One night in Bangkok

A man is hurriedly unplugging his kettle; he is wearing cheap white hotel slippers over black socks. Now he is curling up in a ball on the floor holding a pillow over his head, to be honest he looks a bit annoyed about the whole affair. In the previous scene a woman had written SOS in lipstick on her window and waved a hand towel half-heartedly towards a retreating camera as it panned away from the skyscraper signifying her plight, and presumably her ultimate death, she didn’t look best pleased either. This has to be the worst film ever made; perhaps even worse than Gigli. Oh no, it  now appears that this is the hotel channel and this is perhaps the worst safety film ever made, it’s still not as bad as Gigli, but at least I have an idea what to do in the event of earthquake or fire, though sadly I have no lipstick.

Yesterday was a funny old day.

As I was ‘competing’ in the Yangon 10km race a monk filmed me on his iPhone, I shouted Mingalaba as I ran past (one of only two words I can actually accurately say in Myanmar) he smiled, I waved, he waved back and carried on filming me, I imagine he showed it to his monk mates back at the monastery, they probably laughed, it’s more than likely on YouTube now. After I had finished I managed to chat to the two Kenyans who’d just come first and second in the marathon, they were quite surprised to find themselves being interviewed in poor Swahili by a sweaty Muzungu in Myanmar.

Later, like a working mother leaving her children at nursery for the first time I guiltily distracted my dogs with food whilst I slipped out of the gate and onto a plane to Bangkok. Within minutes of landing I am politely apologising to an old lady for my lack of interest in the  ring binder full of pictures of naked women she enthusiastically presenting to me, and then politely declining her suggestion that I follow her down a garishly illuminated street on the promise of getting me a “very good deal”. I wanted to say to her “I get my kicks above the waistline sunshine” but I wasn’t sure she’d get the 80’s musical theatre reference. I did however eat some magnificent noodles with splintered chopsticks from a squeaky polystyrene plate at the side of a busy Bangkok street as I watched her determinedly and quite successfully conducting her business. I even found a suitably dirty bar to catch the final minutes of Liverpool getting beaten by lowly Oldham Athletic, which of course only added to the strangeness of the whole day.

I’m in Bangkok primarily to get a new Myanmar Visa, though I also took the opportunity to spend this morning having a Thai dentist tell me repeatedly what a bad state my teeth were in and made me promise not to visit any Turkish dentists in Dar es Salam ever again. After several hours of sweaty stumbling around, narrowly avoiding getting run over by neon-lit Tuk-Tuks all blasting out Gangnam Style, bumping into people and generally getting in the way I found myself struggling to cross a busy road surrounded by a forest of legs, legs attached to the most ridiculously gigantically beautiful women I’ve ever seen, all made even taller by the 20 inch heels they were wearing, I had a childish instinctive urge to reach up and hold one of their hands as we crossed together. I didn’t.

I remember Murry Head once telling me, “One night in Bangkok and the world’s your oyster”,well that might be the case, but he never mentioned the traffic, the people, the fumes, the enormous transvestites, the pimping grandmothers or the safety videos, and he said nothing about unplugging your kettle in the event of an earthquake. So as much as I respective his constructive and positive attitude towards this vibrant capital city, and his contribution to musical theatre I think I’m safer here in my room, watching zombie movies, with my pillow over my head, in my slippers.

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