All Roads Lead To Bangkok

DSC09859bananapancakes.jpg

This blog entry about the events of Thursday, November 18, 2004 was originally posted on November 22, 2004.

DAY 397 (42 days since last Thailand entry):  In India, I had a somewhat unique experience unlike the average backpacking Brit on “gap year” between high school and “uni,” what with my “press credentialsopening doors for me, and my invitations to stay with modern Indian families instead of backpacker haunts.  However, it was inevitable for me to put on my hiking boots and get back on the Backpacker Trail since I was headed back to southeast Asia.  When you’re on the budget travel circuit in southeast Asia, all roads inevitably lead to Bangkok, a place that one t-shirt I saw proudly proclaimed is the “mecca of backpackers.”

My nine-hour layover in Delhi wasn’t too bad; I touched down at the domestic terminal, waited for the armed transfer bus to the international one, and waited around some more.  The hours flew as I attended to Blog duties and started reading Eoin Colfer’s The Supernaturalists.  The only time the time dragged was when I was unluckily on the slowest immigration line, which processed one person for every five on another.  Of course I never wanted to leave my line to go on the back of another since I was near the counter, but airport guys kept on letting people on the “now departing” flight cut ahead of me.  I swear I was standing on line for a good 45 minutes.

There was more time to kill in the next waiting room.  I had the urge to pee at one point, which of course is definitely more information than you needed to know, but I only mentioned it because on the way to the men’s room I ran into a familiar face.

“Are you Paul?” I asked.

“Yeah,” he answered.  I saw his face trying to remember my name.

“Erik.” 

It was Manchester Paul, whom I had met one day on the Everest Trail in Nepal, over a month prior.  He was on the same Air India flight to Delhi as mine.  “Funny how we’re bumping into each other like this,” I said.  “Originally I was supposed to fly out of Chennai.”

“Yeah, me too.  I was [originally] supposed to take the flight December second,” he said.  He had moved that flight up twice to earlier dates, ultimately to the date I was leaving India.  “I suppose it’s fate.”

With him was Neil, a young backpacker with a guitar from Nottingham who was shocked when I told him I’d heard of it.  “I’m surprised how many Americans never heard of [Nottingham.]”

“Isn’t that where Robin Hood takes place?”

“Yeah.”  Neil too was a familiar face to Paul; a couple of days prior, they had randomly bumped into each other in a similar way I had just bumped into him.  Funny how that happens; like I said, in southeast Asia, all roads lead to Bangkok, and you’re bound to bump into someone you know. 

Paul filled me in on his Everest experience.  He had taken an extra rest day on the way up and saw my guide Tilak being carried down that one dreadful day.  Paul eventually made it up to Gorak Shep and did the two day treks to Everest Base Camp and the peak of Kalapattar — he too didn’t make it all the way, just far enough for the same view and bragging rights.  Fortunately for him, his guide didn’t get sick and he took an extra rest day at Gorak Shep after the fact (something I wanted to do) and survived. 


FOUR HOURS LATER, the three of us touched down in Bangkok, capital of Thailand, and capital of 7-Eleven convenience stores — I swear there were more 7-Elevens per block than anywhere in the world, and I include the USA, Tokyo and Hong Kong in that statement.  Neil was supposed to meet up with a Brazilian girl that he had met in Goa who had arrived in Bangkok before us at the airport, but she was nowhere to be found.  Instead, the three of us just split a cab to the backpacker district by the legendary Khaosan Road.  It was Paul’s sixth time in Bangkok, Neil’s first and my second, although my first time embracing its social scene instead of complaining about being behind on The Blog, like the last time.  My new backpacker friends and I checked into the Sawasdee House, which Let’s Go describes as “a socialite’s dream… practically a backpacker convention.”  It was near 2 a.m. with the time zone difference when we finally settled down at a table in the bar for Welcome to Bangkok cocktails.

We did the backpacker thing of going out for late night banana pancakes from a street vendor on Khaosan Road (picture above).  Paul raved about one guy’s in particular.  “You’re going to love them.  They’re better than sex,” he joked.

There weren’t many people out at 3 a.m. since most places were shut down already — just a handful of Thai prostitutes, “ladyboys,” and drunken backpackers.  While waiting for chocolate banana pancakes, we befriended Billy, a hipster-type from Melbourne who had just arrived in Bangkok earlier that evening.  She was surprised how trendy the backpacker scene on Khaosan Road had become.  Paul said he remembered years ago when it was all grungy backpackers in hiking boots and the like, but now it seemed to all of us that the 2004 backpacker set had “gone metro.”

We walked around with Billy and chat for a bit, passing around a big bottle of Singh beer until we called it a night and head back to the house just before the roosters started crowing.  “How were the pancakes?” Paul asked me.

“Good,” I answered.  “I don’t know if they’re better than sex though.” 

He concurred.


WHEN YOU ARE A BUDGET TRAVELER going around the world, the backpacker scene is inevitable.  Sometimes it can be “Backpacker Hell,” but sometimes, when you’re in the company of good people, it can be a good thing too — better than banana pancakes even.






Next entry: Thai By Night

Previous entry: Mothers




Commenting is not available in this channel entry.

Comments for “All Roads Lead To Bangkok”

  • Ok - I’ve been out of North American / Western culture for the last six years.  What the heck is “gone metro”?

    Posted by Liz  on  11/22  at  08:36 AM


  • LIZ:  “Metrosexuality” is a term that was just getting popular as I left NYC.  I actually haven’t been in the States for most of its mainstream usage, but from what I gather, it’s new slang for heteroguys who are into things that, until the term was coined, gay men were only into (in terms of dress, gagdets, cocktails, accessories, cars, etc.)  i.e.  Hopping in a VW Beetle after working on an iMac all day to go out for cosmos—and still being attracted to woman—is a very metro thing to do.

    I’ve heard “South Park” did a metrosexual episode, but I haven’t seen it.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  11/22  at  10:14 AM


  • The phase was made popular by the T.V. Show “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” Show where 5 gay guys take a straight guy and make him dress with the latest fashion, use skin products on his face and decorate his house etc. etc.  Liz….I am trying to get your dad to go “Metro”  What’s that saying “You can take the boy off the farm, but can’t take the farm off the boy!”  LOL

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  11/22  at  01:01 PM


  • Queer Eye for the Straight Guy is a great program!  There aren’t many episodes available for downloading though.  I’ve now seen them all.  That show is too funny.  Never heard metrosexual mentioned though LOL

    Posted by Liz  on  11/22  at  01:40 PM


  • All Roads Lead to the Kok…
    nice….

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  11/22  at  04:31 PM


  • NYC is like Toronto’s cool, big brother… anything NYC does, we try to emulate. Which means the whole “Metro” thing is big here.

    And you’ve got to see that South Park epp… it was one of the best!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  11/22  at  05:09 PM


  • “Bangkok, capital of Thailand, and capital of 7-Eleven convenience stores”

    I have never heard a more acurate statement.

    On one street, I could see 3 from where I was standing.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  11/22  at  05:17 PM


  • TDOT:  7-Eleven’s are like Starbucks in NYC.  When I want to meet someone at “the Starbucks in Union Square,” I have to specify which one.  (There are three.)

    Who goes “metro” in South Park?

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  11/22  at  05:44 PM


  • Metrosexuals are all the chat here in DC. It’s sweeping down the East Coast.
    My brother-in-law is totally metro, even carries a “man purse”, like on an episode of Seinfeld.

    Must download “One Night In Bangkok” by the Pet Shop Boys, as I find myself singing this in my head while I’m reading your Bagkok posts.

    Posted by HeatherB  on  11/22  at  05:55 PM


  • BELATED DELETED SCENE:  Aviva, Moe, Meg and I (Hong Kong) were walking towards the waterfall on Lantau Island.  It was a great time for me to catch up on fads in the States, being with three transports from New York City.

    “Do guys wear capri pants in the States now?” I asked Moe.  Since I left New York, I’d noticed that guys, mostly European (but some Aussies too), wore pants that were high-cut like “highwaters,” ending halfway down their calves. 

    “Uh, no,” Moe answered.  I recalled how Juan (Valencia, Spain), who had lived in the States for a year or so, noticed the trend and commented on how “metro” it was; although he said he’d never follow the trend.

    “Oh, ‘cause I was wondering if it was a fad that caught on after I left, or if it was just a European thing.”

    “It hasn’t caught on in the States,” Moe said.  “And you know what?  IT NEVER WILL.”

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  11/22  at  05:57 PM


  • go to bryant park on any summer day and you’ll see a good handful of kapri wearing metros…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  11/22  at  06:20 PM


  • HA…oh my wise brother in law…I’m going to have to agree with Moe on that one

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  11/22  at  06:42 PM


  • E: All the guys, except Kyle (even the dad’s).  Kyle, Mr. Garrison, and Mr. Slave go to NYC to confront the Queer Eyes. It’s hysterical!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  11/22  at  06:55 PM


  • Erik,

    Where there a lot of 7 elevens in India?

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  11/22  at  07:15 PM


  • mmmm, chocolate banana pancakes….

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  11/22  at  07:25 PM


  • capri pants + men = just wrong

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  11/22  at  08:35 PM


  • Man, I’ve been in Japan too long… capri pants, man purses… that’s normal everyday fashion for men

    Posted by Liz  on  11/22  at  09:15 PM


  • WARREN:  Not one 7-11 in India… but there might have been a Kwik-E-Mart…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  11/23  at  04:01 AM


  • LIZ:  I take it you’re up to the point where the Goldilocks look is normal too, huh? wink

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  11/23  at  04:23 AM


  • What?  You mean not all dark haired women bleach their hair straw coloured so it doesn’t match their skintone, and put it in ringlettes?  Next you’ll be telling me that putting so much gloss on your lips that it looks like you just stepped off the porno set is also not “normal”.

    Posted by Liz  on  11/23  at  01:01 PM


  • So I noticed this British backpacker on Khaosan Rd. today, wearing regular jeans—but he voluntarily folded them up high to make them capris!  Yup, I don’t see that happening in America… not even by the Fab Five (they would have had them hemmed properly by a tailor).

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  11/23  at  05:40 PM


  • Dude, those Lance Armstrong “Live Strong” bracelets are everywhere - even on a Brit in Thailand… man.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  11/28  at  02:24 PM


back to top of page


SHARE THIS TRAVEL DISPATCH:


Follow The Global Trip on Twitter
Follow The Global Trip in Instagram
Become a TGT Fan on Facebook
Subscribe to the RSS Feed



This blog post is one of over 500 travel dispatches from the trip blog, "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World (Or Until Money Runs Out, Whichever Comes First)," originally hosted by BootsnAll.com. It chronicled a trip around the world from October 2003 to March 2005, which encompassed travel through thirty-seven countries in North America, South America, Africa, Europe, and Asia. It was this blog that "started it all," where Erik evolved and honed his style of travel blogging — it starts to come into focus around the time he arrives in Africa.

Praised and recommended by USA Today, RickSteves.com, and readers of BootsnAll and Lonely Planet's Thorn Tree, The Global Trip blog was selected by the editors of PC Magazine for the "Top 100 Sites You Didn't Know You Couldn't Live Without" (in the travel category) in 2005.


Next entry:
Thai By Night

Previous entry:
Mothers




THE GLOBAL TRIP GLOSSARY

Confused at some of the jargon that's developed with this blog and its readers over the years? Here's what they mean:

BFFN: acronym for "Best Friend For Now"; a friend made on the road, who will share travel experiences for the time being, only to part ways and lose touch with

The Big Trip: the original sixteen month around-the-world trip that started it all, spanning 37 countries in 5 continents over 503 days (October 2003–March 2005)

NIZ: acronym for "No Internet Zone"; a place where there is little to no Internet access, thus preventing dispatches from being posted.

SBR: acronym for "Silent Blog Reader"; a person who has regularly followed The Global Trip blog for years without ever commenting or making his/her presence known to the rest of the reading community. (Breaking this silence by commenting is encouraged.)

Stupid o'clock: any time of the early morning that you have to wake up to catch a train, bus, plane, or tour. Usually any time before 6 a.m. is automatically “stupid o’clock.”

The Trinidad Show: a nickname of The Global Trip blog, used particularly by travelers that have been written about, who are self-aware that they have become "characters" in a long-running story — like characters in the Jim Carrey movie, The Truman Show.

WHMMR: acronym for "Western Hemisphere Monday Morning Rush"; an unofficial deadline to get new content up by a Monday morning, in time for readers in the western hemisphere (i.e. the majority North American audience) heading back to their computers.

1981ers: people born after 1981. Originally, this was to designate groups of young backpackers fresh out of school, many of which were loud, boorish and/or annoying. However, time has passed and 1981ers have matured and have been quite pleasant to travel with. The term still refers to young annoying backpackers, regardless of year — I guess you could call them "1991ers" in 2013 — young, entitled millennials on the road these days, essentially.




Spelling or grammar error? A picture not loading properly? Help keep this blog as good as it can be by reporting bugs.

The views and opinions written on The Global Trip blog are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the official views and opinions of the any affiliated publications.
All written and photographic content is copyright 2002-2014 by Erik R. Trinidad (unless otherwise noted). "The Global Trip" and "swirl ball" logos are service marks of Erik R. Trinidad.
TheGlobalTrip.com v.3.6 is powered by Expression Engine v2.8.1