Day 1 – Departure
I am on my way …first quickly doing a small performance this morning with the Jazz Devas at the Glastonbury Frost Fair …and it felt frosty being on stage…ouch cannot wait to get into the warmth of the sun.. Anyway there was a good crowd – we were the opening act of the Melodrome stage and after the opening words of the mayor of Glastonbury and a lovely Jinglebell song from local musicians – a tribal version of it – we started our show with All right ok you win….and after 25 minutes ended with Ain’t nobody’s business . It felt good – the crowd was singing and swinging their hips – I think we did a nice introduction of ourselves…
After the performance I rushed home, changed clothes and got into my car. I was going to take the train to Gatwick airport where my first flight would depart from to Bangkok via Dubai. In the train I got a bit confused because it turned out that my seat was in the first class compartment. But after a quick moment I sat down with satisfaction knowing my trip started in style. At the airport where I checked in at the Emirates counter – the man looked at my boarding card and checked his screen saying with admiration: you are going on a long journey…and he named all the flights – to Bangkok then to Sydney, then to Christchurch and then back to London..Are you a member of our Skywards club he asked, of course I said…you could already qualify for Silver when you arrive in Dubai to change over to Bangkok…well that sounded good although with 1.5 hour time to change I do not think I can enjoy that Silver privilege..maybe in Sydney then….promises, promises…I have not even left the UK yet..
Day 2 – Sawadee – Welcome in Thailand
How comfortable was the flight with Emirates – their plane was amazingly nice and even the turbulence felt smooth. It was like sailing through the air… It seems the deluxe travel continues as I have manifested.. I had to transfer in Dubai – such a big airport and the skyline of that city with all these high and sleek buildings, very impressive. Would I go on holiday there? No, as I feel that city is a make belief, not authentic city with too much focus on money and status. I prefer a genuine British or Dutch landscape where nature is in charge. On the plane to Bangkok I sat next to a woman from Acra – Africa – she told me that she was on her way to a week workshop about water management and projects, for an organization that is based in the Netherlands. The Dutch and water – a golden combination. I was impressed by this young woman and her knowledge about the work she does, she is an inspiration.
I arrived in Bangkok, tired and jetlagged already. I did not have much sleep as I am terrible with sleeping on a plane. The public taxi system is very organized – you get a ticket with a lane number and your taxi is there. My taxi driver was called Singh, a very pleasant and friendly young man with good English. We talked a bit about Buddhism and he told me that as a kid they have a lot to do with Buddhism but then when he grew up it faded. He was no an active Buddhist but still respected this religion. The hotel Rambrutti Village Inn is located in the middle of the old town of Bangkok in a courtyard of a small and busy street with lots of restaurants, street carts, bars and massage places. Colourful lights were hanging from the trees and you could fee a buzzing atmosphere. After checking in, I had some noodles on a terrace and watched all the tourists go by ..they are many and from everywhere enjoying the good life. So I followed their example and got a foot massage of an half hour for only 4 pounds…good night.
Day 3 – Bangkok
The airco was very noisy but I still managed to fall asleep and woke up at 4 am..wide awake, jetlag. Reading a book for an hour helped and I went back to sleep – I could hardly get up after a good sleep, because I was still on UK time. Breakfast..slowly…fruits, eggs, rice, noodles and more, plus a coffee to finish it off. Yes, definitely feeling better. Now it was time to wait for my friend Carole who was flying in from the Netherlands. I had arranged Singh to pick her up. They almost missed each other but luckily it went well and I could greet her an hour later at the hotel. I have known Carole for years, we met at a musical we were doing in the Netherlands and became friends. She is a jazz singer too so later we were together in a jazz band called Misbehavin – sounds familiar people of Glastonbury? I exported the band name to the UK..and now it is called Miss Behavin..almost the same.
After she checked in we decided to go on the roof top and jump in the pool..lush.. and refreshing. A good lunch was the next step and we ended up in a nice little court yard at one of the most famous shopping streets of Bangkok. An ok lunch but not too impressive, the Thai restaurant in the nearby town of Glastonbury is much better. Most of these places in that area have lost their Thai authenticity unfortunately – spoiled a bit by the tourists. We did manage to find a proper Thai food place with plastic covers on the tables and bright neon light.. perfect and cheap. After that we went into a Jazz Café, called Jazz Happens and were surprised by a good performance of a Thai jazz band with a very good transgender singer. To finish off this perfect evening we had a massage done, yes another one, but this time I had my back and shoulders done and boy did she put pressure on those knots and tensions in my body. It was almost torture, but I knew I needed it because I needed to release stress. So now I will sleep so well.
I did not sleep well at all…I could not get to sleep and in the end I only got a few hours of sleep, jetlag is a bitch. I already felt that due to changing all the time from the air conditioning to the warm weather, my cold was getting worse so all in all I felt exhausted. Nice start of the holiday. I did manage to get up on time and have our breakfast. Then we walked to the temple nearby which we wanted to see. A beautiful big Buddha temple with an enormous hall with big Buddha statues, quite impressive. Offerings could be bought like flowers and incense and people were seriously praying to the Buddha. I am always in awe when coming into a spiritual place, I feel the love and dedication of people praying here but also their concerns and worries. It felt a bit awkward taking pictures so we tried to do this respectfully. After we left the temple we were on our way to find a tuktuk, the famous Bangkok open taxis to go to the Royal Palace. According to the tuktuk man the palace was not open, why not instead take a boat ride for 1 hour passing the palace, a temple and a floating market. After some haggling over the price, which later I realised was still too high, we got into the tuktuk and were taken to the river. There we had our private longboat with an extreme big engine on the back and we went over the wild and wide river, bumping over waves that other boats caused. It was kind of fun and we saw something of the palace and the big temple but we realised it would have been better to visit them. Then we turned into a more quiet canal and suddenly 2 little boats with some wares to sell came by our boat trying to sell us something and calling out floating market! Carole and I looked at each other and laughed out loud as we realised that this was the floating market…2 boats. We imagined something else but it was funny in a way. The rest of the boat ride was fine but not major adventurous and we had to get back to the hotel to meet Singh our taxi driver who was going to take us to Pattaya. I felt even more exhausted by then and took a nap during the taxi ride of over 2 hours. When we arrived at the apartment building we could not believe our eyes: the location was quiet, it had a wonderful swimming pool and a private beach. Once inside the apartment, we were astounded even more as it was so deluxe and were in joy about the jacuzzi and the wonderful view from the balcony to the sea. I realise that my first class experience on the first day was indeed continuing. Apparently the Prime Minister of Thailand also has some apartments in the same building. Carole said it was strange that nobody was using the pool or the beach – no other guests were around, just staff. It seems they only come sometimes or hardly at all, a bit extravagant I say. Anyway – an early night and hopefully some more sleep.