Day 44: Lighting The Way

Again, we were woken up in gangnam style at nine thirty a.m., only this time instead of checking out we were going for breakfast. We crawled out of bed, put on our clothes, and very slovenly made our way to the ground floor. When we reached the bottom, we were told the breakfast bar was on the eleventh floor, so back in the lift we went and rode as high as the elevator would take us. It was a buffet style restaurant and we ate on the roof top garden area. It was nice to eat and enjoy a view, I don’t think I had ever done that before. We could see all of the old city which made for an unusual sight because all the buildings were the same height, as when it was first constructed the buildings were designed to be no higher than three stories tall.

After eating we returned to our room where Sarah slept, and I watched some tv. The strongest man competition was being aired on one of the channels, which is always entertaining to watch as it’s not everyday you see men lifting cars with their bare hands. I bet they wouldn’t struggle with the ten kilo dumbbells our hotel had to offer. During Sarah’s nap, she was disturbed by repetitive load bangs outside, coming from several balloons which were letting off fireworks as part of the Loy Krathong festival. Through facebook I learned that Brandon was coming to meet us at two pm in our lobby. Given that it was only half past twelve it was lucky that Ironman was on another channel, this helped waste the remaining time. We both quickly showered before meeting Brandon and Corey and then the four of us went for food around the corner. We found a nice restaurant that sold traditional Thai food, here, I had a large meal like I would back home. I ordered half a chicken and a large bowl of egg fried rice, which also came with chicken. After we sorted the bill we left to visit a mall we had passed on the way.

It was only three of us that visited the mall as Brandon left to go for a walk. It didn’t have much to offer, other than a dairy queen (this was an ice cream/ smoothie bar, which Corey knew of from back home in America) and an Apple reseller store. At one point we got lost within the walls of the retailer labyrinth, but after asking an employee we were back on track (it’s strange, it’s only in Asia that we are so easily able to get lost in shopping centres). On our way out we had a brief look in the Apple store because I was (and still am) contemplating buying an iPhone 5, however, at a price of five hundred – six hundred pounds, it takes some consideration. When we were done Corey went back to his motorbike, and we agreed to meet up with them at their hostel that evening. This time we’d find it for sure as Corey gave us a business card before we returned to our hotel.

We were only in our room for an hour before we walked to DeeJai guesthouse. It was a lovely looking resort and had a very mellow vibe to it. Seeing as the pair of us had no accommodation the following night we enquired about availability. Luckily, they had a room for two and we were given a ten percent discount, making our stay four hundred baht per night. We paid in advance then joined both Corey and Brandon for some drinking games, during which time our friend Tim (who we met at Darling) joined us. After the alcohol was gone, we were set to leave for the lantern festival. In the lobby we met three more American people, Kaylee, Gary and Amy, who invited us to join them in their taxi to the main bridge. During our ride, we passed several “karaoke” bars. These are seedy looking buildings, with goups of girls wearing provocative clothing stalking around outside. Initially, we were told it was innocent, and was a place you could go to sing with a girl of your choice. However, when we asked our taxi driver about it, he told us in broken English, “you go there for song and sex,” and that answered that, no wonder it looked so debauched.

Eventually we made it to the bridge to find thousands of people with their own lanterns, some of which had writing on for loved ones, or of bad memories/deeds to be sent away. All of us took it in turns to light ours while others would take photos. Each group had three each, Sarah and I wrote a merry Christmas for friends and family back home, as well as a little message to say we love and miss each and everyone of y’all. The night sky looked like the scene from the Disney movie tangled, with thousands of lanterns dancing together as they waltzed their way to space. The evening was clear and was much more impressive than the previous night because so many more people came out to celebrate. When all of our lanterns were gone, Sarah decided she didn’t have a good enough photo of us holding one, this meant we had to search for somebody selling them so we could do it again. We wrote on this one also, this time including some R.I.P for lost loved ones, when it was set away and Sarah was happy with the pics we walked to the market for food.

I chose a pad Thai which turned out to be quite spicy and some corn on the cob. We took our food to go and headed in the general direction of some bars. We made our way through the seedy red light district again until we reached the main strip of bars. We visited the roof top bar (a place we had been once before), however, this time it didn’t have the relaxed atmosphere it once had, as it was rammed with people, there was hardly any room to breath. After having only one drink there we decided to leave, in search of this illusive night out Brandon and I were so desperate to have. We drunkenly caught a red truck to the main bar area, it turned out, Sarah and I had both been there before, after we had our cooking lesson. I find it very difficult to let myself go when it comes to drinking here, it’s easier back home as you know the policies and laws so you can be a drunken idiot, whereas in Asia I am always aware on some level that if I get too drunk I could end up offending someone or get myself arrested. We stayed out until quite late. When we inevitably called it a night, everyone sorted themselves out with lifts via tuktuk. I think it was around two a.m. at this point, so, before returning to the hotel, Sarah and I walked to the nearest seven eleven. Here, I pigged out and purchased, a mini pizza, two toasted sandwiches, some chicken bites, a drink, and some chocolate. We then caught a ride with a very friendly, and reasonably priced tuktuk driver who dropped us at the entrance to our hotel. I ended up extremely messy after the ride, as the whole time I munched on my microwaveable feast, while trying to drunkenly hold on for dear life (and they say men can’t multitask). With a t shirt covered in alcohol and food stains we both returned to our room, having had the illusive great night out escape our grasp once again.

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