I set my alarm for 7.10 this morning to ensure that I was awake with plenty of time to allow for cleansing, a spot of breakfast and reach the New Road Guest House which was close to the hostel by 8.45, this where a small group was meeting before heading off at 9 for a tour of the backwaters of Bangkok.
I didn't sleep.
At 6.30 I switched off my alarm and listened to a little music before getting up and running through my pretour checklist and then made my way to the meeting point where I arrived at 8.55. Bit of a close call.
To say it was a small group would be pretty accurate, but the other 3 already knew each other so I was the outsider. They went out of their way to ensure I didn't feel that way though. There was Christian and Anne-Marie, a brother and sister from Germany and their friend from China who's name eluded me at the time, and still does now.
After a small walk we reached the pier where our narrow boat was waiting to take us along the angry looking Chao Phraya River. These boats were not built with 6ft plus people in mind and as I clambered onboard clumsily and strapped on my life jacket, i wondered if it was only me who was doubting their decision to book up.
After a relatively short and choppy ride up river we waited and cooked briefly in the still air as the lock gates that contol the level of the backwaters were manipulated to let us through. After which we were into canal territory and the life jackets were no longer required. This meant that I could breath again and enjoy the rest of the tour which took in religious temples, riverside art centres and flower farms before finally leaving us at Wat Arun to make whatever we chose of the rest of our (by now bloody hot) day. The others chose to climb the temple, I chose not to. So I wished them well and told them if they survived the climb in that heat, I would buy them a beer if I saw them again. I hope I do.
So leaving them behind I caught the ferry back across the river before trying to get hold of a map, I had left mine at the hostel. I was offered a ride in a Tuk Tuk to the shopping area in Siam Square where the driver would wait for me, then take me to an other temple which, luckily for me was only open Saturdays (joy) before then delivering me to my base of operations in Silom for 60 baht. Explaining that I wasn't a gullible twit I insisted that I didn't want to do all the other running around so the price then jumped to 400 baht for what was a shorter and more direct trip. Nothing fishy there then I thought and explained that in my own way for them by getting out of the tuk tuk and walking off. I had seen they guys map that he had been writing prices down on, and that's all I needed.
I walked back to the riverside and caught one of the river boats back down river to an area where I could jump on the BTS sky train, Bangkoks direct rail system which would take me close to where I would be staying this evening. Total price of ferry and train, 43 baht. Tuk tat unt party.
Walking back things went a little "hangover 2" with a little guy offering me "ladies", "something else maybe" whilst imaginarily sniffing something off the back of his hand, and "weeeeed?"
Why the hell would I want to sniff something inaginary off the back of a weird little guys hand?
That's just pushing it, even for here....