Oct 4, 2007

Thailand

Here's the account of my first overseas trip! Well sadly though,downside to such an amazing trip is the feeling of having wasted 25 years of my life.I ought to travel much more!

Nok Air is a low cost no frills airline from Thailand, and be warned, its much worse than the worst airline by which you have ever traveled in India.But I guess it doesn't matter when you just have to go there and sleep for 4 hours until you reach your destination.Its a different matter that we all were shit scared when we read the news of some low cost airplane crashing in Phuket and killing all passengers(most of which were tourists) just days before our travel.And Nok Air's funny looking orange,pink,red,green (supposedly cheerful )planes didn't help mitigate the fear.

Tip:All those planning to go to Thailand please go as soon as possible. Looking at the way number of Desi tourists are increasing, Thailand will stop treating you like foreigners soon.And believe me, you don't have much time left.If you want more proof,Nok Air operates on only one international route : Bangkok to Bangalore!

Anyway we reached Bangkok safely.First thing that you see is the grand, beautiful airport!The number of people might be same or even more than a Delhi or Bbay airport, but you don't feel it coz of the sheer size.We had planned to go directly to Pattaya from the airport ( almost a 2 hrs drive). We almost changed our itinerary when we came to know that last two days of Thai Open were in progress with likes of Nadal, Djokovic, Roddick and Ana Ivanovic taking part.Anyway we stuck to our plan because we were not sure of the availability of the tickets and more importantly because nobody could fucking understand English.

Second thing you notice about Thailand is that only females work there! Every showroom, fast food joint,restaurant, hotel, barbershop, medical shop , departmental store has only women employees!What the fuck!? Is it that male/female ratio is extremely skewed .If thats the case I wonder what could be the reason.Was Thailand extremely active in World War 2 , or they had some Pol Potic despot who killed only men or they practise Male infanticide.
Internet confirms that sex ratio is indeed 97/100 and it states the reason as higher life expectancy of females!But come on, even with 0.97 male for every female you gotto see some men working!I think all the men there either drive taxis , play adventure sports or sleep at home( what a life!).

Before I go further with the trip here are some widely held myths about Thailand :
Myth 1:
Thailand is dirt cheap and your travelling cost is only the air ticket.
Truth: Thailand is as expensive( if not more) as India.Ok very high end hotels are cheaper in Thailand but you are anyway not going to stay in those.

Myth 2: You get all sorts of cockroaches, snakes, dogs,earthworms,butterflies and other exotic things to eat in every corner of Thailand.
Truth:We didn't see any snakes or dogs being served in any restaurant. Cockroaches were sold only on roadside shops, but they looked too .. ahem... unhygienic.But I did eat all possible seafood ...oysters,squids, shrimps and fishes!

Bangkok to Pattaya was a smooth 120-130 kmph Camry ride on awesome highway. Thailand has a potential to shock you in every conceivable way.Seriously.Believe me you'll get the feeling of having seen it all after a trip to Thailand.
You must have done this "Height thing" a lot when you were kid.
Much like:
Height of Coincidence: A husband and a wife were married on the same day!
or Height of Minuteness: A pimple on the dimple on the right cheek of an amoeba!
or Height of Heights: Shitting on Mt Everest to make it an inch higher!

Here are two more for you:
Height of Hypocrisy: Public display of affection and nudity is prohibited in Thailand.
Height of Irony: Bands like RHCP, Megadeth, Oasis, Arctic Monkeys,Metallica, Strokes, Placebo tour Thailand very regularly and nobody understands English there!! But then ,as they say Music has no language.

We had an amazing time visting beaches ,speed boating to Ko-Lan island ( where i ate the best/first fish of my life) and underwater diving- Walking on the ocean floor and feeling(ahem) various sea animals was a good experience.The bodyguards had developed a very efficient underwater sign language where they clearly instructed us as to poking which body part of a particular animal will result in being bitten and poking which other body part of the same animal will be a pleasurable experience for you and for it.
Then there was other stuff like Ripley's Believe it or Not Museum! And well obviously you must have heard a lot about the "night life" of Pattaya, but I'll keep the sleazy details out of the this blog(you can read it all over internet, if you are that curious).
The best thing about Pattaya was its Hard Rock Cafe.Ok, as far as ambience and acoustics go , they were pretty impressive, but then in Bangalore I have seen better.But its in-house band (from Phillipines) was simply awesome!They were basically 5 dudes and 1 dudette. And all ..yes all of them could sing..and sing well. AND PLAY WELL.So what happens when you have six different kinds of high quality singers , you get to listen to breathtaking variety of songs. They played everything from Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry to RHCP and Nirvana.The girl even sang Shakira and well it was enjoyable especially with she and many other American females around us showing latino moves.Believe me I have never heard a band do a cover of Bohemian Rhapsody in its enirety and I have never EVER heard a better guitar solo live ( Freebird!!).
The disadvantage of such a good band playing infront of you is that you stay in the cafe from 9.30 P.M. to 2.30A.M. ( yes ! they played till 2.30!! ) and end up spending a bomb( No matter how sexy the waitresses were, they were still pain in the asses ...sir woood u like to eat something ..sir you woant anatha beeeaa...sir we have offa on Heineken... basically you have to order). However,they didn't disturb us much when we went there again next night(yes we went again!!) .
I donno why they opened Hard Rock Cafe in Bbay coz Bangalore is the perfect destination. But then Hard Rock Cafe Pattaya will still be different.Ok picture this:

Hard Rock Cafe Pattaya: Chilled out crowd, chilled out environment,chilled out band,chilled out waitresses and waiters, people dancing and enjoying themselves,everything chilled out..ok except that some transvestite might pester you to dance with her/him, music playing till 3-4 ..whole night.

Hard Rock Cafe Bangalore( which I believe will open by the end of this year): 1000 rupess cover charges,Saturday/Sunday Couple entry, no space to sit if you enter anytime after 7.30 P.M., no space to stand if you enter anytime after 9 P.M. , waiters with ridiculous attitude, band( not even half as talented) with ridiculous attitude,last order at 10.30 P.M., music off at 11 P.M., police entering and pushing people out at 11.20 P.M.

Oh shit, I forgot that this post is not about Hard Rock Cafe, nor its about Bangalore( India) bashing.
Bangkok is like Delhi with its amazing roads and infrastrucure(actually much better than delhi), its like Bombay with its traffic jams(actually even worse than Bbay), and its like Bangalore with its tuk-tuks or autos ( actually much much lesser in number than Bangalore).Oh yes there is skytrain which is much like Delhi's metro, only its over the ground.In Bangkok we behaved like regular tourists, visiting palaces and monasteries.We even took a boat ride in a river that went through the city( a poor man's version of Venice).

Fact 1: Toyota holds more than 90% of the Thai 4-wheeler market. This conculsion is based purely on observation and no secondary research was done.

The malls in Bangkok are MASSIVE...take Forum, which is the biggest mall in Bangalore , multiply it by 10 and you get Siam Paragon/Siam Centre.And they are really posh too.To give you an example a whole floor of Siam Paragon contained only cars..and what cars! We had our photo sessions with all the beauties -Porsche,Ferrari,Lamborghini, Masseratti,Jaguar,BMW, Bentley and what not!!
I wonder where Thai people get all that money. I see them involved in only two professions: Tourism or Idolizing their king.Many websites warned us not to utter a word about their king or else we might get severely beaten.But then Indians are Indians (sorry for generalising) ...we got our kicks by abusing the king in Hindi infront of Thai people(akin Raja C*****). Actually abusing the king in English also wouldn't have caused any problems... but there some amount of risk is involved ( Oh come on you know the general rule.. no matter how fucked up anybody's language vocabulary may be there is a high probability that he knows all the swear words. Take me for example... I can swear in Telugu,Tamil,Bengali,Spanish,French,German and probably Thai)

One of the best things to do in Siam Paragon is Karaoke..and its different than anything you have seen in India. You get a whole room fitted with amazing speakers, LCD T.V.,Karaoke software, amplifiers, microphones, a cool collection of songs and obviously beer. Then you don't have to worry about people booing you or laughing at you. You know that you are in the company of equally pathetic singers( i mean you friends) and you can let go.Well then there was nothing stopping us from singing Hey Jude or We didn't start the fire or Bohemian Rhapsody or even My Humps (:D).
We did some cheap T-shirt shopping after vehement bargaining(or so we think) and got good deals(or so we think).
Finally I can't stop myself from describing the incident which happened on my return flight( same old Nok air where all announcements were made in Thai and some announcements were made in English which was as good as Thai).Anyway my fellow Indian passenger was quite hungry and he called upon an air hostess :

Do you serve meals?
Yes saah we have beeaah ..we have singha beeaaa..we have heineken beeaah
@#$@, I want meal.
Yes saah we have.. we have singha beeaah.. we have heineken...
( I took pity on my fellow passenger . Since till now i was quite conversant with Thai English)
He wants to eat... eeeaat something.
ohh..yes saah... we have cakes, biscuits...
Do you have any meal ?
yes saah we have meaah.. wait.. 5 minutes i'll get you..
(after 5 minutes)
Sorry saah we have run outta meaah
ohh.. what do you have that i can eat
saah... we have cakes, biscuits and saah.. we have very good veg-non veg meaahss...
@#$@@#, what in non-veg meals?
yes sir we have non-veg meaah
what in non veg..? ok get me whatever you have.
ok saah. which beeaah you want?
is beer included in the meal charges.
sir we have singha beeah, heineken beeah...
is it included in the meal charges..?
Yes saah..
ok give me one Heineken
(here again I have to save my fellow passenger's ass. As I was more than aware of Thai English and Nok airways.I tell him it can't be included in meal charges)
Ok then give me only one meal.
ok saah..thank you.

(Now you know what you are up against when you travel to thailand.)

So this was our trip( ok atleast 50% of it ).
For pictures, you have to visit my orkut page :)


5 comments:

Athena at Work said...

I think I will give Thailand a miss now... I neither want to walk through streets/malls with only women working nor do I want to eat the cockroaches with beeah :D

Gaurav said...

You sure did have fun!So where is your next trip ? :)

vivek said...

Well .... as they say .. good boys listen to nirvana and bad boys go to pattaya .... wht are u :) ?

Manan said...

This is a new one :) What I saw on all the T-shirts there was this: "Good boys go to heaven, bad boys go to pattaya." ..choice becomes simpler isnt it :)

abhi said...

Nice...

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