Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Day 6 - Thai massage and Chinatown

Currently writing this whilst being driven at breakneck speed in a minibus to Kanchanaburi; I don't think the waist seatbelt will do me much good if we hit something. I count myself lucky - Gilly doesn't have one. To be honest, in an accident at this speed neither of us will know much about it, which I take some comfort in. Driving in Bangkok is nuts. People cut in front of each other, overtake on either side and use indicators sparingly. If that's not enough, the road markings appear to be more of a rough guideline; I've seen a couple of roads which have one way arrows on them, whilst traffic freely flows in the opposite direction. Yet no-one seems to use their horn. Maybe it's some sort of Buddhist fatalism I'm not aware of, and they assume that when it's their time to die in a 12-car pile-up then so be it.

I neglected to mention our trip to Siam Centre in downtown Bangkok, mainly because we didn't actually visit any of the shops there. It was basically an upmarket Khao San road, but didn't appear to have much we were interested in. We did have a conversation with a guy outside a bank who claimed he worked there and gave us a talk about the floods in the area, before then trying to get us to go to a "Tourist Office" where we would no doubt have been fleeced.

We also, by chance, stumbled across the Big Buddha late at night a couple of nights back. This would be the Big Buddha that all of the scam artists and tuk-tuk drivers would try and get you to visit as they have a load of gem merchants and whatnot gathered in the area, but apparently not at 9pm. Good news for us. True to its name, it was big, but not as big as the Reclining Buddha at Wat Pho.

My back has been really sore over the last couple of days, so we decided to indulge in a 1 hour all over Thai massage at the hotel for a bargain 4 quid each. It wasn't as painful as I'd expected and we both felt a good kind of ache afterwards. Sadly my back is still not 100% but I bought a pot of tiger balm from the masseuse which tingles and warms when rubbed over my back, and this should hopefully keep me going until it feels better.

We travelled the length and breadth of Khao San Road trying to find a pair of light long trousers for Gilly. Some of the temples and attractions have a strict dress code policy of not showing any leg from the knee up, but even Gilly's long shorts which came down to her lower calves weren't sufficient for the Vimanmek Palace who seemed to be rejecting women's outfits regardless of length and directing them to the conveniently located sarong stall where they could purchase one for 40 baht (80p). Very handy...one would think they were taking advantage of tourists.

Sadly, most of the clothing was pretty rubbish, and the trousers were more MC Hammer than Princess Jasmine, so Gilly wasn't too keen. I was on the lookout for some polyester shirts as they are lighter, dry faster, and help with heat much better than cotton. Khao San road only appeared to sell cotton. We were advised that Cambodia was the place to get wicking tops, so it may be a few months before I can trade off some of my cotton t-shirts.

At night we went to Chinatown on the recommendation of Gilly's masseuse, and enjoyed a fab meal (albeit under cover from the rain) of curried crabmeat, chilli-fried prawns and rice. It was delicious.

Kanchanaburi awaits!


Anonymous said...

"Currently writing this whilst being driven at breakneck speed in a minibus to Kanchanaburi; I don't think the waist seatbelt will do me much good if we hit something. I count myself lucky - Gilly doesn't have one."

Ah Rob, ever the gentleman! :)

Keep them coming; I'm enjoying living vicariously through your travels. Does tiger balm contain real tigers?

Anonymous said...

You can get a full body Thai massage in Bristol, although I doubt their ability to ease aches and pains.

I did a quick search for Kanchanaburi and it looks beautiful.

Keep the days coming, I enjoy reading your travels.

Rob said...

Hey Anonymouses (Anonymi?)! Unfortunately we didn't find out about the seatbelt situation until we were packed in and the driver was pelting along else I would have gladly offered my tattered rag of a seatbelt to my lovely girlfriend :)

Good to know about Thai "massages" - is this from personal experience?

Anonymous said...

Did the Thai masseuse love you long time? Only twenty dorrar. Okay, fifteen dorrar for you, big manly Ingrish man.

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