Posted: October 27, 2011 in Travel and Adventure writing

 The Thai Government is offering around 5000 baht as a bounty for the 200 or so crocodiles that have ecaped from the many farms surrounding Bankok. Pocket money?

Sitting inside a bamboo and Christmas light infested Khaosan holiday guest house, in the heart of the mad Khao San road in the heart of the equally mad Bangkok city.  The sweat is pouring down me and the mozzies, having finished sucking me dry, are now using my skin as a slippy slide. Arriving at night in a strange city can be a bit daunting. If your taxi drops you off in the middle of a mad night market, and as soon as you step out you have people just about throwing their wares and food at you  -after a 26 hour journey from Cape Town -will test your sense of humour.  I almost had a complete brain freeze as I started at the flashing signage, the throngs of people, stray animals twirling around peoples’ legs, the Thai ‘bergies’ curled up on walls and doorways and underneath Tuk Tuks, and the hot sweating streets. Old and dilapidated buildings become a backdrop for kitsch and garishly coloured stalls.  Open and closed knots of wire dangle above rooftops and along the sides of walls. There are sandbags piled high around most of the shops.  They say the water will come on Thursday or Friday. And it stinks; mud, fish, sweaty feet, something else I don’t recognise – and the heat just impress all of this deep into your open pores.  It reminded me of a marketplace in Zambia where I came close to being mugged, mixed with a Guguletu taxi rank,  on the eve before the end of the world. Ok I was really tired but it all felt way to gangster and mobbish for me to handle it at that time of night.  My hotel (shithole) sounds a bit like bunglepoop and I have to unpack all my valuables to find the piece of paper with the right name on it because I don’t want to insult the locals. With one part of my brain thinking, “I don’t give a flying loop if they take anything right now. I really just need a shower and a beer: and the other part thinking, “I feel sorry for the dude trying to even touch a hair on my body because my tolerance level has reached a new level of low,”  I unpack my laptop et all onto the filthy streets.

I did eventually manage to find my “hotel” without crying, which I am very proud of.  Then I found a gorgeous little restaurant:  Tofu with grilled, fat cashew nuts, sticky sweet soy sauce and perfectly cooked rice.  I watched kids play with their dog down the main drag. Two guys were doing skateboard tricks and the tattoo artist was trying to hustle nervous looking tourists into his shop. The streets belong to the people. The hot moist air made me feel like a beach goddess and the world felt alright.  As much as I regretted travelling alone for the last 26 hours, I suddenly felt a beautiful calm inside the heart of the madness. A sort of ‘Out of Africa’ esque vibe – but with extra soy sauce.


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