may the 23rd
it's been a while since I last updated, but then I haven't been doing much really, hanging out, talking to quite a few nice people, running into a dodgy bunch of South London geezers who are on their way to Japan, hopefully the ninjas will kick them out as soon as they arrive in Japan! I've been trying to read Moby Dick but as usual my seeming inability top read any book written before 1945 has struck again and I'm stuck around page 200, it's really really dull, but maybe I'll have another go at it.
The food here has been fantastic though during my periods of inactivity, for instance last night, on the beach, while a violent storm raged about 20 miles offshore, with lightning making the clouds glow from the inside, I had a thai fish curry, accompanied by a mango lassi, followed by chocolate and cashew pancake with chocolate spread and peanut butter, washed down with a whisky coffee, wow, it was all sensational, and it was all about 3 pounds.
I'm starting to like it here at lot more, in fact I'm thinking of staying on the island after my dive course (which started today in the classroom, and with the promise of chasing after whale sharks on Sunday!!) to do a few fun dives, before gheading back up to Bangkok. I'm still heading back on the 6th of June though, I think by then I'll have had enough of travelling like this, a few people have said that I'm mad to want to come back so soon, but to be honest, after a month I think that the transitory friendships (meaning that you almost constantly feel like you have tto be 'on' and entertaining) and dirty bathrooms and sheer strangeness of it all will have become too much. Plus the prospect of watching the world cup with my friends (no matter what time it will be) is a great one, especially as English tv won't be showing advertys at ten minute intervals all teh way through the game, as they do here, which is a pain in the ass. It is bloody lovely here though, and I'll have some cool stories to tell and hopefully some great pictures.
may 18th a bit more
Something else I had to say, DavidM and Alix, thankyou so much for recording me the minidiscs, both are excellent and helped keep me sane while I was more confined to cabin than I am now. Alix you were right by the way, Peaches is filthy!!!
ah well, back down to the Simple life bar for a spot of lunch and some more games of pool, roll on tomorrow night when I can finally get stuck into the Beer Chang again.
well, it's been a few days since I updated, but let's face it there's not that much you can write about when you're stuck in the infernal triangle of bungalow/medical center/e-mail place!!!
yup, since the incident not a lot has happened, I've finished a rather heavy yet very interesting history of the Spanish Civil War by Anthony Beevor, limped down to the beachside restaurants and bars for bland food and soft drinks and come and e-mailed friends and posted on ILe. Not that exciting really, but the consolation is that it's on a very very beautiful island, it's not rained and the lowest the temperature has been during the day is around 30 degrees! Yesterday it was nmore like 38 and I'm not kidding when I say I almost melted, I've never sweat so much in my life!!
Still, stitches out on Tuesday, which hopefully means that I can get in the water and start my diving instruction on Wednesday, that is what I came out here for in the first place after all!!
Current plan after that is to do a few fun dives once I have my license, then head back to the mainland to a place called Hua Hin, which is a beach resort and looks beautiful, after that back to Bangkok for England's first game, and then depending on how I feel, I may come back, or I may go up north to Chiang Mai, it all depends on whether I've started skleeping properly by then, and whether I feel any cleaner.
finally a big thankyou to the folks I've been talking with on e-mail and instant messenger in the last couple of days, you've kept me sane!
may 14th or, Stupid Chris day
well, getting to Ko Tao was a breeze after all, off the train, into a Songthaew (pickup truck with bench seats and onto the boat, I managed to sneak up onto the deck and sat on the bow which was good, apart from getting a bit sunburned, but what made up for that was the sight of the most beautiful palm and casuarina clad island coming steadily towards us!
landed, sorted out a nice, cheap if very rustic bungalow and set off for a walk along the beach with a Zimbabwean I had met on the boat called Neil, all was idyllic until we started clambering amog the rocks, I didn't dry my feet before hopping fropm one to another and put my lefy foot firmly down on some dead coral, of course this sliced a dirty great hole into the bottom of my foot and then I slipped, my left leg scraped along the coral, then my chest smacked into the rock and finally my arm crashed down on yet more coral! apparently it was very spectacular and looked as if ot could have been very nasty, instead of just a bit nasty, sooo, now I have three stitches in the bottom of my foot, bandages all the way up my leg, two stitches in my arm and bruising all over mty chest, oh and my hands look like they've been through a blender!
this all cost me thrity quid and a lot of pain from the nurse, including two lots of anaesthetic injections as she got distracted after the first ones, and by God thety were painful I can tell you, I was literally screaming!
sooooo, now I'm on antibiotics and can't drink for 5 days, extra strong Ibuprofen, anmd have bandages abnd stitches that I can't get wet for 7 days!!! and I'm only 3 minutes from a gorgeous beach!
my books are going to get a pounding methinks.
It really depressed me earlier but now I think I'll just upgrade my bungalow to something swanky and suffer in style! I have to say though, dangerous rocks apart this is the most beautiful place I have ever seen, cabins hidden among the palms, long expanses of sand, beautiful wethare, niiiiice.
Today I did possibly one of the most stupid things of my life (well, we'll see about that won't we?)
after getting in a taxi with three Irish girls to Hualamphong station in order to get the sleeper train to Chumphon and then on to Ko Tao, we did ten yards in ten minutes, realising that we were never going to get there we piled out of the taxi and did the only possible solution, got on the back of motorbike taxis! Doing 60 mph on the back of a Yamaha250 with a 15kg backpack is really stupid but at the same time quite fun and exciting, bnothing went wrong and it all worked out so no harm done. My hands were haking like mad after that but that may have been due to grabbing the handle on the back of the bike so hard.
The train was fantastic, so comfortable, and a proper sleeper too, so cordoned off from my cocoon I watched Thailand whizz by, it was lovely, every so often there would be a small village or roadside stall, brightly lit up in the darkness, I even managed some sleep! and so on to the next day..... where all hell breaks loose
sunday the 12th
woke up extremely late and nearly missed breakfast after being up very late talking, but hey, I'm on holiday after all.
Today it was off to Chatuchak market, the biggest market I have ever seen, apparently there are 8764 stalls there, and it certainly felt like it as the sun came out and everyone there was baking under a tin roof with no air-con, I don't think I've ever sweated so much in all my life.
I have been listebning to Thai radio a lot this holiday and imagine my surprise when the first three songs that I heard when I turned on get 102.5 were Stephanie says by The velvet Underground, Bizarre love triangle by Even as we speak and then Fox in the snow by Belle and Sebastian!!.
talked to a couple of bloks from the States too after more msn chat, comparing differences between baseball and cricket and trying (with some success!) to explain the rules of our fair summer game!
I think some of this may be bitter sweet considering how I feel right now!
saturday the 11th
woke up to more rain than I have ever seen before , in fact at first I thought the air con was on the blink due to the loud whooshing noise! so off to breakfast under a fetching pink brolly.
Off to Wat Phra Kaew, the home of the emerald buddha, almost falling for a scam on the way there where a bloke on one of the doors told me it was closed and pointed me in the direction of lots of tuk tuk drivers rubbing their hands in glee, fortunately I'd read about this one before so I just walked round (in the pissing rain) to another entrance and got in (with water above the soles of my trainers!)
Once in the building was beautiful, so much gold around it was glinting in the littke bits of sunlight breaking through the clouds.
there was a service going on in the room with the buddha itself (which is tiny) which just added to it all, the room was beautiful thoughh, bright colours everywhere incense and chanting, quite beautiful.
walked from there up to Khao San road where i saw on tv, Britain's hardest working, and most knowledgeable pundit Gerry Armstrong working for Asian EsPN summarising the premiership!
went off to see some Thai boxing with a bloke from the Guest house, it was ok but it seemed like once you'd seen one bout you'd seen them all, especially as there were no knockouts, but hey, it wa sthe stadium used in Bloodsport!
got back to the gest house in time to see a dismal 0-0 draw between manyoo and Charlton and have a long lovely chat on instant messenger.
started liking Bangkok again today, which is a good thing
well, a day and half has passed and I've seen (and smelled) some of Bangkok. Yesterday after a breakfast of fresh fruit and muffins with the American Nutter (now known as Jeff), some canadians and a couple of English lads who were very posh (Winchester School) and very nice. The American was loud, very loud but we managed to keep him calm enough for us to eat breakfast, plus he was leaving.
so, off I went, Sky train to the river at Saphan Taksin was cool, way above the streets of the city giving fantastic views not only of the bustling streets but also the large amounts of very cool skyscrapers that seem to be everywhere here. From Saphan it was a water bus up to a pier called Banglamphu, imagine a boat trip on the Thames from Chelsea to Blackfriars, it was about that far, but with temples and shacks on the banks, very interseting, and all for only 10p.
After that it was off to the infamous Khao San Road, hmmmm, lots of touts everywhere trying to get you to do anything from walking across the River Kwai to getting a genital piercing, still it was rather fun, and, in a lot of ways, more friendly than the area where I'm staying which is seedier and more geared up to your standard holidaymaker (and sex tourist).
For the first time on my trip I feel slightly homesick, and what is it that causes it? Only bloody East 17 playing on a stereo as I walk past!! It makes no sense I know, but hey.
A little later I see the true power of football, I walk past a bar near the pier and see that they are showing a repeat of the Liverpool/Blackburn game, I can't resist, buy a beer and walk in, joining the two orther punters watching it. By the end of the match there were about 40 of us all cheering as the last goal went in, amazing. Plus there were some very nice people there who may well be on some of the islands when I am.
Dinner was bloody hot, I was brave and had seafood in chilli and holy basil, and I'm paying for it now, which is why I'm sat in the hostel typing this up now and not out sightseeing! A case of Bangkok belly seriously cuts down the shopping (although I did get to go to a great 6 floored mall earlier which was amazing, I'm pretty sure you could buy p[retty much anything in there, as it was I settled for two hooky t-shirts and an ill fitting pair of trousers for about 11 quid)
Tonight I'm off out with Oon, a local I know through Sinister, so hopefully it should be an interesting evening, and I'll hopefully get to see some of town that a lot of tourists and travellers don't see.
one night in Bangkok.....
well, I'm here, hot and sweaty. Currently it's 35 degrees outside and about 70 per cent humidity, this doesn't lend itself to running around sightseeing really, but then neither does sleep deprivation or jet lag (something tells me I'll be awake to hear the Arsenal v man u game at 3 in the morning local time!).
So far I have wandered aimlessly, sat down to a fantastic meal (including one of the nicest puddings I've ever eaten - the freshest ripest mango I've ever had accompanied by sticky, glutinous rice) spotted several bad lady boys and been approached by various touts several times.
It's a great city, but I think it would be better in a group as then you don't automatically catch the attention of the touts.
Tomorrow I'm going to be a proper tourist - river trip, temples etc.
Oh yeah, and the funniest thing so far in the trip? the awful liched American traveller (not tourist he stressed) who proceeded to talk at me for the length of the journey between the airport and my hostel about his money making scams and how his whole trip was about that and snagging beaver. What a charmer.
But..... that hasn't dampened what has been so far a fantastic trip, already I've seen things I thought I never would, a man on a bike with a huge frame on the back covered in dried squid attached by clothes pegs for instance.
and another thing scroll down to see what I wrote about Michael Ricketts, see? see?
finally I update! well, the tickets for the trip arrived thius morning so it's all systems go, I'm pretty sure that I've forgotten loads of stuff but hey, I have tickets, passport, credit cards and have had needles shoved into my biceps so nothing can go too badly wrong.
It's all pretty daunting to be honest which is why I had to book my ticket in such a rush, like ripping off a plaster I suuppose, unfortunately this meant my timing left a lot to be desired but hey, everything will come good in the end.
so.... I'll be updating this throughout my travels, writing up my travel notes as they were written at the time, maybe with a few explanations in there so keep reading...
sometimes I wonder why I even set up this blog, especially when I'm such a lazy git, but then I thought that sometimes I do have those thoughts that should be written down and this is the handiest place for them, so what should you expect when I've got more time and inclination to update? Hmm, more football obviously as this is my favourite thing, when I finally finish work and get out of the country I'm going to use this as a kind of online diary which I feel is far better than those mass e-mails that people send round when travelling. erm, what else? Random thoughts on music, food, Jackass and whatever else my short attention span grabs onto.
First season wonders
a couple of seasons ago, Kevin Phillips arrived in the Premiership on the back of a sparkling promotion run, he set the Premiership alight, cries rang out for his inclusion in England squads, they were heeded, he was rubbish.
Last season a similar thing happened with Marcus Stewart, despite a lay-off through injury he was one of the premiership's top scorers, again the cries went up, this time they weren't heeded. (sensibly in my opinion)
Since these successful seasons, Phillips had an average season and this season he's been unconvincing, yet has still got his name on the squad list for the forthcoming friendly against Holland, despite the dodgy form that has beset him and lead to the cancellation of his boot deal.
This season Stewart has been a shadow of what he was last season ands it looks as if he'll be spending summer in Tenerife rather than Tokyo.
This season? well, it's Michael Ricketts' turn, he's had a great start to the season, scored some great goals, but....
he's currently on a slow patch, his team are struggling, how is his confidence? I may be wrong and Ricketts may be the real thing, but right now he's my candidate for this year's flash in the pan striker.