Back to the circus

I could barely even say the words.

The woman behind the ticket counter was giving me a funny look. In front of me, buses rattled with their diesel engines, ready to take me to any part of Bangkok that I wanted to go. My favorite hostel here, SUK11, let me down. They were completely booked for my dates. I do not know the Sukhumvit area that well, so I cringed when I said the words.

“Khao San Road”.

She didnt look surprised. Khao San Road is the backpacker ghetto of the universe, and it is where all of us end up at one time or another. Some have never left, and have become prisoners to the sticky, dread-locked debauchery. People seem to either love it or hate it, I fall into the later category.

With the concentration of guesthouses there, I would sure to be able to find a place to lay my tired head. Also, I figured that it was a good place to put my ear to the ground and get some recon on the places I wanted to go. I was right on both accounts.

My flight from Beijing was only 6 hours, but it took me nearly two hours to get stamped in through immigration, the queues were maddening. The new airport was astounding though, unlike the temporary setup that I had flown into last year. It was large, and the architecture was very creative and impressive….they managed to take utilitarian things like escalators and make them artistic! The first person in the country that said anything to me was a ladyboy.

Yep, this was definitely Thailand. 🙂

I met a nice Kiwi woman on the bus that told me of a tiny little guesthouse on one of the side streets. It was quiet, and well away from the packed circus of Khao San Road. The owner was a soft spoken guy that greeted me with his palms together in a wai and told me that his family, which lived there, were Buddhist and he would appreciate it if I did not drink, do drugs, or bring in the prostitutes. I liked him immediately, and we spent quite some time talking about Buddhist temples.

I dropped my rucksack, which was bloated with cold weather gear from China, and hit the streets to take care of business. The first thing that I noticed were the travelers. My God, there were a lot of them! No exaggeration to say that I saw more white people in 15 minutes than I did in 3 months of China. Even the Thai people speaking good English was music to my ears.

Within an hour, I had met a great group of travelers and got the scoop on the country. It was nice to know that I still had the vagabonding chi. My efforts paid off. I had been planning to go to Ko Tao for the cheap diving and ease of getting there, but people which had just come from the Gulf of Thailand said that it was raining nonstop. Not just rain, but the monsoon kind that could drown a fish. Not good for diving, or my sanity.

I chose rather to head towards Krabi and the islands on the West coast, an extra day of travel, but worth it. It took about 30 seconds to make the change in my “plans”, no consultations needed. That is the good thing about vagabonding alone!

Now, if I can just get myself to stop saying “Ni hau” and “xiexie” to everyone I will be alright. 🙂

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  1. Whatever, Greg, you know you couldn’t wait to get to Khao San to get some fisherman pants and spruce up your dreadlocks:-)

    Khao San is a double edged sword… it’s a good place for many Thais to make a living, but it also leaves them jaded about foreigners, it’s convenient, packed full of anything a traveler could want, but it’s also a very false representation of Thailand. it’s a tourist attraction in and of itself.

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