We leave our first hotel after a breakfast of rice and frankfurters, strange but surprisingly nice. We load ourselves up with our backpacks and make our journey to the bus stop. This is it – we’re on our own now. We know we need to get the 517 bus to Central Bangkok but have no idea what the bus looks like or even if it will have the number on it. We watch a number of what seem to be buses pull up, collect passengers and get on their way, none of which say 517 on them. We’re starting to wonder if we are doing the right thing, when a young Thai lady comes over and asks us what bus we are waiting for. I tell her the 517 and she reassures us that this is the correct stop and that it will be a big bus and a long journey of about an hour.
Not long after, a yellow bus (much like an American school bus) pulls up and on we jump. Unlike England you don’t pay the bus driver, instead once you’ve sat down a lady comes over with a long metal canister, which carries change and tickets and asks us where we are going. We try to explain but this is no easy feat so instead we show her our hotel confirmation. She speaks to the driver and various passengers to try and establish where this place is and comes back saying what we need to pay – 42TB which is about 86p, bargain! The journey is long but the bus is air-conditioned and although old, a lot nicer journey than our buses in England on a hot Summers day. We’re trying to work our where we need to get off – thank God for Google maps, when the bus lady let’s us know to get off and get the 501 bus from across the street which will take us to our hotel. We get off the bus and load ourselves up with our backpacks, when Barry says ‘Do you want to get the bus or would you rather walk?’ ‘Let’s get the bus’ is what I should’ve said, but instead I ask how long the walk is, to which Barry replies 20 minutes. So we decide to walk – big mistake!
We’ve now been walking for about 30 minutes, reasoning that it’s only taking this long because we’re laden down with two backpacks each, weighing around 12kg in total and getting heavier by the minute. The heat is really hitting us now as it’s right at the peak of the day. We check the map and it say’s we’re about half way there. I say to Barry this is not a 20-minute walk – he claims it is we’re just walking slowly. I really don’t believe him. After walking down many winding roads, we reach the point where the map says our hotel should be. It isn’t, it’s someone’s house. I throw my bag down and say, I can’t walk anymore. It’s been an hour now and I’m hot, sweaty and exhausted. I also stink of food as we’ve walked past many street vendors cooking smelly foods. Barry decides to go and have a look round to see if he can find our hotel, I stay where I am. He’d been gone for about 10 minutes when I realize that I probably shouldn’t have let him go by himself as I’m now on my own. Starting to wonder where he’s got to, I pick up my bag and start to wonder back the way we came. I still can’t see him and am starting to slowly panic. We’ve only been here a day and I’ve lost him already! Then he appears round a corner and says the hotel wasn’t where it said it was on the map but he’s found it. Thank God – as I just want to sit down.
We finally reach our hotel, The “Aravinder Living Home” and make it to our room where we have a well-earned nap. When we wake up, Barry decides to tell me that he got it wrong, it was 20 minutes by bus, not walking – no shit Sherlock – last time I put him in charge of directions!
We decide to take a wonder into the town and go to a Japanese Mall in Ekamai. Aside from a KFC, Subway and Dunkin Donuts, everything else is Japanese restaurants, clothing shops and electronic stores. We decide to have a KFC for ease. Two big tower meals for 270TB – £5.50, everything is so cheap here! We then take a wonder through the mall and Barry is in his element in the electronic stores, geeking out over every cable, plug and gadget. After we’ve finished having a look around we head into a mini supermarket where we look for some weird and wonderful snacks to try. We found a drink that looked like frog spawn and some clam crisps, of course we buy these to try back at our room.
Back at the room, we tuck into our snacks. Verdict on the frog spawn drink – lumpy but juice is drinkable. Verdict on the clam crisps – I love them, Barry hates them. They really are just deep fried cockles, but I am immediately told to go and brush my teeth after I finish the bag as apparently my breath stinks!