Oh the dramas of getting ready for an overseas trip!!! How many ways can we possibly procrastinate about packing? hmmm Guitar Hero, breakfast with the rellos, more Guitar Hero…..last weeks washing…..a tiny bit of Guitar Hero….shopping…… Robin Hood on BluRay….Nickleback ( on Guitar Hero of course)…..Da Vinci Code on TV… maybe one more Guitar Hero session (cant let Bon Jovi escape my extremely talented – not – guitar playing)… oh dear..10 pm..no bags packed…maybe tomorrow!!!!! Wednesday 6th October – finally made it. Okay, so somewhere in the last couple of days we decided it was a good idea to put Guitar Hero aside and actually pack something. The general consensus among friends however was so long as we had Passports, Tickets, Cozzies and money for drinks we were good to go! As we stood on the side of the road in a light drizzle of rain at 6.30 in the morning, there was a slight panic that Happy Cabby had forgotten to pick us up, however the bus did eventually arrive. (Scott’s Dad was eternally grateful he did not have to do the two hour hike to the airport with us, as were we when we recall all the red lights he went through on our last road trip!). We were finally on our way! I’d like to say the next 12 hours were filled with edge of the seat excitement – although when you are on a plane several kilometers up in the sky I’m pretty sure excitement is overrated – less is better! Several hours of catching up on Modern Family and Vampire Diaries episodes was about as good as it got. (I’ve been instructed to clearly point out that Scott did not participate in the watching of any Vampire Diaries episodes – secretly I think he was watching Glee). So let’s fast forward. 5.30pm Bangkok time and we were racing down the freeway towards the city. It’s been five years since our last visit but as we left the highway and starting weaving through the streets the memories were coming back. Street vendors selling an assortment of food, entire families including the pet pig on motor bikes, tuk-tuks vying for customers, stalls with rip offs of every rknown brand. And the heat, the humidity and the smell. Yep, we were back in Asia.
We opted to stay at the Viengtai Hotel again for a couple of reasons. Firstly, our Intrepid Tour leaves from this hotel. Secondly, it is a one minute walk to Khao San Rd. Right in the middle of backpacking Mecca, where we can have a whole “The Beach” cliched experience, with the added safety of retreating to our semi middle class hotel with a gym and pool. Best of both worlds – maybe. The hotel was pretty much the same as it was five years ago. The street however had changed considerably. The colour and vibrancy of Khao San Rd was now spilling into the surrounding streets. It was filled with “wanna-be” backpackers bravely buying food from the street vendors, Thai women trying to entice customers into cafes or bars and taxis and motorcycles dodging first time tourists who were wandering down the middle of the road, wide eyed with excitement trying to take it all in. We were just looking for somewhere to sit and have a good curry and a cold beer and watch it all go past. As our first day back in Thailand came to a close, I remember now why we love it so much.