New To The Kingdom

Enquiring at the desk where the TOT[Tourist Authority Of Thailand]was, the jovial bell captain informed us that it was “just a little ways down the street”…

We should have been suspious, this was the same bell captain the previous evening that told us the great restaurant across the street[the street being the MASSIVELY wide Rama 4]was “just a little ways down the street”, we waited for the traffic to clear up, I was ambulating on my Canadian forearm crutches, since trying to hope the almost 1′ high sidewalk there in my wheelchair would be dangerous as best, stupid atleast, we waited about 20minutes, the traffic never slowed or cleared enough that an Olympic sprinter could have made it across that maze of high speed congestion without losing atleast a few toes…we finally gave us, returned to the hotel, where I unwisely ordered some type of fried eggs, but darling Patty ordered the noodles and was delighted!

Anyway, we made it out of the Malaysia Hotel, heading towards TOT, we have good assurance that it was nearby. After several kilometers, we asked a few of the locals how far TOT was…they ALL said “just a little ways down the street”, another 3 kilometers in the noon day Bangkok sun & humidity was all I could manage, we finally let one of the many TukTuks take us the “little way” to TOT, it turned out to be another mile!

TOT was extremely helpful however, they had thousands of leaflets and brochures of the Land Of Smiles, we were particularly interested in the southern Isle Of Phuket. It seemed to be something out of a south pacific dream.

Wisely TukTuking back to the hotel, were able to get a “deal” there on the scenic bus trip south to Phuket the next evening.

The humidity and heat had taken my health without much bother, we retreated to the air conditoned slumber of the coffee shop where an assortment of backpapers, expats and their “friends” carried on to an ever blaring theme of disco music and loud noise in general.

Looking over the many brochures filled our eyes with delight for the next days scenic journey!

Being an extremely slower learner, I once again ordered the mystery eggs, while dear Patty wisely ordered the delicious noodles.

We put up with the screeching elevator back to our suite, playing tag with misquitos for several hrs, we finally passed out.

The constant knocking on the doors at all hrs were never answered, we just snoozed til dawn, when the busboy managed to tip over a heavily loaded cart full of dinner dishes, right in front of our room, as he delivered the Milo and mystery eggs & noodles for breakfast.

We delighted reading the Bangkok Post that morning, a truely FINE world class newspaper, in particular we liked reading Crutchly & Trink columns. The large lizard had worked his way from behind the toilet once again to his enclave in the bathtub, my crutches made him retreat, hissing and screeching back to the safety behind the toilet once more, the shower was interesting, if you were able to dance and whirl around like a dervish, then you could barely connect with the few water droplets that tried to drip out of the clogged and limed up shower head, I finally gave up, sticking my head under the tub faucet, it had almost twice as much flow as the shower head, and it only took 15minutes to get that swell hotel soap out of my eyes.

We lazed around the room, reading the Bangkok Post til checkout time, then receded to the coffee shop for yet more mystery eggs[did I mention I don’t even like eggs?]and noodles with Greenspots!

Our time to depart was near, we got a TukTuk to the big bus terminal, the driver as death defying as the taxi drivers had earlier been, we knew they probably went to the same learn-to-drive academy! He swerved, jerked, and jostled the TukTuk constantly honking his horn as lesser vehicles and those on bicycles, barely dodging GIANT buses and often managing to be behind surfurious exhaust of trucks for most of the way, but, he finally slide into the big bus terminal, it seemed that the entire country was there, either getting in or getting out of the hundreds of buses.

The friendly driver told us the bus in front of us was the “express bus” to Phuket. We happily paid him, went to get into the bus, when a hand reached over my shoulder and grabbed me…I turned quickly, expecting the unexpected, when I saw this lovely Thai lady, a cross between Tina Turner & Mae West, saying “You Go Phuket”? to be continued…

5 responses to “New To The Kingdom

  1. The sordid Malaysia Hotel, thats claims near- legendary statis! Could write up a whole blog on that place.

    Unfortunately, another near-legend, Bernard Trink, is no longer with us after he was kicked out of the Bkk Post after over 30 years of writing there. I wan’t much of a fan of his because of his repititious goings-on about the bar scene life. But, i gotta give it to the guy, he wrote some great stuff! He is missed by a lotta people.

  2. A lovely Thai lady who was a cross between Tina Turner and Mae West? Uh-oh. I’m thinking the “lady” part of that equation is going to be missing once this story does continue.

    The Malaysia Hotel, infamous place though it is one of the many Bangkok places of lore that people who have been here for a long time point at and say “That used to be a fun place”. Think there’s not much doing there now. It’s in the terrible “Soi Ngam Duplii” area if I remember correctly, really the land that time forgot and not in a good way.

    Steve, looking forwad to that blog of yours on the Malaysia hotel! When can we expect it??

    Nice compliments on the Bangkok Post. Do you still feel that way? Anyway, to follow up Steve’s comment, the ex-pat community’s “other” page, which was the Monday “Farang Affairs” one in the Nation, is also no more.


  3. The idea of distance (space) changes with the concept of time (how much you think you have). The distances for people in the villages are always shorter than those in the cities… I know this well whenever we go for trekking. “its just next door” means one full hill up and down!!

  4. Yep –


    Same thing where I grew up in Alabama, theres a mile and then there’s the ‘country mile’ which is usually way longer than a regular mile ‘by a stretch’ and always measured with landmarks like the ‘fork in the road’ to ‘over yonder in the next holler’ although hollers are more common in West Virginia than flatland Alabama.

    Bangkok, like everywhere else, is bound to have it’s own version of a what is ‘glai’, ‘glai, glai’ or mai glai (falling tone).’

    It’s all the same as a ‘country mile’ which really just means what the local folk are used to unlike farang guests in town 😉


  5. Probably the most famous part of the Malaysia Hotel was their infamous bulletin board which was mentioned in the Lonely Planet guide and achieved some sort of unique fame as the most notorious board in all of Asia for backpackers heading from Europe to Australia via Kabul, Kathmandu and Kuta — the big three Ks.

    It’s no longer there, and the Malaysia now seems to be a gay pickup scene, but in it’s day, it was among the most famous backpacker hotels in all of Asia. I’ve stayed there for several months, and the stories.