Bangkok – A tale of two taxi drivers

Photo of Bangkok – A tale of two taxi drivers 1/4 by Ben Hunt & Rach Redmond
Photo of Bangkok – A tale of two taxi drivers 2/4 by Ben Hunt & Rach Redmond
Photo of Bangkok – A tale of two taxi drivers 3/4 by Ben Hunt & Rach Redmond
Photo of Bangkok – A tale of two taxi drivers 4/4 by Ben Hunt & Rach Redmond

We landed in Bangkok after a 16 hour journey that included two curries courtesy of Air India, numerous Bloody Marys and the sum total of 3 hours sleep between us. Rach achieved a respectable two hours; I got one. Mainly thanks to the guy sat behind me on the plane using his ginormous sausage fingers to treat the touch screen in my headrest like a particularly rusty typewriter.

 After ten minutes I thought he would wear himself out. After twenty minutes it became apparent he would not and by then I had decided that I was too polite (too English) to say anything. Which is how I found myself face down on my food tray listening to Chariots of Fire for two hours. Excellent soundtrack, by the way.

So we arrived at Bangkok airport somewhat tired, smelly (well I did, Rach cannot generate body odour), and disorientated. Having collected our baggage, we stepped outside. Bangkok is hot. And humid. We felt as if someone had wrapped us in a thousand duvets.

Fortunately there is a very efficient and easy to use system for getting a taxi outside the airport. We immediately got it wrong. On our second attempt we showed an extremely happy taxi chap our hotel address and name. He loaded our bags into the back of his taxi. He double-checked the address. He asked me if I had the telephone number of our hotel. I did not. He unloaded our bags back onto the pavement.

A helpful lady at the service desk found the telephone number for our hotel and we found ourselves in our second taxi. This taxi chap was a different kettle of fish. No smiles, all business. He drove us out of the airport and pulled in two minutes down the road. He stared at the address we had given him. He studied the telephone number. He called the hotel. Rach and I nodded to each other, despite our tired brains we knew that this was our man. He politely informed us that the telephone number was not recognized and confidently drove us into the night.

It was a very uneventful drive through heavy traffic into Bangkok old town, punctuated by just one traffic jam. During this jam our driver took a gulp of water, opened the car door, spat the water onto the road and then let rip a prodigious burp. He delivered us safe and sound to the hotel 15 minutes later. I liked him.

Casa Nithra is a wonderful hotel. We were welcomed like royalty, and given a cold flannel at reception along with something sweet and mysterious to drink…at least, we hope it was something to drink. Too late to worry about that. They checked us in and upon entering our room we performed a celebratory dance. Next came showers, a couple of beers from the mini bar and sleep.

Lots of sleep. We calculated 15 hours. Obviously we were exhausted from the journey. Or the celebratory dance. Either way we awoke still feeling a little spaced out and so decided to go for a stroll to Khao San Road to buy ourselves some more appropriate footwear (walking shoes, plus long journey, plus 30 degree heat equals foot fromage). Some beach sandals for the gentleman and fake Birkenstocks for the lady. Khao San Road and the surrounding streets is the backpackers area in Bangkok. You can buy everything you need for your travels here; shoes, hats, Arnold Schwarznegger t-shirts, tour tickets, booze, a scorpion on a stick and live snakes…you name it, you got it. And it is hectic, even by day. Taxis, tuk tuks, scooters and motorbikes zoom around. Fortunately Rach has the reflexes of a cat on red bull and saved me from getting run over a few times.

After our excursion we jumped in the rooftop pool, which had a swarm of dragon flies zipping around it, and enjoyed a mojito with views over Bangkok. This is the life. We rounded off our day with dinner at the hotel as a final treat. I couldn’t honestly say I remember the names of the dishes we had but it was all fantastic, possibly the best dinner I’ve ever had. Beef in some kind of delicious sauce, prawns (massive prawns!) in some kind of delicious sauce, duck in some kind of…you get the idea.

Full, happy and sleepy again we retired to bed. Rach pointed out that I had been saying “goodbye” in Thai to everyone, all the time, regardless of context. That is the beauty of everyone we have met so far though. Friendly, warm and forgiving of the weary idiot. Tomorrow brings the overnight sleeper train to Chiang Mai!

This post was originally published on EGGSONTOUR.