Day 3: TukTuk The Piss!

One a.m., two a.m., three a.m., do you notice a pattern here? This was how our first restless nights sleep went, we would constantly keep waking up each hour on the dot, yet, somehow, when the clock rolled around to five a.m., the next thing we knew, it was eleven o clock in the morning. At this point, we decided to rise, like a couple of phoenix from the ashes, and seize the day.
First port of call, Sarah wanted some coffee, however, we were too late making it downstairs, but, that didn’t stop Sarah from getting what she yearned for, as, the receptionist was kind enough to allow her a cup, I swear, Sarah’s blonde hair mystifies the people of Thailand, as if it were the golden fleece from Jason and the Argonauts. When Sarah finished her drink, we headed off to the docks, which we were informed of by Mandy, to catch a boat up river to dirty Khoa San Road, “holla city of squala!”. Unfortunately, for money, but fortunately, for educational purposes, we ended up on a tour boat. Which, unlike normal boats, that take you directly to your destination, has a man on board with a microphone, that pours information into your brain about every temple you float past. It turned out to be helpful though, as, it narrowed down the temples that were best to see.
Upon arriving in Khoa San, we began making our way down the street outside of the dock, where we were collared by our very first tuktuk driver (a tuktuk, for those who don’t know, are irritating mini taxis, in the form of a chicken chaser style vehicle, they get their names from the sound the engine makes, and you constantly get harassed by these in certain areas). Again, fortunately and unfortunately, there was a local teacher passing at the time, who spoke perfect English, he noticed we were carrying a map and camera, he then informed us of a good market, some good temples, and, how the tuktuk’s fuel supply is paid for by the government, that’s why it’s cheaper to travel via tuktuk than taxi. What he failed to tell us, was, after each destination you want to go to, you will be taken to one of three destinations, a tailor, a jewellery store, or a tourist information centre.
So, for a price agreed upon before climbing into the tuktuk, of twenty baht, off we went to our first of many bloody temples, I don’t want to sound like a typical British tourist here, but, I don’t know how many times you can look at different temples before they all start looking the same. For me, it was somewhere around, eight to ten. I began thinking like a pessimist, one thought was, “oh great, another bloody Buddha statue, laced in gold flakes, surrounded by a huge monument with a ridiculous amount of steep steps”, (I’m six foot fives inches tall, and even with my long, gangly legs, found it hard going to climb, so, I have no idea how the Buddhist monks managed thousands of years ago, they probably only stood around five feet back then).
When we arrived, we had to pay an entrance fee of forty baht each, we then proceeded through a big archway to look at the places of worship, there were a couple of buildings at our first stop, and, before entering each one, you had to remove your shoes/flip flops, as a sign of respect to their beliefs. Inside, each one was decorated with a golden Buddha, standing around ten feet high, and, had smaller duplicates surrounding it. The walls were plastered with wallpaper containing golden images (of what, i cant quite recall), and hanging from the walls, were murals, depicting stories of Buddhist history.
As we made our way to the second building, we noticed two monks, one of which was playing on his iPhone. Sarah and I, were always under the impression that monks gave up all physical possessions, before committing to their lifestyle choice. Obviously, we were wrong. After leaving our first temple, we hopped back on to the tuktuk, ready to head to our next destination, but, we were kind enough to sit and wait, whilst our driver went to the toilet. It was here that we met another local, who, told us about the tailors of Bangkok, and, how the made to fit suits they make are Armani, but without the price tag (I didn’t know how true the story he told was, but, he continued to tell us, because of the cheap labour in Thailand, the suits are low in cost, and, it’s only when the suits reach countries like America, that they stick an Armani label on it, causing the prices to soar to extremes of two thousand plus dollars).
Back from his toilet break, ironically, and, unbeknownst to us, our tuktuk driver escorted us to his location of choice, this transpired to be the exact suit shop the local guy was telling us about. After being asked to enter, we made small talk with the tailor, and, respectfully declined his offers. When we were free of the awkward situation, it was off to another temple, followed by two more tuktuk choices, a jewellery store, and a tourist information centre. It was here that we paid a rather expensive fee, of eleven thousand baht (around, two hundred and twenty seven pounds), to eleveate us of any problems, and, aid us in our journey to Chiang Mai, for this price, we also got a few day trips thrown in for good measure.
Finally, after being driven all day, we arrived in Khoa San (a place rich with market stalls, bars, restaurants, suit peddlers, and, bloody tuktuks). Our first priority, was to scout out the location of our next hostel, which we achieved promptly, followed by an evening meal, during which time, we made a Skype call to Sarah’s sister. Lastly, we noticed the time was half six in the evening, and, the last boat home ran at seven p.m. We made it to the boat in good time, and, headed back to hotel chilli, where, we’d rest our heads for one final night, before heading off to the debauched Khoa San Road the next day!

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