A few years ago two of my friends, Trudy and Jamie, came to Thailand for a holiday. I went to meet them in Bangkok for a couple of days. What follows is their take on the strange, yet wonderful things that they came across.
1. Tailless cats. They are everywhere in Thailand. The reason is not that the cats have broken their tails at some point, as most people may think, but more probably due to mutation and crossbreeding. Or as my friends proffered, “they may have had an electric shock, from the electricity wires”.
2. Strange people on boat piers. On a boat trip along Bangkok’s canals, we happened to share our boat with a strange dude. He was on his own, nothing wrong with that, but he sat next to me on the boat, and proceeded to talk, and talk, and talk. It was nice to chat, at first, but he felt the need to speak to us, about everything! Don’t you know it’s sometimes nice to just shut up and enjoy the surroundings.
3. Mini Floating Market. On the canal, lurking in wait is a lady in a boat who wants to sell you stuff. Bread (for the catfish), souvenirs, and beer (at highly inflated prices). She always asks if the boat driver wants a beer. I am sure they are working together.
4. Canal Trip. One piece of advice from my friends- don’t do the canal trip after a few beers.
It’s not exactly settling to the stomach.
5. Post Boxes. As part of the canal trip, you get to see some traditional Thai houses, and the people who live there. Some of the houses are nothing more than wooden shacks, and one thing that Jamie was more than bemused about was that some of these shacks had post boxes.
6. Waving Cats. Called Maneki-neko, these little figurines are thought to bring good luck to their owners.
Trudy took an instant dislike to these cats as she thought them a little freaky.
7. Kamikaze Lizards. Cute little animals that are seen everywhere, but tend to dart away if you get too close. However, as Jamie experienced, one such lizard decided to throw itself in Jamie’s general direction, landing on his shoulder.
8. Tesco Lotus. I mean who would expect to find Tesco all the way over in Thailand; Boots, Ikea, and Marks & Spencer. Yep they are all here.
9. 7 11. A handy little corner shop in case you can’t be bothered going to the larger supermarkets. You can choose from any of the five located in the same area.
11. Food. The food, oh the food. Two firm favourites of my friends- chicken with cashew nuts, and the curries. I don’t think they were bothered which curry. All of them!
12. RBV. For those not in the know- Red Bull Vodka. For some reason, if you say Vodka & Red Bull, when ordering, the Thais don’t get that; you have to order Red Bull Vodka. In a bucket preferably.
13. No Health and Safety. My friends witnessed some guys several floors up, on the outside of the building, cleaning windows, with no safety harnesses. T.I.T. after all!
14. Taxi Metres. After a little advice from me, my friends always asked for the metre to be used when taking taxis. If the driver says no, get out and get in a different one.
15. Tuk-Tuk Drivers. Don’t believe them when they say the Grand Palace is closed. It is never closed. My friends didn’t believe them, and enjoyed a nice day out.
16. Deserted Islands. Apparently, when on a boat trip, you shouldn’t fall asleep on a deserted island. I am not sure whether this was Trudy or Jamie, or both of them!
17. Patpong. Be very careful if your curiosity gets the better of you, and you go into one of the many ping pong shows in Patpong. My friends got taken down a dark alleyway into the club, where they bought one drink. Five minutes later they were presented with a bill for 9000 baht. Bangkok can be expensive, but not that bloody expensive. They had watched a couple of shows- all manner of things being shot out over the audience (you will have to use your imagination for that bit). They challenged the bar staff, to which the woman replied “you have seen show, you pay”! They paid 2000 baht and quickly left. So be very, very careful if you find yourself in the same sort of situation. Suffice to say they didn’t leave a tip.
18. Football Playing Elephants. On a lighter note, elephants can play football. And Jamie decided he was going to be the goalkeeper. After trying to save the first ball, and suddenly being in pain, he let the elephants win.
My friends left Bangkok and spent the rest of their holiday on Koh Samui. They thoroughly enjoyed the time they spent in Thailand. They are planning on coming again later this year. I cannot wait to see them, to get more insight into their thoughts.