General, Travel

The end’s not near, it’s here

For those of you who are super-observant/super OC fans, yes that is an episode title, I just had to rob it as it fits so well. The last day (technically the last day is tomorrow, but departure day isn’t a full 24hr period, so it doesn’t count) is here, :(. This tour has raced by, I can’t believe that tomorrow I will say goodbye to all these people. At least we have a big goodbye planned (more on that later). There is a lot to do in Bangkok, so we’re pretty sure that we can afford to leave things like the Grand Palace until we return in March (unless we’re based here for teaching), so until then, less glamorous activities such a work shopping in one of the many local malls is necessary.

There are an awful lot shopping malls in Bangkok, that specialise in all different things. They involve taking the metro, which incidentally, was not nearly as stressful as I thought it was going to be! I think we got off at that wrong station, because we ended up walking along a sky walkway and into a completely different shopping mall than we meant to go to. It was huge, and expensive, and huge. It had 8 floors, 8 SPRAWLING FLOORS. Who needs that many shops. Jade got as laptop though, which is good. We also bought some stationery. I think Thailand has a bizarre relationship with pens, they have the largest choice I have ever seen, it’s blooming confusing.

We spent hours in Centre World. I think a load of it was spent sitting, standing, or riding the glass elevators. I wish it was Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. I think that in any glass elevator though to be fair. The escalators are a revelation and all. Instead of having a convoluted route that leads you to the back of a ship to maximise the amount of products you can see, they leads onto each other in a circular fashion. It’s very clever, the rest of the world, take note!

ATMs are a tad bizarre out here. I get that they charge per transaction, fair enough, but who gives the card back after the money. That right there is a mistake, they must get loads of people leaving their cards behind in this part of the world. Anyway, the first ATM nearly swallowed my card, it didn’t give me money, and the screen went black for a while. The second ATM refused to give me the money that I had requested, but I had no idea whether it had actually been taken off my card, a very scary situation. The third one worked OK, and I did also get a pretty decent exchange rate, but the whole thing was that unpleasant I am now scared to get money out of the machine. Shame that’s the only real way to do things around here.

After the ATM fiasco, we returned the same restaurant that we went to on the first night. How cute of us. After food (a very early dinner) we piled (literally) into a minibus and set off in search of the theatre that shows the ladyboy show. Jade and I have been collecting bracelets from the various countries that we’re visiting. and before the show, we saw a cute little bracelet with a turtle on. We asked the price, but were shocked, so walked off in true bartering fashion. In true Bangkok fashion, the guy followed us until he had reduced the price to something we’d consider. When we went back, we produced less money and said that’s all we had. The cheeky guy asked us to empty our bras, adn checked if we had pockets and money-belts. If he hadn’t accepted the reduced amount I’d have been seriously annoyed!

I really don’t know what I was expecting a ladyboy show to be like, I just knew I wanted to see one of Bangkok’s notorious attractions. Upon entering, we were led to little tables with red lamps on, very old school cabaret, and were offered a free drink. My continuing Chang amnesty resulted in my trying a gin and tonic for the first time, not too bad. The show itself was….unique, interesting….I don’t actually know if there is a word that can accurately describe it. Men dressed as women, men pretending to be women, women that may have been men or women, bad dancing, poor acting, weird outfits. The whole thing was just strange.

I’m glad our lack of money and sleep stopped us going out, I don’t ant to say goodbye to everyone, and hello to the new guys on the orientation tomorrow, feeling rough.

That’s it, tour over!

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