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Chapter seventy one - Somewhere on a bus between BKK & Lao

Surprisingly decent journey

overcast 26 °C

Day 257: Somewhere north of Bangkok, somewhere south of Laos 12/06/2012

Up after a bit of a lie in at the Train Inn, and then we are out for about twelveish. We drop the bags at the left luggage bit of the station and then change things up a bit by having some noodle soup at the ridiculously good, ridiculously cheap noodle soup stand at the train station. A nice day out is needed before the overnight journey (not sure what to expect) so grab a tuk-tuk to Siam Square again.

After a visit to the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre (excellent – some amazing art, etc.) we head back to our favourite medium of art, cinematic art, to watch Mel Gibson in ‘How I Spent My Summer Vacation’. Despite the couple of hours we need to kill, it is an excellent piece of cinematography (new word for both me and the blog) and we make a hasty exit to ensure we make it to the train station for our carriage to Laos.

A quick dash across the road for a bit of dinner (polystyrene trays – still QUALITY) and some products from 7-eleven and we are ready for the overnight rail journey to another country. Despite the relative comfort of the train bunks we still can’t quite comprehend how comfortable the beds on the train are. Especially when the curtains allow us to exclude the absolute weirdo from Scandinavia sat opposite us as we pull away.

Posted by tevs 09:44 Archived in Thailand Tagged football thailand bangkok city_living Comments (0)

Chapter seventy - Bangkok (again)

More markets?

overcast 27 °C

Day 253: Bangkok, Thailand 08/06/2012

So, awoken at five in the morning by the driver screaming, ‘Quick, quick, the air conditioning is broken. Get on the next bus’. Everybody in a dazed and confused state given the fact we were all asleep a few seconds previously. At this point we are bundled onto a local stopping service bus, which just about manages to accommodate all the passengers plus our luggage.

Arrive in Bangkok pissed off at the palava of swapping buses and enjoying the early morning commute into the city centre. When the bus eventually drops us off it becomes clear that the cabin crew has had an inside man and somebody has been rifling through the bags and been on the rob. Luckily, we are a bit wiser than some of the younger travellers and all our valuables are on us...

Catch the rest of the rush hour bus service to Hualumphong and check into our favourite hotel, the Train Inn. A nice hot shower later, we are back on the streets of Bangers and enjoying a little bit of lunch before taking a quick stroll to the trade market for a bit more of our favourite pastime.

Today we see a new bit of Bangkok in the form of Siam Square, which is a very nice shopping district, full of little boutique shops, vintage stores and very, very upmarket shopping malls. Then onto the 1960s in the form of the Lido cinema. One screen, one showing, one size of salted popcorn available. Prometheus is poor, but then a head back to the DVD room at the Train (as we regulars call it) to watch a little Sherlock (amazing series) before watching the first game of the Euros.

Day 254: Bangkok, Thailand 09/06/2012

A very good night’s sleep and there is always the joy of a nice, hot shower to make us all feel a little bit better. A great bit of breakfast at the train station (noodle soup) and we are straight onto the MRT for Chatachuk Market, the biggest market in the world and after arriving at eleven we stay literally all day there, encountering stalls, zones and universes unseen by human eye on any of our previous visits. We buy a few little bits and pieces before being inhumanely driven away by the rain around half five.

A very uneventful evening at the Train Inn watching some more Sherlock and some more soccer (sorry people back home for using this derogatory term) after dinner. A wee bit of skyping to start the evening and life could not get any better.

Day 255: Bangkok, Thailand 10/06/2012

Happy birthday wee sister!

Given the familiarity of yesterday’s Bangkok experience, we decide to have a noodle soup breakfast at the train station and then head to this massive weekend market we have heard about before.

Again we buy a few things and see some more things we hadn’t/haven’t seen before and haven’t/hadn’t bargained for (cock fights). The pet section is ridiculous and coming out of the market with two puppies, a baby snake, a little crocodile, a handbag designed for my new sugar glider, a huge wooden horse and a new eighty litre backpack (guess the real purchase…), I walk out munching on a huge bag of deep fried grasshoppers. Despite sounding like an Ant and Dec inspired challenge this crunchy treat is exactly that, a crunchy treat.

Head back to our neck of the woods and we give a massive happy birthday to Rosie on skype before having a bit of decent scran at the side of the road for about a quid. Euro 2012 again somehow takes precedent over an early night.

Day 256: Bangkok, Thailand 11/06/2012

A bit of a lie in is followed by a spot of breakfast at the roadside (some more impressed than others…) and although I quite realise how boring this blog is becoming, we hit the silver screen and enjoy the most ridiculously big bucket of popcorn we have ever seen for a pound. Men In Black 3 is not quite the biggest sell out movie I have ever seen but come on Will! Quite enjoyable though.

Leave the safety of the cinema and discover that the rain is hammering down like a decent day in the north of England somewhere (despite hearing the news on the hosepipe ban in the southeast). England play tonight and despite searching frantically for somewhere that can shelter me from the inadequacy of Woy’s (respect) squad on the world or even European front, we end up in public at the Paragon Centre’s Chang Screen (after a bit of umming and ahhing and some youtube), where we proceed to make the worst TV interview since Balotelli after the FA Cup game last year (‘can I say shit?’). Despite the experiences in India (the mere mention of India makes me realise how boring this blog is becoming after the sub-continental leg), we hope this never goes out.

England just about over-under-perform and so we are reasonably happy…head home ready for our journey to the border tomorrow.

Posted by tevs 08:48 Archived in Thailand Tagged football thailand bangkok city_living Comments (0)

Chapter nine - Panjim

sunny 32 °C

Day 38: Panjim, Goa 6/11/11

Another sleepless night but we awake at seven to depart the busy, grubby, disappointing Baga. The bus we catch to Panjim is typically Indian – extremely busy, extremely hot, extremely sweaty, extremely cheap and extremely entertaining.

A half hour troop round Panjim with bags in search of a room sees my Kingfisher vest’s debut end in a soggy, sweaty mess. We find somewhere cheap, clean and comfortable and it turns out that the owner’s cousin is an MP in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead. Small world.

Gemma still not 100% so we have a lazy day and watch a few films and pick up some comfort food and what seems to be the first fresh fruit of the trip. We have a little gander and discover that we are in a very nice part of town, with charming old Portuguese style colonial buildings, a huge waterfront and some friendly locals. Unusually for India almost every shop is shut on a Sunday, due to the mainly Catholic beliefs of the local area. We see goats and chickens outside the butchers looking smug. There are significantly fewer goats and no chickens on the way back.

Food in Panjim is unbelievably good value. A 70 rupee (90p) thali sees me with copious amounts of rice, poppadoms, three chapattis, chutneys, three veg dishes and dessert served on one big silver plate in smaller individual bowls. This predictably ends in a swollen belly and a headsweat but I think I know where we might go for dinner tomorrow…

Panjim, Goa 7/11/11

Finally slept! Gemma had been out for shower gel and odomos before I had even awoken. We went for lunch – roast pork noodles and a Bailey’s cake with added spiders for Gemma.

Took the bus to Old Goa. Another Indian bus ride – people, noise, etc. Some very old, impressive churches and religious monuments on show, including the remains of St Francis Xavier. Right up the street of some little Irish old ladies we know…

Whilst in Old Goa we take a visit to ‘Wax World’, which is a museum, art gallery and fun hall rolled into one apparently. Some incredibly poor wax works makes the entry fee worth every penny.

Head back to town for a new sim card (very difficult to get hold of), an India and a Mumbai Indians shirt and a Gemma finds us tickets (with free replica shirts) for Sporting Clube de Goa. I take a visit to the local gym next door and, pouring sweat, realise how long ago Globogym seems. Another thali for tea (cat sick chop suey for Gemma) and bed.

Panjim, Goa 8/11/11

A quiet morning and we then head to Dona Paula, where we are led to believe there are some nice beaches. We arrive to find not many beaches and thousands (exaggeration) of people. Some beautiful scenery and views over the coast and harbour so naturally people are very keen for some photos with us.

We take the bus up to Miramar (next village up) and find a really wide, sandy public beach. There are not many people there and we have a nice day on the sand. However, do not fancy the water due to the big ships coming very close to the shore and the amount of rubbish being washed up. I find a watch and restore it on the beach. Fancy myself in the watch industry.

Walk the 2 ½ miles back to Panjim and pass lots of sports fields and cricket pitches. Go for tea and Gemma officially declares she has had enough of Indian food.

Day 41: Panjim, Goa 9/11/11

Well another quiet uneventful day to report on…

We get up early and pack our stuff as we are due to be swapping rooms today. Turns out we don’t. Check to see if the gym is open. It isn’t.

Another bus journey, this time to Margao to watch the football kitted out in our Sporting Goa shirts. Some spectacular scenery on the way and we arrive wt the Nehru Stadium around three hours before kick off. We mill about, grab some chow and a cake and realise we still have two hours.

We enter the ground and bizarrely there are people who live in flats in the stands themselves, where the boxes would be. I have heard of the Highbury development and Maine Road but a working stadium?

Find a seat (only about 29,000 spares) and have a wander onto the pitch. We wait about and notice there seem to be a lot of junior teams around. Still no sign of the teams half an hour before kick off.

Turns out to be a kids’ tournament around the outside of the pitch and eventually the teams appear to warm up. There is also some ‘pre-match entertainment’ in the form of a DJ and some Goan dancers. We are then cherry picked from the crowd to perform a traditional dance with these people (You will dance! We provide the coconuts!). the crowds for our appearances in India are getting bigger, this one around 1000 by now and after 60 seconds of out of time, out of rhythm, out of this world dancing we get a rapturous applause from the Sporting army.

The game is anti-climax after these events as is the rest of the day. How does it keep happening to us?

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Posted by tevs 05:33 Archived in India Tagged football india goa panjim Comments (0)

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