I don’t seem to be particularly displaced from my home land these days having been stuck here for the last week and a half. In a funny kind of way I miss Liverpool (and I miss Thailand too).
I went into town yesterday to the market to see if I could find a replacement phone (having lost mine in Thailand). Selby market is badly anaemic compared with the scale of Thailands night bazaars. It is also populated by bady anaemic teenagers who had the day off school and old folks who cut me up with their tartan weave shopping trolleys – I seemed to be the only twenty something year old at the market. A bit like the midwich cuckoo’s in reverse, everyone of a certain age had been removed.
Oh and I soiled my ingrained sense of Arts Faculty intellectualism by buying a book that had been reccommended by Richard & Judy. The book in question is "Cloud Atlas" by David Mitchell and to be fair it was a) nominated for The Man Booker prize and it was reviewed b) in EDGE magazine and c) it was reduced in price, so it could be worth reading – only time will tell.
Today I spent some of my severly depleted cash pile on Belle & Sebastian’s new album. Or should that be their old album? It’s a compilation of all their old E.P.’s see. So I now have 25 tracks of quality folk-pop-lo-fi indie to keep me company – Excellent. There should be a law that everyone should have at least one B&S album.
I’m still contemplating going back to Liverpool and I’m spectacularly failing to get any work done but on the plus side I get to slum around York in the hot weather and write stuff. I’d forgotten how green North Yorkshire is during the summer months. Also I managed to go a day without tea but had to take an ibuprofen to clear my head.
I’m thinking of giving up tea for a while….
I know this must be a shock to some of my readers. But I’ve noticed recently that my mental states seems to alternate between "drowsy" and "edgy" with no middle ground. At first I put this down to the travelling, but now I’m home I feel the same, slightly worrying. I suspect it could be the caffine but at the moment I’m only drinking 3 cups of tea a day. Does anyone in readerland have any ideas? I don’t know much about medical matters.
My hunt for a masters degree continues….
I finally got to see Episode 3 last night (more on that later) and got into a conversation with my brother on the bus on the way home about alternative Star Wars Ep 3 toys. These are the ideas we came up with:
Padme Amidala birth chamber playset: Squeeze her hand and baby twins pop out, watch as her face realistically contorts with pain! Comes complete with robot midwives. Price $29.99 (can’t do pound sterling symbols on this computer)
Slice and Dice Anakin Skywalker: Flick a toy lightsaber (sold separately) at any of Anakins limbs and they will sever in a totally realistic fashion. Is also flame retardant and comes with lava dip! Price $15.99
Face changing Emperor Palpatine: Sparks of lightning fly from a specially concealed generator hidden in the hands of this action figure. Watch as his face gradually becomes EVIL!. Not suitable for those under 5 years old. Price $17.99.
On the whole I think the film was a return to form for George Lucas. Hayden Christiansen was far better at acting evil than good. The only continuity error that really annoyed me was Yoda. Yoda in Empire Strikes Back is a cantakerous old git who delights in using the force to torment Luke Sykwalker. In the prequels he is reduced to spouting watered down philosophy and relationship advice to Anakin – but to be fair he gets one of the best Star Wars fight scenes. Anyway no spoliers.
I’m back to some semblance of normality now (If normality’s predominant characteristic is that it rains a lot then I suppose this counts).
To recreate our blogtastic adventure for yourself you will need the following items (in no particular order):
Money – enough to get to your chosen destination – ideally Thailand but at a push, somewhere like Liverpool city centre could double for Bangkok (after all Scousers can’t speak English either).
Lots of Patience – You will spend much time in the back of buses, boats etc as you travel. Finding inventive ways of passing the time is a must.
15 wild and untameable white asian tigers (N.B. the tigers should never be seen and only serve to spur the protagonists onwards in their quest).
1 Elephant to ride around on (this might not be advisable if your destination IS Liverpool city centre)
5 cups of tea for every day you spend travelling, this will heighten your mental state and give your perceptions of reality a sharper edge (vital if jet lagged). Up the dosage if you start to feel anything less than trigger happy.
A travelling companion (anyone you like, but be warned, by the second week you’ll probably want to kill them).
1 bout of mild illness (optional but can make things more interesting).
1 Crazed Woman to hitch a lift with (by "crazed" take your pick from the following list of symptoms: passive aggresion, hyperactivity, barely concealed contempt for hitchhikers)
Shake well and serve.
The Himalayan people known as Sherpas have a superstition that your soul travels much slower than the rest of your body. This makes it imperative to rest after a long journey so that your soul can find you again.
Judging by how tired I feel now I think my soul must have snagged on a mountain somewhere back there. Currently I’m experiencing the all too familiar burn of caffine molecule against synapse as I try to stay awake. I’m now back in good old North Yorks and I could smell cow dung earlier, which makes a change from the smog of Bangkok. I left Katie at the airport and took an uneventful flight home. Katie had a later flight to heathrow which paradoxically got in two hours earlier than mine. At least I got some sleep though…
Oh and one last thing – on the course of my travels around Thailand I have been mistaken for: a Scottish person, an Israeli and most bizarrely Frank Lampard. For the sake of clarity I would like to point out now I am none of the aformentioned.
Don’t know when I’ll be back again…
Well I’ll be arriving in Manchester at 08:30 GMT tomorrow morning. I’m writing this with a bit of a lump in my throat and a slight cloudiness of my eyes. I don’t want to go home, but I’m hot, tired and I think Katie and I would probably end up killing each other if we had to keep travelling together.
It’s been a wild ride, dear readers and we’ve consumed a massive amount of caffine and a fair amount of alcohol on the way. I don’t think we could have asked for more than that.
Have I learned anything on the way? Maybe I should write something here about how my eyes have been opened to the wider world and to different cultures. Maybe I should write that I’ve learned not to eat orange mud. Maybe I’ve learned something else entirely and I’ll only figure it out over the course of time.
I’ll keep blogging though, but maybe smaller adventures and lesser journeys from now on.
I’m on Tsunami ravaged Phi Phi now. Five months on and the damage is still showing, rubble heaps line the beach and half the island is still being rebuilt. The island is still very beautiful though and we have an awesome view from our cabin across the south bay.
Today we headed over to Phi Phi Leh (the smaller island to the south). Phi Phi Leh is the island where the rest of "The Beach" was filmed (i.e. not the waterfall bit or the Khao San bit). Home only to sea birds (but tourist day trippers go there regularly). As we were swimming in the sea, Katie reminded me that the guy Leonardo DeCaprio was with got attacked by sharks there (but not really, in the film).
It was pretty rainy this afternoon, but I could hear gibbons hooting from the hills behind our cabin. Then we watched "American Pie 3". We leave Thailand in less than 48 hrs now… I’ll try and do another update before then.
I’m still in Bangkok, after the bus we were supposed to catch had an accident.
Time for a better update then…
It was my birthday on the 12th (thank you for your birthday greetings, Sarah, Damien and Julie!). For my birthday we went to the Khao Yai National Park (which is where the waterfall part in "The Beach" was filmed). Khao Yai is also the only place in Thailand where tigers still live in the wild, so we set off to go and find some. Because public transport is not allowed into the park, we had to hitch hike our way in and ended up in a battered Toyota with a lovely Thai couple, unfortunately the car was so battered it kept threatening to break down (quite unnerving when there are signs outside saying "Caution – Tigers!").
After we finallly made it to the visitors centre, we went for a short trek through the jungle and fought against a horde of vicious leeches, we won the fight, but not without sustaining a leech bite each. After an hour of trekking, we discovered we had only covered one kilometer and so turned back to the visitors centre. After that we went on a night safari and saw a lot of deer (but still no tigers). The we had to hitch a ride out of the park with The Most Passive Aggresive Woman In The World and her cohorts… This woman spoke very good english but claimed not to be able to understand what we were telling her, this proved to be quite traumatic as in the dark we couldn’t find our guest house, we eventually asked her to drop us by the road side near to where we thought our guesthouse was. We set off walking back up the road, got chased by a doberman, and eventually managed to find some Thais who took us back to the guesthouse for free! all in all: The Best Birthday Ever!
No time for a proper blog update today, because I have a bus to catch, so I’ll leave you with an excerpt from a Paris Hilton interview I saw in the Bangkok post:
Bangkok Post: "So Paris, what did you want to be when you were little?"
Paris:"When I was little I wanted to be a veternarian, but then I realized I could just buy a whole bunch of animals!"
Now I’m off to Phi Phi…
Stand by for the next exciting update.