Day 34: We spent this morning finalising travel plans and accommodation for the next section of our trip. Tomorrow we head to Kanchanaburi, a town about 145km northwest of Bangkok. The town is famous for being the home of the Bridge on the River Kwai, the controversial structure built by prisoners of war during World War II to support the Thai-Burmese railway.
Getting to Kanchanaburi should be interesting – we start by walking to the sky train, then board a ferry, then catch a train from Thonburi station on the outskirts of Bangkok. It will be our first train experience in Asia – thankfully it’s only two and a half hours, so even if it’s hellishly uncomfortable it will still be manageable. Always good to do a test run before planning any longer trips.
This afternoon we headed out for a walk towards the city and checked out Benchakiti Park along the way, a decent sized park with a great lake to walk around. Always good to walk around parks on a weekday – we were two of only a handful of people there.
We continued walking and ended up at Nana. The area is famous for Nana Plaza, which occupies a three-story commercial building and is billed as the ‘world’s largest adult playground’. We had a quick drink in a local bar and sat people watching – and wow, there was certainly lots of watching to do. Although the Plaza itself doesn’t open until 7pm (we were there around 4pm), there was still lots a lot of colourful action along the street.
Bar girls were busy cornering single guys in bars to coerce them into buying drinks or more; sex workers (we think that’s the most politically correct term these days, but could be wrong) were hanging out on street corners touching up makeup and making phone calls; and lady boys (also known as kathoeys) were striding up and down the street in front of us. By 5pm things were really starting to lift off and we’d seen enough – we finished our drink and headed off towards home.
We stopped at the Robin Hood pub on the way back for a beer – an English themed pub with a decent selection of local and international beers. We sat on two stools by the bar and after only a minute or two, the American guy next to us introduced himself and started talking. And talking. And talking.
His name is Peter and we heard pretty much everything about his life (we didn’t get to introduce ourselves or say anything much at all – an incredibly chatty guy). He’s a local writer for an overseas publication; has lived in Bangkok over 15 years; lives in a house with 8 rooms; has been married twice; has a daughter who lives in the US; has had a triple bypass; thinks the worst thing about living in Thailand is that people here don’t speak English; and at the age of 77 told us multiple times that ‘all his parts are in working order’, and he has a date with a Thai girl tomorrow evening. And to top it all off, we even got to see a picture and a video of the girl he’s meeting, and a picture of the wine bar where the action is scheduled to take place. Jim reckons that’s all way too much information. Lil was pretty amused by it all, congratulated him on his working parts and wished him well with his date.
We escaped from the Robin Hood after one beer and headed to our favourite local Japanese restaurant for a quiet dinner. We’ll really miss that place, the food is sensational and the staff are really lovely, it was a great find.
Then we headed home for an early night. Tomorrow we’ll be up early, packing and getting ready to set off on the next part of our adventure.