong Show?” Oh dear… “Maybe after dinner.”
We get a seat next to one of the main drags, I nab a beer and the rest of the gang, with a few extra days of rally hardening, grabs buckets of liquor and Red Bull.
After a few minutes Drisdelle’s eyes start getting twitchy, “This is making me feel funny”, some potent stuff.
“I only drink out of buckets now, they’re the only acceptable receptacle.” – Jamie Drisdelle
The relentless vendors of crap keep it up and we fall for it, I invest in a sleeve of tattoos and look about as tough as they come.
While we’re taking the piss out of my new tribal tats several people with real tribal tats are sitting nearby or walking past. We’d be total assholes if we weren’t so funny.
Another vendor comes along with bracelets that have charming slogans embroidered in them, such as:
“I (heart) COCK”
“I (heart) PUSSY”
“I (heart) BLACK COCK”
“I (heart) JEWISH COCK”
“I (heart) CUNT SALAD”
After grubbing we make our way back down Khaosan road. The place is a circus. It’s basically Spring Break on a street with every silly stupid thing you can do all in one place. A cart full of insects grabs our attention.
We decide to try some scorpions. They are sprayed with some lime and pepper. Taste a little overcooked. They crackle in your mouth and are a bit like well done chicken skin. Ate the pincers first, then the legs. The body was the best part, had a little bit of meat in it. The tail was slightly bitter. Maybe some remnant poison left in there.
Picking scorpion bits out of our teeth and a decent buzz on, it was time to find some entertainment. It was a unanimous decision as we walked past yet another tuk-tuk driver who said “Ping pong show?” and made POP POP noises with his mouth.