A Travellerspoint blog

The King & the rest.

storm 35 °C

It's our last night in Bangkok tonight. It's a funny place this city. You'll see absolute poverty right next to a five star hotel. Yet everyone seems to get on pretty well together. We took a boat up and down the Chao Phraya river this afternoon in the sweltering heat and we passed by absolute slums that were situated just a stones throw from gilded palaces. Anywhere else in the world and they'd probably be bulldozed. The juxtsposition of rich and poor manifests itself in things like the Bangkok Sky Train (BST). You just don't ever see poor folk on it. However, as you ride in its air conditioned luxury you can look down on the hoi polloi below. Another unusual thing is the pictures of the king and his wife staring down from lots of buildings. Weird and disconcerting stuff.

Another thing that surprised me was how Western influenced the place is, you can't move anywhere without being bombarded by advertising: in the train, in the station, walking down the road,it's omnipresent. Everyone seems to be chatting into their I-phone or some other gadget. By everyone, I mean those who are not poor.

We head for Chiang Mai tomorrow but we'll be back this way again in two months time. I'm already looking forward to returning. Despite the openly seedy element to the city it's a really nice place. The kids don't appear to notice that side of things though, they're too busy stepping over cock-roaches and rats to ask any hard questions.

Posted by goldenmaverick 09:35 Archived in Thailand Tagged boats river bangkok poverty Comments (2)

No sandals in the Banyan Tree

Went to meet Carolines neighbours from Dublin tonight. one of the family was celebrating a significant birthday so we thought we'd join the celebrations by meeting them for a drink. Due to a monsoon downpour the top bar on the 59th floor of the Banyan Tree was closed but we did get to go to the Latitude Bar on the 52nd floor. They were none too impressed with my sandals so they gave me a pair of slip on shoes to wear in the bar. There's no accounting for taste in these parts.

The kids have been exceptional and have shown great adaptability over the last few days. I, on the other hand, have erred on the side of grumpiness. I left the family for just under an hour today so that I could pick up tickets for our sleeper train to Chiang Mai. It was sweltering hot in Hua Lamphong train station. If you can imagine a 35 degree Heuston Station where there are no seats and everyone sits on the ground then you're quite close to what I experienced this afternoon. We'll hang around Bangkok for another day and then we'll start heading north. We're hoping it might be a little cooler but who knows. I'm hoping the cool might chill me out a little.

Here's a picture of the nuggets on the 52nd floor of the Banyan Tree in Bangkok. Great night all round. Big up to the McAleers for a great evening. Happy birthday Orla.

Posted by goldenmaverick 03:53 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

mixamipostis

overcast 35 °C

Sending posts via e.mail seems to incur a delay of a couple of days. I'll sort it out over the coming days.

Posted by goldenmaverick 03:36 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

One night in Bangkok

overcast 34 °C
View there and back again (a nugget's tale) on goldenmaverick's travel map.

I had forgotten how awful air travel was. We've never travelled abroad together as a family, we usually just hop in the car and head for West Cork. For a bunch of kids who'd never been on an airplane they took it all in their stride. As for me, well I didn't take it as well as the kids. Sleep deprivation, airplane food, a numb arse. The perfect storm for a grumpy dad.

That said, we arrived in Bangkok and our taxi driver was waiting there for us. Very nice chap whose English was nearly as good as my Thai (not the 80's band http://m.youtube.com/?client=mv-google&rdm=m4vdvn21b#)

The hotel is good. A small mix-up around the beds but no big hassle. The lobby has six tailor shops with no one in them. The place is full of Indian families on package holidays with the odd Western tourist, or in our case, six odd tourists. We took a stroll around the neighbourhood last night and bumped into a friend from Dublin. It's a small world but I wouldn't like to have to paint it.

The heat is pretty full-on. It's about 34 celsius in the shade. We took a trip on the Sky Train today to get our bearings. The nearest station is called Nana so the kids will remember that easily enough. We'll head out later to see what's going on and to meet up for a drink with our friend and her family. More short-sentenced news to follow.

Posted by goldenmaverick 23:30 Archived in Thailand Tagged bangkok indians heat Comments (0)

Dublin Airport - Sunday june 3rd

We're sitting in the airport here in Dublin. The queen's jubilee is on the tv and its raining. It reminds me of Sundays in the 1980's. We're underdressed for Dublin but wearing far too much for Bangkok.

All the kids are remarkably relaxed and they couldn't wait to get going today. There was a lot of hanging around earlier today but at last it is starting to seem real. We're finally on our way. Paddy is enjoying watching the planes take-off. We'll see how he likes it inside one in a while.

More updates to follow as we head Eastwards.

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Posted by goldenmaverick 20:35 Comments (3)

Countdown is progressing......

sunny 19 °C

In four days time the six of us head for Bangkok. The kids have never flown before. Sunday June 3rd is the first stage of our endeavours and should give us an insight into how difficult or easy things will be for the next three months. It's the start of rainy season in South East Asia but it will still be around 35 celsius. I'm imagining it as being something like a hot shower. Lets hope I'm right.

Assuming access to internet connectivity I'll be updating our travels here as we progress from Bangkok into Northern Thailand, cross over into Laos and head down into Cambodia. Two adults and four kids. Indochina awaits the Nuggets. Bring it on.

Posted by goldenmaverick 14:01 Archived in Ireland Tagged children home cambodia thailand ireland laos Comments (0)

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