There’s nothing like that feeling you get when you wake up on the first day of a long travelling adventure, providing you’ve had a good night’s sleep of course.
I awoke to the dulcet tones of the hotel air-con units. There was a gentle rattle coming from inside the tired old machines that had probably been cooling the Liberty Garden Hotel for decades; a sound that I had awoken to on so many occasions in Bangkok.
It was after 10am, which meant breakfast was off the menu. I could taste Leo beer still strong on my breath from the night before, and my head was as foggy as a misty morning on the Mekong River.
I struggled to my feet. I caught sight of myself in a mirror above the TV. Standing there in my underwear; I looked a perfect picture of bad health. With one eye open, I managed to find a warm bottle of water next to my bed. As I guzzled it down, my mind began to clear – what happened last night?
* * *
The outbound journey was one of the roughest flights I’d ever had; fortunately, we made it in just under 12 hours flight time, plus a 2 hour stopover in Delhi. Once we’d freshened up and grabbed a quick Masala Dosa at the airport, we were ready for our departure.
Once in Bangkok, I hadn’t slept in 30+ hours, but I was in reasonable spirits. I suggested we visit my favourite restaurant next door to our hotel. We both had the spicy pork, which was phenomenal. I felt uneasy on the plastic red seats, that seemed to bow a little too much under my weight, but luckily it kept me upright.
My intentions were to have a few beers for a couple of hours and call it a night, around midnight, but I thought Konrad would enjoy a drink a little further down the road at a place called the Pradipat Hotel, which was just a hotel bar.
We sat in a booth and ordered a bottle of Sang Song whiskey, and got chatty with our waitress. There were people singing on stage: mostly young girls. The girls would come and sit with the customers, though, it wasn’t a place where men can pick-up girls; it was all pretty innocent.
Konrad introduced himself as ‘Sonny’ to the waitress. At the time, I thought he was just having a laugh, so I decided to play along and told her my name was ‘Paulo’. I quickly learned, however, that Konrad genuinely didn’t want anyone to know his real name in case he found himself in trouble, and thought that the authorities would somehow track him down easier with a name like Konrad. I found this to be truly bizarre behaviour.
It was a great night, but my plan was ill conceived, and we didn’t get back to the hotel until 6am, shattering the early night idea. As we staggered back to the hotel the sun was already beginning to rear its ugly head.
Over the first 4 days, I was really struggling to get a good night’s sleep. Though, I would get up early and try and get on with the day as best I could. I would often take the Skytrain around the city, just to have something to do in the morning. When it came to going to bed at night, I just couldn’t sleep a wink.
However, I did manage to get on with some basic chores like organising some laundry. I had an awkward situation when trying to explain to the guy that I had some rather unfortunately placed grease stains on the crouch of my short trousers, and received some dubious looks when I handed them to him. He did do a good job at getting them cleaned though.
On the 4th night in Bangkok, I met up with Terry, whom I have known for many years since living in Spain in 2007. After eating a nice meal with him in another local restaurant, I decided I would have a couple of beers to help me get to sleep. By now, I was at my wits end and was so incredibly tired, I was having trouble functioning properly.
I popped into the Chinese restaurant next to the hotel to have a few more bottles of Leo beer. I stayed for a couple of hours and watched a cheesy movie on a TV with the rest of the staff, but I really wasn’t paying much attention to the TV at all. I was nearing the end of my 4th bottle of beer and decided that was enough, and I would call it a night and try to get some sleep, especially as we were leaving for Malaysia in the morning.
As I returned from the bathroom, I forgot myself and took a seat. The flimsy legs of my chair gave way and I went down like a sack of potatoes, swiftly followed by the entire table with plates and bottles, covering my newly cleaned short trousers in sweet chilli sauce. I looked like a right mess. I was quickly helped to my feet by about 6 members of staff.
Needless to say, it was one of the most embarrassing things too ever happen to me. I paid the bill with great haste and got the hell out of there. The rat-bastards charged me for the chair too! It’s one of my favourite restaurants, but it’s going to be tough showing my face in there after that little incident. I certainly won’t be in there for at least a month.
So as usual a good start to things; it’s been a week of living in the twilight zone, with terrible sleeping patterns, but things are finally beginning to level out – especially that chair!