A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about cinema

Chapter eighty six - Bangkok. Again.

Bye Bye Asia...for now

overcast 28 °C

Day 308: Bangkok, Thailand 03/08/2012

A fairly early start for the bus ride to Bangkok then, with the bus setting off for that most horrendous of borders at Poipet. A nutritous breakfast is eaten on board in the shape of a baguette smeared with a Laughing Cow cheese triangle. We reach the border in good time, being told when we alight 'no sticker, no bus' by the driver, who we assume will meet us on the other side.

Now the fun begins, with the sheer inadequacy of this horrid little part of the world showing itself in all its glory. The scrum on the Cambodian side of the border takes only about 15-20 minutes for us to get through, which is not too bad. Then comes the Thai side...the 100% uncomfortable and wholly inefficient process of getting to the Thai immigration counter takes over two and a half hours, with everybody in the queue being rained on with all their stuff and us enduring the frightening experience of being shouted at by a little old Thai lady.

Once through the rigmarole of dragging ourselves and our stuff through the immigration counter, we start the ridiculous process of being transferred onto a Bangkok bound minibus. Sitting with an Irish couple we met tubing in Laos, we are subjected to the frankly inexcusable ways of the travel mafia, who make us wait around to buy some reasonably priced (but crap) food and drink off them whilst they try to explain why a driver sits in an empty minibus waiting for passengers. Some seriously pissed off people here.

Finally arrive in Bangkok nine hours after starting the 'four hour' journey. Check into the Train Inn for the last time and in need of a beer, discover it is a Buddhist holiday and alcohol shall not be served at 7-eleven.

Day 309: Bangkok, Thailand 04/08/2012

Wake up after a decent night's kip, the horror of Poipet firmly behind us. To anyone reading this, please learn from our mistakes and never travel overland from Thailand to Cambodia - the two times we have done were hellish - the cost of an airfare is more than worth it, despite the expansion of one's carbon footprint.

Off out for the day and our noodle soup breakfast at Hua Lamphong is cut short by the arrival of a couple of rats in the joint. No Saturday in Bangkok would be complete without a visit to Chatuchak Market, the sheer size of the place never ceasing to amaze us. We even find parts we hadn't seen in any of our previous visits, with antiques, second hand watches, military memorobilia and traditional Chinese medicine stalls rearing their heads. The products available here are seemingly never ending, and after a few hours here and a few purchases later, we head for a much needed hair cut and a good bite to eat. We grab a tuk-tuk back to the Train Inn and watch a couple of episodes of Only Fools and Horses on my new box set and cringe at how un-PC it is. Still brilliant though.

Day 310: Bangkok, Thailand 05/08/2012

A lazy morning is spent watching some more Del Boy and Rodney capers at the hotel and after unsuccessfully trying to get the laundry done (it is Sunday), we decide to go for a quiet stroll around Bangkok. We end up seeing lots of parts of the city we have never seen before - local markets, food markets and a vast array of weird and wonderful buildings and areas. Whilst trying some smart trousers on for the Aussie wedding I am shouted at quite viciously by the strange woman market stall owner and told in no uncertain terms to go. Weirdo.

We soon find ourselves back near the station and after marvelling at the hyperactivity of a hedgehog (Sonic?) in a cage at yet another interesting market we embark on that other favourite pastime we have enjoyed in this part of the world, the cinema. The Dark Knight Rises is one of the best films I have ever seen at the cinema and Bane may be my favourite bad guy since Hannibal Lecter. Off to Australia tomorrow. Cannot believe it has come round so quickly! So long Bangkok, we will miss you.

Posted by tevs 22:32 Archived in Thailand Tagged markets market thailand bangkok cinema Comments (0)

Chapter sixty three - Melaka

Boom shaka Melaka

overcast 28 °C

Day 230: Melaka, Malaysia 16/05/2012

Up and out for about nineish and after a quick breakfast it was back on with the backpacks and the short stroll to the Queen Street bus terminal to catch the bus back into Malaysia. A painless bus journey over the border and we are impressed with just how efficient and clean the whole immigration experience is both sides of the fence. We appear to have alighted the bus a little early and we have to catch another bus to the main bus station in Johor Bahru to get a connection up to Melaka. A combination of a huge lunch and a very comfortable bus leads to an inevitable, slack jawed, dribble inducing nap.

Arrive at Melaka Sentral station where we are met by the friendliest, most helpful touts we have ever come across, and it seems there is quite the range of modern, affordable guest houses to choose from. After a quick bus ride (fourth one of the day) we are soon checked in to a city centre room and after quickly getting ourselves sorted, we go for a stroll and mini exploration of the area. There are two huge shopping malls opposite each other, each with the essential mix of turbo air con, western shops and multiplex cinema that makes for a winner. Oh, and of course both malls have an indoor, top floor archery centre as one would expect.

A quick stop at one of the cinemas to watch Johnny Depp in Dark Shadows (with obligatory dirt cheap, huge bucket of caramel popcorn) is followed by dinner on the street and entertainment in the form of the chef performing a bit of karaoke. Back to the room and bed.

Day 231: Melaka, Malaysia 17/05/2012

A good night's kip is followed by a hearty breakfast of tea and toast and we head out to see a bit more of Melaka, undergoing our usual routine of walking, walking and walking some more. Although the legs feel heavy after the Singapore Marathon (not an actual one) we manage to cover a fair bit of Melaka, snaking our way through Chinatown and Jonker Walk, being amazed by the many antique shops and the many trinkety places selling all types of mystical Oriental items. Meet a man who makes wooden clogs by hand - 'Girl you want clop clop shoe?' - and have lunch at a Chinese place that has a range of cool Chinese articles on the wall, including numerous portraits of Chairman Mao. Hmmmm, Red. Woman here is impressed with my very limited use of Mandarin.

We try to find the supermarket Gemma claims to have seen, which is easier said than done, though in fairness it is hidden underground with its entrances through a department store or multi storey car park. Turns out to be rubbish and we only buy bananas. Back at the hostel I make a start at updating the blog before being coerced into playing playstation instead by some Belgian guy. Shades of university...

Back off out - flit between the two malls in search of food, ending up in an incredible food court where the cheap food is not only delicious but served in the type of ridiculously huge portions yo mama used to give ya. Back to the cinema to feed the latest habit (popcorn and Hollywood). Whilst buying tickets a huge poster for the Bollywood 'straight to DVD' epic we starred in in Goa reveals itself and promises the film to be a mega Indian blockbuster. Billa 2: a must see I think.

Day 232: Melaka, Malaysia 18/05/2012

A lazy morning - breakfast and a morning watching the telly. Catch the bus to the zoo for the afternoon but first must get to Melaka Sentral station, which is meant to be around the corner but takes forever as old women direct the driver to stop outside their front doors, where there is the biggest Tesco this side of Slough to delay us further...

Eventually get to the zoo (cheap), which is amazing! Beautiful birds, naughty monkeys, tigers, lions, a (lonely) chimp and orangutans, one of which knows how to open a bottle, drink the contents and then refill it with water from the moat around its enclosure. Don't approve of giving iced tea to an animal but still pretty amazing to watch. More dexterity and resourceful than half my siblings.

Leave the zoo after a thrilling couple of hours then proceed to spend a less thrilling sixty minutes waiting for the bus back. Find the last bus to town centre has gone when at the station and find an unsuspecting English girl to share a cab back with. Tea is followed by another trip to the pictures, leave about half twelve and return to the guesthouse to find that the weekend market is in full swing outside. Investigate, hold a python (not that one) and freak Gemma out as she looks up to see me with a great serpent in my hands.

Day 233: Melaka, Malaysia 19/05/2012

An uneventful morning, find a shop where there are over a thousand pairs of football boots stacked precariously and 'everything is half price'. Poor. Back to the hostel after a solid lunch and I really make a start at typing this ol' blog up (about five hours worth). Due to technical issue with the memory card, Gemma goes to the internet cafe round the corner to upload some piccies. We talk to each other online which is strange.

Head out for tea, tackle the night market again and then watch a DVD before enduring the embarrassment of watching the Champions League Final that never was. Some of the Malaysians at the hotel are Chelsea fans which makes for a bit of fun.

Day 234: Melaka, Malaysia 20/05/2012

Wake up late after staying up til all hours with the football. Gemma runs out for lunch as I doze and comes back to tell me that there is a B-Boy contest in full swing down the road. Lunch, ice cream, breakdancing. Some incredible dancers including a troupe of seven year old girls dancing inappropriately let's say.

Uneventful evening - skype, blog - then bed.

Posted by tevs 04:32 Archived in Malaysia Tagged chinatown history malaysia cinema melaka Comments (0)

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