Asia

Hua Lapong railway station, Bangkok, Thailand

In a cafe in Hua Lapong train station, Bangkok, waiting for a train down to Surat Thani, then catching the boat over to Ko Pangnan. I’m drinking the first real coffee I’ve had since I’ve been in Thailand. An espresso. (Although yesterday I did have a cappucino, but they seemed to make it without putting any coffee in, so it was just frothy milk with chocolate sprinkled on top. Apart from that the coffee has always been instant. This one was 50 Bahts though, pretty expensive by Thai standards, but I’m trying to convince myself that money doesn’t matter because…

Soi Rambutri, Bangkok, Thailand

A quiet middle aged Aussie and a loud young American argue about Iraq. Guess which one is pro-war? I’m in a cafe on Soi Rambutri, the older and more sedate version of Khaosan Road, the main touristy area. Just been on the internet. The web server’s down – the one that hosts mine and a number of other peoples’ websites. I phoned 1&1 support and the guy said that one of their support people had taken the server down but he didn’t know why. He said he’d email me within the hour, so in the meantime I’m having some beer…

Bangkok, Thailand

I’ve checked into a new hotel, part of the Sawasdee (Sawasdee = hello) chain, Thailand’s McHotels (or McHotles as they spell it on one of the signs here). Cheap and basic. But they serve much better food than McDonalds. I’m sitting in the open air cafe, having just had their 49 Baht Thai Fast Food lunch. A plate of chicken in chilli sauce and rice. Very good. They have a wide screen TV which was showing some HBO programme. Earlier they had BBC News 24’s Asia service. Now they’ve turned off the TV and are playing Boney M’s Greatest Hits,…

Bangkok, Thailand

I’ve spent a day going down to the station and back again on the river taxi. Doing things like this seems to take a long time here. I’m not sure why it’s taken me the whole day but it has. The highlight of the day so far: I saw a monk in orange robes smoking a cigarette outside the station. I didn’t think monks were allowed to smoke. No. Better than that. On the river taxi a women held her hands together in prayer and closed her eyes each time we passed a wat (Buddhist temple) and then as we…

Khao San Road, Bangkok, Thailand

Sitting in a cafe on the Khao San Road, the main tourist area of Bangkok. Like Carnaby Street in London. The place you go to get ripped off, except here things are so cheap it doesn’t matter. I’ve just paid 60 Baht (less than £1) for a plate of fried rice with chicken and vegetables, though last night on a street stall I paid 10 Naht for a noodle soup and a pavement stall. There’s a scam here where people come up to you, particularly if you’re standing around looking at a map, and they say where’d you want to…

Bangkok, Thailand

I arrived at 12:30am the night before last after an eighteen hour flight (or maybe more) from Vancouver, with a brief stopover in Beijing. It was a miracle that the bike and my paniers arrived safely since I hadn’t packed them very well. The bike box was fastening with tape which I noticed was broken when the bike got to Bangkok, but the bike was still in there and seems okay, though I’ve not yet ridden it. I spent an hour re-assembling it at the airport, wondering whether to ride the 25km into Bangkok, but in the end found a…

Bangkok Airport, Thailand

3am local time. I’ve assembled the bike and I’m sitting outside the terminal building in a t-shirt. They reported the temperature as 25 degrees when we landed. It must still be at least 20. I have a headache. I wasn’t able to drink any water at Beijing airport, and on the place when I asked for some water with my red wine the stewardess mis-understood me and gave me another red wine. And now I have the noise of the traffic from a busy road behind me. I’m not sure if I’m going to cycle the 25km into town. The…

Beijing Airport, China

Two hours to wait before the flight onto Bangkok. Unable to leave the airport. Watching Chinese TV. They were showing English Premiership football, but now it’s the news. A chinese leader in a suit meeting with what looks like Evo Morales, the new Bolivain president, dressed in his casual Saturday afternoon clothes. He looks bored, whereas the chinese guy looks very pleased with himself. No idea what they’re saying. A woman spits into the bin. I remember someone telling me that the Chinese spit a lot. My right nostril is blocked (the left one’s fine). I was starting to come…

On a plane from Vancouver to Beijing

I had thought we would be flying over the ocean, but below is frozen and unpopulated land. It might just as well be an ocean. It’s been going on for a few hours and I’ve not seen any signs of population. No towns. No roads. At first I thought it might be Korea, but we can’t be that far yet. It must be Northern Canada, Alaska maybe. Or Russia. We left Vancouver at about two in the afternoon, delayed by an hour. The sun is now low in the sky. It’s either the 8th or the 9th of January. If…

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