Stickman Readers' Submissions July 28th, 2003

Tales From Thailand But Written In England – The Return, Part 1

Tales From Thailand But Written In England – The Return (Part 1 – Bangkok)

By No1Dejay

Well here I am again. My second trip to Thailand is now over. The second trip was amazing, truly amazing. We did so much more, saw much more, we met new friends, I saw old friends. This is part 1 of my trip which details everything we got up to in Bangkok. Before I get to it, I have written down how things have changed for me and certain things that have happened to me once I got back to the UK after my first trip. For those of you not interested in reading that part, please feel free to skip it, although you will understand my trip report a little more if you read the prologue, not that much more but some of the names in my trip report you will be familiar with. But I will leave that up to you. It is quite long but I hope you stick with it and enjoy it and go on to read part 2 of the report which is my time in Phuket.

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*Some of the names have been changed to protect the privacy of some of the people in this story*

After getting back from my first trip to Thailand on September 8th 2002, the first few weeks were hard. I've had holiday blues before but this was different some how. I didn’t feel depressed, well, I did a little. I didn’t feel as though I wanted to sell everything I own, get a plane ticket and head off back to Thailand to live and work there for the rest of my life, well, I did a little. I felt alive in a way. Not that I didn’t feel alive before, but somehow I felt refreshed, a new person. That freshness was set to continue, never leaving my side. Just like a dog and his master. It was a weird feeling, but something I liked, it was something I didn’t want to go away and as long as I held onto that thought, it would never leave me.

On September 12th 2002 I decided to get myself a mobile phone. I’d always been the kind of person who thought I didn’t need one, if I wanted to ring someone, I’d pick up the phone and call them, I wouldn't need a mobile phone, what was the point? So as I sat there in work sorting out my staff offer O2 contract, those thoughts of why I didn’t need one flew out the window. It was time I embraced the mobile phenomenon. As I was filling out the form, all I could hear was my Dad’s words running through my mind “A mobile phone? Who needs one of those bloody things? Waste of time, and as for those people walking around the streets with them stuck to their ears, they look like idiots, so you can keep you mobile phones and I’ll stick to my cups and piece of string thank you”

The main reason why I decided to get one is because I had these visions of being able to keep in touch with P (the girl I met in Phuket) all the time. We would text each other daily, asking how each other were doing. But as I soon realised, those visions would fall on deaf ears. So I signed my contract, got my phone and sent P a text message.

I heard nothing back, so I sent another one and again and again, but nothing. I was calling P each week, keeping to my promise that I made when I was in Thailand of keeping in touch with her. After sending her about 5 messages, I called her as usual and asked if she'd got my messages and her response was that she didn’t understand. That was the thing, when I called her, I couldn't really have any sort of conversation with her because her English wasn’t good. I didn’t blame her for that, after all, she was from a different country. But still, when I called her, we more or less repeated what we said to each other each week and I was getting a little tired of it. There was only so much I could say to her and her to me.

So what did I do now? Here I was with a brand new mobile phone with the intentions of keeping in touch with P more that way, but it wasn’t working. All I heard when I thought of this was “a mobile phone? Who needs one of those bloody things” damn you dad.

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I was missing Thailand like crazy and wanted to go back as soon as I could. Dave (one of the lads who went with me on my first trip to Thailand) felt the same so a week after getting back when paid a visit to the travel agents to see about flying back there in February. Why February? Well Dave had promised L (the girl he met in Phuket) he would return then. So, I thought why not?

In we walked, full of high hopes and excitement. We sat down and talked to the travel consultant about prices and dates. We wanted to go in February for a week. She typed it all into the computer and told us the prices we would be looking at. After walking in with confident strides and high hopes, we both nearly fell off our chairs when she quoted a price of nearly £800 for a week. We made our excuses and left.

We talked about it once back in the car on our way home and we wondered what we could do. We both wanted to get back but at those prices, it wouldn't be anytime soon, plus we were both working full time and we did have any holiday dates left, at least I didn’t. So I asked Dave if he fancied going in June of 2003, he thought about it for about 10 seconds and said yes. So, it was set, June 2003 we would be back in Thailand.

It was near the end of September and I was sat on the computer looking at travel sites. I got to thinking that I didn’t have any Thai friends. I thought to myself that it would be nice to go back to Thailand with some new Thai friends, but what could I do? Then it came to me, the Internet. Here I was with all the tools I needed to make some Thai friends. I went to the MSN site and started looking up contacts for people living in Thailand. I thought there would only be a few, but as I looked, there were literally thousands. How the hell was I going to manage this? I started looking at profiles and after about 20 minutes, I came across a profile with a picture of two girls, both laughing. I looked at the picture and the girl at the front of the picture had a great smile. So, I wrote to her and told her how I was looking for new friends in Thailand.

I searched though a few more profiles and came across a few that were ok, so I wrote to those as well. It wasn’t just females I wrote to, I also wrote to a couple of males, but one of them thought I was gay and told me in a few simple words where to go, the other actually was gay. So, I decided to just stick to females. I wrote to 5 in all (not counting the two males) and I heard back off all of them. They seemed happy to receive my emails and said they would like to be friends. It was good news to hear, after all, I didn’t want them thinking I was just some weird English guy looking for a Thai bride, which of course, wasn’t the case.

A few weeks passed and so did quite a few emails. One of the girls I was writing to, I didn’t really get on with, and there was just no click there so eventually we stopped writing to each other. The one that stood out the most that was a girl called K. We seemed to get on quite well ad we chatted a little on MSN as well as sharing a few emails. As we got talking and getting to know each other, I thought to myself that she was quite hard to get to know. Whether that was because of the cultural difference or because she didn’t know me, I don’t know. But one day when we were talking on MSN we exchanged mobile numbers and we started to text each other. Finally I had a proper texting friend “mobile phones? Who needs one of those bloody things?” so we texted each other daily and when we were both online, we chatted on MSN. After one of those chats, I realised how hard it was getting to know her, it was weird because usually I have someone figured out more or less straight away. I know whether we will get on and if our friendship will last as I’m a pretty good judge of character. So after chatting to her on MSN, I sent her a text saying she was pretty hard to get to know and I’d love to get inside her mind and see how she ticks. For some reason she took offence to the comment and thought I was being weird. I tried to explain what I meant by it and I thought it worked, but after a few days, we just stopped talking. To say I was confused by it is an understatement.

At the same time I met a Chinese girl here in the UK who was at University, She was called A. We got on really well and then she hit me with it, she told me she was going back to China. I was pretty gutted by this because I really liked her. She was very outgoing, loved the things I loved and we could talk for hours and never get bored. I invited her to stay with me for her last couple of days in the UK and she took up the offer. She would stay at my house and I would take her to the airport to catch her flight back home.

This was at the end of October. The first night she stayed, we ended up staying up all night talking and listening to music. She stayed in my room and didn’t want to leave. I’d made the spare room up for her but she just left her suitcase in there and stayed with me. The next day we spent the day in Manchester and then it was back to my house again for our final night together. She met my family, who adored her. She really made a lasting impression on them and they couldn't get enough of her. That night I taught her how to mix and we had a great time. She gave me a couple of gifts. One was a Fan in a presentation box that she had brought over from China and the other was a set of postcards from the place she lived in, in China. She gave my niece a necklace and my mother a silk shawl.

The next day I took her to the airport. She had the heaviest case on the world, I’m not joking. The weight was unbelievable. When it came to checking in, it was far too heavy and we were told that we would have to pay for the extra weight. We both looked at each other and looked sad. The lady behind the check in desk took pity on us and told us she would let it go. We thanked her and made our way to the main lounge in Terminal 1 of Manchester airport. We waited there, arms around each other until it was time for her to go. Her flight number came up and it was time to say goodbye. We kissed and hugged and said goodbye.

I stood there for a moment, watching her walk through the door to customs. Then I lost site of her. As I walked back to the car, determined not to lose it, I felt a pain in my heart. I realised I’d never see her again. I got in the car and set off for home and I did lose it. Once back home all I could do was lie on my bed with a very deep sadness.

A week later I decided to get it touch with K again. We got talking and texitng again and pretty soon, things were back to the way they were before she told me I was weird. So it was nice because I liked her, we were becoming good friends.

In November 2002 I invited a lad at work to come to Thailand with me and Dave. James agreed and a couple of days later we went down to the travel agents to book it. We decided on 4 nights in Bangkok and 8 nights in Phuket. The holiday for each person came to around £780. We paid our deposits and everything was fine. I rang Dave up a little later and told him I’d booked the trip. He was a little mad because he didn’t have the money to pay the deposit, or, pay for the holiday itself. I told him I’d paid his deposit and he could give it me back when he had it. I also told him that the holiday didn’t have to be paid in full till May 2003. He seemed ok after that.

The other people in Thailand I talked to I was still in contact with. There was N, V and I also talked to L quite a lot. K was the main one I was in contact with though and the others we would just email each other when we had the chance, and also send a text every now and again, but it was certainly not a regular thing. I told K when I would be back in Thailand and we said we would have to meet up when I was there. It would be nice to be able to sit down and have a proper chat with her. Texts, the very odd phone call and the odd email were nothing compared to the face to face experience.

In December I rang P for our usual weekly talk. After the how are you, I’m fine conversation we talked about money. I always said that if she would ever ask me for money, I would turn her down. So, she asked me for money, and I turned her down. I couldn't believe she would even bother asking me, but all the same, she did and I told her no straight away. I said to her that if all she wanted off me was money, then she's met the wrong guy. It would be better for her to meet someone else. Our conversation ended and a day later I sent her a text saying it would be best that we didn’t speak anymore. We were friends and that was all we were but asking me for money was wrong and I didn’t want to speak to her anymore. She didn’t reply back.

A week later she phoned me and told me she was sorry. I said fine and that was that. She also told me she had now left Phuket and was back home in Bangkok with her family. I was happy about the news because it meant she wasn’t working in the bar anymore. How long it would last I didn’t know, but at least she had made the break.

Also in December I met another Chinese girl in Manchester. She invited me round to her flat on Christmas Eve for a meal and in return for that meal, I would fix her laptop. As I drove to her flat, I was as nervous as anything, thoughts running through my mind of “what if I don’t like the meal, I don’t want to offend her” “what if I say the wrong thing” “what if I can’t fix her laptop and look like an idiot” I arrived and she met me outside. We went in and while the meal was still cooking, I had a look at her laptop. Well, I couldn't fix it but I didn’t look like and idiot. She needed a new mother board and hard drive and because she had brought it from my company, I was able to take it into work and arrange for it to be fixed. We had the meal which was gorgeous and we talked for a couple of hours. She made me some green tea which was nice, certainly a lot more different than Tetley's. She told me about China, about her friends, how she liked the UK. We got on pretty well, or so I thought, but it wasn’t to be. I kept her up to date on her laptop and when it finally got fixed I took it round to her and that was the last I saw or heard from her.

In February of 2003 I was told by James that he couldn't go to Thailand with me, he would have to pull out. The reason for this was because of his girlfriend. She could only get time off in July and as he'd promised her they would go away together, he had to go with her. Originally he had planned to take her away in august, leaving him plenty of time once he'd got back from Thailand to save up and have enough money to go away with her. But because of this, and us getting back at the end of June, there was no way he would be able to afford both. So, he pulled out.

Dave had now moved to Wales and I hadn't heard anything off since having the phone conversation about the deposit. So I was starting to get a little worried. Not only had James pulled out, leaving a spare place on the holiday, but Dave had disappeared and if I left it too late and suddenly he tells me he couldn't afford it either, then I would be left stuck. The holiday, regardless of if anyone was going or not, would still have to be paid for. When you enter into a contract like that, you are stuck and the longer you leave it, the more you will have to pay if you cancel.

I decided to ring my friend Neil up and ask him if he'd like to go. He told me that he couldn't afford it either because it was only a few months away and there was no way he could save up that amount of money in the time that he had. I tried calling Dave but with no luck. So I did the only thing I could do and that was go down to the travel agents and see about cancelling. The thought of doing it made me sad. No matter what, I had to get to Thailand that year, even if it meant going on my own.

I went down to the travel agents and told them of the situation. James was losing his £150 deposit and so was Dave because he hadn't been in touch and I didn’t know if he was still going or not. I made the decision then to go on my own, which scared the hell out of me. I've never been on holiday by myself and flying to more or less the other side of the world by myself was scary. I was losing £150 myself here because Dave hadn't given me the money for his deposit which I’d paid. I spoke to the travel agents and told them what had happened. They said to me that if I did go on my own, I’d have to pay extra for the hotels because of the single traveller supplement, which, according to them, would be about £120. So not only was I losing £150 deposit, I would also have to fork out another £120, which means really, I was paying an extra £270. I told them I would come back after work to sort it out.

Walking back to work I was pretty upset. It seemed that everyone had let me down, turned their backs on me and now I was left on my own to fend for myself. When I got back into work, I had my dinner and didn’t really talk to anyone. My manager came in and asked how it went and I told him it wasn’t good. He said it will work out in the end. I started thinking that if I postponed the holiday for another month, maybe Neil would go. I’d asked all my other friends but it was the same thing of not being able to afford it, or their girlfriends wouldn't let them. I rang Neil up and told him the situation and asked if I went in July instead, would he be able to afford it, to my surprise he said yes. I told him I would go in the travel agents after work and get it sorted out and give him a ring and tell him what was happening.

It cheered me up a little hearing he would go. Although by that time I was actually warming to the idea of travelling alone. I saw it as this great adventure where I would only have to answer to myself. If I wanted to go and see something or do something, I could just do it. I went back into the travel agents after work and sorted things out. My deposit was being carried over, but James lost his and they wouldn't change the name on Dave's ticket to Neil's so that deposit was also lost. I decided on exactly a month after the original date of June 7th and now, we would be going on July 7th It gave Neil an extra month to pay for it. The only thing was, because we were travelling in July, which is summer holiday season for the UK, all the flights were much more expensive so the holiday was costing a bit more. Instead of it being £780 it was now, after discount £830. I phoned Neil from the travel shop and he said it would be ok, so, I booked it. On July 7th, I would be finally back in Thailand and I couldn't have been happier.

By April 14th the holiday was paid for. It was out of the way. All I had to do now was wait, count down the months, then weeks, then days. Dave finally got it touch and told he me couldn't got to Thailand. I told him I’d cancelled his place a couple of months ago and he owed me £150, so, a few days later, he sent it to me.

During those months leading up to July 7th I talked regularly to K. Our friendship was building all the time. It wasn’t without problems of course, but for the most part, we got on really well. There wasn’t a day when we didn’t text each other.

As the end of June rolled around, I went to pick up the tickets for the trip. Finally it was here, finally all the waiting and upset earlier in the year was over and here was the proof…the tickets

I told Neil they had come and he was happy. He was really looking forward to the trip and couldn't actually believe he was going, neither could I actually but we were and it was only a matter of a couple of weeks and we would be there. That smell, that heat, the people.

I got in touch with the people I had gotten to know in Thailand and told them when I was coming. They were happy and all of us are looking forward to meeting. I also told P when I was coming, who, believe it or not, is still in Bangkok away from the bar scene and still with her family. It would be nice to think that what I’d said to P almost a year ago, about her life and the advice I gave, had some effect on her and maybe helped her make the decision of getting out of the bar scene and out of Phuket.

I will be meeting up with all of them, K, P, V, N and even L in Phuket.

K asked me where I was going to go in Bangkok and I told her I’d like to see more of the city, as last time I didn’t see anything really, we just stuck to the same places. So she offered to do me a plan. She would put down all the places I wanted to see and also give a few suggestions on what I might like to see and do. She sent me a rough draft of the plan she was making and I was blown away. It was so detailed and so much care and attention had gone into it, I couldn't thank her enough. She really had pulled out all the stops on it. She told me it wouldn't be finished before I left, but she would get it to my hotel for me, bring it herself and that is when we would meet for the first time.

What awaits me when I get there I do not know. What I will see, what I will experience and feel? only time will tell. But I know one thing; I will have a story or two to share.

And here is part 1 of that story.

Day 1 (the flight)

There was a knock at the door. I was upstairs looking through my books, deciding which one to take with me on my trip. It would be a book I wouldn't end up reading, a book that I wouldn't even turn the page of to look at the inside cover.

So this was it, the knock at the door had signalled the start of it, the start of my next Thailand trip. I went downstairs, camcorder in hand recording every moment of it. I opened the door and there was Neil, suitcase and hand luggage in tow. He had a look of excitement on his face. If I could see my own face, I’m sure it would look exactly the same. Well, not exactly the same, we weren't twins after all.

Neil came in and put his bags down and said hello to the camcorder. I asked him how he was feeling “great” he said. I stopped filming and we went into the living room and sat down. In about an hours time we would be picked up and taken to Manchester airport by my sister's boyfriend. I asked him if he wanted a cup of tea, he replied yes. It’s funny how we never ask someone if they would like a glass of milk or orange, it’s always tea.

I made the tea and gave him his and I sat down with mine. “Well, this is it” I said “yep” he replied. The hour we had to wait seemed to go on forever. We were both ready, both eager to start the long journey ahead. It was a journey we had talked and talked about. Me because I had been before, fell in love with the country and the people and couldn't wait to get back, Neil because I had told him so much about it and he wanted to experience and feel the same things as me. He wanted to see what all the fuss was about, and in just over 24 hours time, he would.

Neil asked me if he could borrow a book from me to read on the plane and read when we were out lazing in the sun. I said fine and we both went upstairs so he could have a look and make a choice. After 10 minutes he chose Stephen Kings ‘Dream catcher’ a nice choice if I do say so myself.

It was now July 7th, 3.45 PM and my sister's boyfriend was due to pick us up at that time, but he was nowhere to be seen, so I gave him a phone call. He answered and said he was literally coming up the street; I said ok and put the phone down.

30 seconds later there was the sound of a car horn outside. He was here, his friend was also in the car. I went to the front door and opened it. He got out of the car and Neil and I started to take our bags out. We put them in the boot and said our goodbyes to my mother, niece and nephew. Then we were on our way to Manchester airport.

On the way there Martin (my sister's boyfriend) asked us about Thailand. It was the usual questions of are you looking forward to it? How long is the flight? What time will you get there? What will you do? I gave simple answers to the questions, especially the ones about what we will do. I know K had put some ideas down for us, which we wouldn't get till we reached Bangkok, but that was the great thing about this holiday and Thailand in general, anything could happen and as it turned out, everything did happen.

We got to the airport at about 4.15 PM. Our flight to London wasn’t till 18.45 PM so we had plenty of time to get checked in, chill out and wait for the flight. We got out of the car, got the bags out and said goodbye to Martin and his friend and headed off into terminal 3 of Manchester airport. The airport wasn’t that busy, at least not terminal 3 anyway. We looked for the British Midland check in desk and after a few minutes we saw it. Before we went to it we got out our tickets and passports which were all there. For me when I fly, there is always this fear that I've not got everything with me, be it my tickets, passport or money. I even sometimes think I haven't got my suitcase even though it’s there right in front of me and it’s not something you could ever forget as it’s that big, but still, the fear is there. I think everyone feels the same. That drive to the airport you wonder if you have everything and it always turns out you have, after all, after checking 1000 times before you step out your front door, you'd be an idiot if you actually had forgotten something.

We got sorted and walked over to the check-in desk. A man of about 30 was sat behind the desk and he smiled as we walked over. The kind of smile you know he's done for 8 hours straight and in a way you know it’s a little forced. We gave him our tickets and passport and the first shock of the holiday happened. He told us our 18.45 PM flight to London had been cancelled. We both looked at each other in shock and I’m sure we were thinking the same thing of “oh crap” I had visions of us not getting to London and then missing our flight to Bangkok, but the guy behind the desk turned around and said there was an earlier flight which left in 30 minutes and he would put us on that. We both let out a sigh of relief and he continued to get us checked in and sort out our bags so they would meet us when we landed in Bangkok.

After getting our tickets we walked away. We didn’t know where to go so I just guessed that we would go to the same place I went to last year when we flew from Manchester. That turned out to be the wrong place and security laughed at us and sent us to the right place. We walked through security and into the lounge which had our gate to our flight. There was a handful of people waiting for the flight, mainly business people and others waiting to get home to London. We did a little filming and then it was announced that it was time to board our flight. We went to our gate, showed them our tickets and walked down the runway to board the plane, picking up a copy of the Daily express each from the little stand before you get inside the plane.

Once inside we found our seats, sat down and waited for the flight to take off. I was feeling nervous, not because of flying but because it was the start of the first part of my second trip to Thailand. It was hard to take it, I was actually going, and it was real and not some dream. In about 17 hours I would be there, landing in Bangkok and I couldn't wait.

The plane took off and I asked Neil how he was feeling. It had hit home for him now that it was happening, we were on our way. After 35 minutes we landed in London. We got off the plane and started to make our way to the bus that would take us to the terminal where we would get our tickets for Bangkok. We ended up going down the wrong exit and had to double back and go the right way. The bus ride lasted about 5 minutes and we went to get our tickets. There were a few people in the queue but it was not too bad. We spoke to a nice lady behind the counter and asked her to get us good seats, but there was a problem. For some reason Neil hadn't been booked on this flight from Manchester so it was like he didn’t exist. Panic hit us once more but luckily it was sorted out quickly and she gave us our tickets.

We had a couple of hours to kill before our flight so we had a look around terminal 3. It was weird seeing it again after last year. It was the same, yet at the same time it felt different. I’m not really sure why. There were lots of people around looking in shops, sat down waiting for flights, eating at cafes, drinking in bars. I looked for a smoking room and round one and had a cigarette. Neil chose to wait outside as he's not a smoker. Once I finished I suggested going to a bar for a drink and just having a sit down and a chill before our long and boring flight to Bangkok. We found the same bar I went in last year, but it was different. The bar itself had become longer and there was more seating and a couple of different areas. We found some seats and I went to the bar and got 2 pints of Stella, walked back and sat down. We had a quick chat and I realised we were in the no smoking area. Me being a smoker I couldn't have that so we moved to the smoking area. We found a seat and sat down. I decided to make a phone call to a friend of mine and we had a quick chat which was nice. I told her about the cancelled flight and how I was feeling, I asked her she was. Just a general chat really. After to speaking to her for about 5 minutes we said our goodbyes and that was that. By this time we had finished our drinks and decided to get another from the bar, choosing coke instead of Stella. Neil went to the bar leaving me sat there on my own. There was a couple from Australia sat facing me and to my right was a man from London. I asked him where he was going and he said Thailand. It turned out he was waiting for the same flight as us. I asked him why he was going and if he'd been before and he told me he use to work in Thailand and met his wife there. He worked for a car company and she was the cousin of one of his co-workers so they met while he was playing golf. He told me they had been married for 10 years nearly and had a couple of children. I asked if he was going over to see her and he replied that she and the kids lived with him in the UK and had done for the past 6 years. He hadn't been to Thailand for 3 years so he was looking forward to seeing the place again. I asked where was his wife and he said “where do you think? She's shopping” we both laughed. He asked me if I’d been before and I told him I had and what I thought of the place and the places and things I’d seen. He gave us some tips on where to go and what to see. By this time Neil was back and we had more or less finished our cokes and then his wife and children came in. She was about 40 and very pretty. His children were very cute. We didn’t want to disturb him anymore so we finished our drinks and told him we were going to have a look around before the flight. We said goodbye to him and his wife and left the bar.

We walked around for a while, looked in a few shops, did a spot of people watching and then I went for a smoke before we made our way to our gate for the Bangkok flight. I went in the smoking room, which was packed as usual. People from all over the world were sat in there like zombies, puffing away on death sticks like their lives depended on it. Smoking rooms in airports have always made me laugh. If you smoke and go in one, just look around you, look at the peoples faces and you will see what I mean.

It was time to walk to our gate. It seemed like we were walking for miles and then our lounge appeared. It was pretty packed with all kinds of people. Westerners, Thais, Chinese, you name in, they were there and they were all waiting to board a plane, our plane to Bangkok. Someone came over the loudspeaker to say that the flight was now boarding. We got up and made our way to the people checking the tickets and then, we were walking down the corridor to the plane. We were greeted by wais and hellos from the cabin crew and we made our way to our seats. We were near the back of the plane and the person sat in one of the three seats was a lady of about 65. Her name was Ann and she was an ex-pat living in Chang Mai. We said hello and introduced ourselves and that was more or less all we said to her for the rest of the flight. We didn’t talk to not because we didn’t like, but because we just couldn't think of anything to say to her. When we first got on the plane it was very hot, there was no air and it must have been at least 90 degrees. Luckily once the plane took off the heat more or less disappeared.

We were on our way, in a little over 11 hours we would touch down in Bangkok. We would be in Thailand for the next 12 days. My second time, Neil's first. The flight itself seemed to take forever. We had a couple of nice meals, had a few drinks, chatted for a while but neither of us could sleep. No matter how hard we tried, we just couldn't fall asleep. Ann from Chang Mai slept for most of the flight. I don’t know how she did it but she did. We saw the film ‘Bringing down the House’ with Steve Martin and it was crap.

After what seemed like 50 hours, the seat belt sign came on and the pilot came on the speaker to say we were about to land in Bangkok. God, we were here, finally we were here. Excitement pulsed through me like lightning, it was a great feeling. We touched down and stopped and started to make our way off the plane, saying goodbye and thanks to all the stewards as we made our way off the plane.

After 20 or so hours of travelling we were now in Bangkok. I thought about what we'd see, who we'd meet, what we'd do, about the friends I would meet up with. As I made my way off the plane, I had no idea what lay ahead and that was the beauty of it and as it turned out, my first night in Bangkok would be one I’d never forget.

Day 2 (Bangkok)

So here we were, Bangkok. Our first day in the Land Of Smiles.

After going through customs with our little cards we had to fill in on the plane and getting our passports stamped, we looked for the belt that would contain our bags. I really hate getting my bag off a plane. Just like with arriving at the airport and the fear that you have forgotten something, another type of fear comes over me, and that's that my bag will be lost. No matter how many planes I go on, for some reason, my bag always comes out last. It’s like the baggage guys know how scared I am and just do it to wind me up. This time was no exception, like every other time, it came out last. Neil had already got his.

We made our way out of the airport and to meet our rep who would greet us and get us to our hotel. Through the sea of people we saw her more or less straight away, or at least, she saw us. We said hello and she told us to wait just by the side while she looked for two others who were staying at the same hotel as us. After a few minutes she spotted them and we made our way to the van that would ferry all four of us to the hotel. The couple we had been waiting for were a man and woman aged mid 40’s and from the UK. They both looked very tired. Obviously they had just been on the same flight as us, and it showed. As we stepped out of the airport I had the camcorder going. I was going to film Neil's face as he stepped into the hot and humid air that Bangkok has to offer. His face didn’t disappoint me. It turned from wonder and excitement to ‘Jesus Christ’ it was a picture. I won't repeat what he said but his second words were ‘it’s like being inside a microwave’ I've never been inside a microwave myself, to me it was just damn hot, but I understood where he was coming from.

It was now Tuesday, July 8th, 3.15 PM. We made our way to the hotel. It would be where we would spend the next 4 days and on Saturday we would be back at the airport and flying to Phuket. But, that was in the future and right now, we were here, in Bangkok. The drive to the Hotel was pretty quick, traffic, surprisingly, was pretty light which amazed me. The rep was asking us if we'd been before, trying to get us to go on some tours. It was the usual hard sell you get off reps, although it wasn’t that hard. She was a nice woman and made me laugh a couple of times. The couple behind us asked how we liked Thailand and I told them I loved it and how I had the time of my life the previous year. They said they were going to meet their daughter who was travelling around Asia; they just needed to ring her to say they had arrived.

As we neared the hotel, we came to a stop and I saw something I didn’t even know existed in Bangkok. It was a train line. We had to stop to let the train go past. I was surprised because I didn’t even know it was here, I just thought they had the sky train in Bangkok and that was it. After setting off again and after another 5 minutes of driving, which included a U-turn on New Petchaburi Road, we arrived at our Hotel. The Amari Atrium. It was a first class hotel and from the outside it looked amazing. It had a big glass front and was very tall. There was a little waterfall pond type thing on the main driveway. We all got out and our bags were unloaded, then the rep took us inside. As we were about to open one of the main doors to the hotel, one of the workers in a white uniform and little hat opened it up for us. We stepped into the vast lobby. All the floors were marble and the staircase had gold all over it. We walked up to the main reception desk and got checked in. We were asked a couple of questions, one being if we wanted 1 double bed for us both. I turned round and said ‘although I do like Neil, I don’t want to share a bed with him’ there was a couple of chuckles behind the counter from the three girl receptionists and the rep just said that she had to ask. After signing our names, putting our addresses down and giving a baht 2000 deposit, we were given our room number and key cards. We said our goodbyes to the rep and made our way to the lifts.

Our room was on the fifth floor but it took us five minutes to work out how to get there. Once in the lift you had to insert your key card into a little slot, take it out and then press your floor number. This turned out to be the job only a genius would figure out. After several attempts from the both of us, we finally managed to get it to work and the lift doors shut and took us to floor five. On leaving the lifts and turning right, we were greeted by a big view from the balcony. As we looked down we could see all the lobby area. In the middle of the lobby area, a few comfy seats were surrounding a giant tree. We turned round and looked at the lifts and noticed there was more than one, in fact, there was six, three on each side. We went in search of our room and after a couple of wrong turns, we found it. Room 551. I inserted my key card and took it out, luckily it worked straight away and we walked in. Neil put his key card in the little slot just next to the door which gave us power and air con. We walked in. The room was very bright because of the big window at the far end of the room. We went over to it and had a look at our view. We were overlooking the pool and also some of the Bangkok skyline. It was very pretty. The room itself was quite big. The two beds were separated in the middle by a little bed side table and on either side of the beds there was another table with the controls for the lights on the beds. The bed I chose also had all the master switches for the rest of the room's lights. Next to that was a big desk.

There was a knock at the door. Neil went to answer it. It was the porter with out suitcases, he brought them in and we gave him Baht 20, he thanked us and left. We both spotted some complimentary water and opened up a bottle each. We talked about the flight, did a little filming and then decided to have a shower, get changed into some shorts and go and have a look around. I told Neil to go in the shower first as I was going to ring K and let her know we had arrived.

I rang up K from the hotel phone and said hello. I told her about the flight, the hotel, how good it was to be back in Thailand. She said she was in Bangkok and was going to a friend's father's funeral and would come to the hotel a little later on to meet me. I told her of our plans to go out and explore the area and when we came back I would call her again to let her know we were in the hotel. She said goodbye and I put the phone down. I put on the TV and sat on the bed and took it all in. It was hard to believe I was actually here, back in Thailand after nearly 11 months. I was so happy; it was like I was back home, back where I belonged. As I sat on the bed I realised that I had a few other phone calls to make to my other Thai friends. The first one I made was to P, the girl I met in Phuket the previous year. She was now out of the bar scene and living just outside Bangkok with her family. I called her and said hello, I told her I was back in Thailand. She seemed happy to hear my voice and happy that I was back once again. I said I wanted to see her and she told me she was going to go to Phuket to see her old friends on the 25th, but sadly, I would be leaving on the 20th, so it was not looking likely that I would get to see her. I told her I’d ring her again and see if we could sort something out. The next phone call I made was to N, a girl I got to know in the UK. She was at university and for extra money, she worked in MBK. I called but all I got was her answering machine. I left a message saying I was in Bangkok and that I wanted to see her before I left on Saturday. I then called V, another girl I got to know in the UK. She was also a university student. We had a little chat and we said we would arrange a meeting for Thursday night. I said I’d give her a call back on Thursday morning to sort it out. The last person I rang was L. She's the girl my friend Dave met the previous year in Phuket. She was happy that I was back and asked when I was going to Phuket. I told her I would be there on the Saturday and would go in her bar to see her. I said goodbye and then went back to sitting on the bed.

Neil came out of the shower and I went in. I just had a quick one of about 5 minutes and then came out, got dried and changed and then we were ready to leave. We took the camcorder out with us and left our room. We were both dreading going in those confusing lifts again and got our cards out ready. As we got it in, to our surprise, it worked straight away. It was only later we realised that you didn’t need the card to go down, you only needed it to go up. Once in the lobby, I looked at some of the people who were staying there. It was mainly Chinese people, quite a few business people as well. We made our way down the steps and to the front doors. They were opened by the same guy as before. As we stepped outside into the hot and humid Bangkok air, we both let out a sigh. Although I knew what the weather was like, feeling it again after all this time was still a little shock to the system. We walked down to the main road and we were spotted by a taxi driver who offered us a nice lady, massage, a taxi, also asking us where we were going. We just told him we were going for a quick look around. We decided to turn right to see where it would lead us. We both knew that Sukhumvit road was down here somewhere. It was just a matter of finding the right street to turn down. We went right which was the wrong way. As we walked along the streets, passing all the different people, men, women, office girls, we just took it all in. Watching the traffic zoom past and then stop, then start. After walking for 10 minutes we asked a man in a small booth where Sukhumvit road was. He didn’t speak a work of English and just mumbled something and pointed. I asked ‘down there’ pointing to the way we were going, he just mumbled again and nodded his head. So we carried on walking and walking and walking, then we gave up and thought ‘sod it, lets get a quick snack and some water from the 7-11’ so we walked back the way we had came. As we walked past a car park and office building on our left, Neil spotted something and shouted me to come and have a look. As I went over I saw the strangest thing. In the car park, plain as day was a family of deer. Mother, father and three babies, we couldn't believe it. We got the camcorder out and filmed them, and then we moved on. By this time we were very hot, the sweat was pouring off us so we decided to have a quick sit down on some steps to cool off a little. Again we did a little filming and watched some of the people walking past, going home from a long day at work, waiting at bus stops. We stayed there for about 10 minutes and then got up and made our way to the 7-11. We went inside and had a look around. We both grabbed a bottle of water each, a bottle of Singha beer each and a pack of Pringles each and took our stuff up to the counter. It was a little weird because the girl behind the counter looked at us as though she had never seen westerners before. I’m guessing that it was because of the area we were in; it could hardly be classed as a tourist area. As well as the stuff I bought, I got a carton of Cigarettes. We paid, got a Wai from the girl, left and then walked back to the hotel.

We walked in the lift and tried the card again. It took fewer attempts this time so it looked like we were getting use to using the card in the lifts. We stepped out of the lifts and went into our room. I told Neil I was going to ring K. I dialled the number and told her I was back. We had a quick chat and she said she was now on the way to my hotel to drop off the Bangkok guide she had done for me. It was a day by day guide she had made on the computer which gave us some ideas of where we could go and what we could see at night as well as the day. She told me she would call me when she got there.

Neil and I talked a little about Bangkok. I asked him what his first impressions were ‘hot, busy and dirty’ he replied, but after that he said ‘I love it’ I laughed.

20 minutes later the phone rang and it was K, she said she was in the hotel lobby waiting for me, I said I would be down to see her in a minute. This was it, finally I was going to meet her. We had talked for so long and now it was time to meet her face to face. Neil grabbed the camcorder and we left the room. I had a quick look over the balcony to see if I could spot her, but I couldn't see her. We went down in the lift and entered the lobby. I had a quick look around; Neil was following me with the camcorder. After looking all around the lobby, she was nowhere to be seen. So I thought she must be outside waiting, after all, it was a nice evening. So I went to go outside, the door was opened for me as I walked down the steps. As I walked down I looked at the people outside and there she was, a slight thrill went through me. It was nervousness and happiness at the same time. I went outside and walked up to her, she was sat on a bench outside, and so was a man. I walked up, arms outstretched ready to hug her, then I realised it wasn’t her. I laughed and said sorry to the woman, who by this time had a look of shock on her face. I told her I thought she was someone else. She laughed and said it was ok. Neil turned the camera off and I said to him “where the hell is she” Neil looked just as I felt, puzzled. I had my phone with me so I sent her a text message saying I was here, but she wasn’t. I asked her if she had come to the right hotel, the Amari Atrium. A minute later she sent me a text back saying she was at a different hotel and that she had to go, but would pick us up at 8 PM and we would go out for something to eat. I sent her one back saying fine.

We went back to the room, heads lowered and feeling a little confused. The big build up to me and her meeting had fallen flat on its face because she had ended up going to the wrong hotel.

We had about an hour to kill before K came to pick us up. So we had a shower and shave, got changed into shorts and polo tops and sat on our beds watching MTV, we also decided to drink the bottles of Singha we had bought before, the only problem was, we didn’t seem to have a bottle opener. There was panic, what were we going to do. We thought about opening them on a corner of the sink in the bathroom, thought about using our teeth, but we decided to ring reception and get them to bring us a bottle opener. Neil made the phone call and had a look of confusion on his face as he was talking to the receptionist on the phone. After a couple of minutes he put the phone down, still looking confused, he said they would bring it up shortly. We waited, and then the phone rang. I picked it up and it was the receptionist. She asked again what we wanted and I told her, she said there was one in the room but I said I couldn't find it. She then asked if I wanted one sleeper or two. What?? I just said “we just want the bottle opener” she said fine and said it would be up shortly. A couple of minutes later there was a knock on the door, Neil went to answer it and I heard some talking, then I heard a thank you and a door close. Neil came back in and said “you won't believe this” well he was right, I couldn't believe it. We asked for a bottle opener and what did we get? A bath robe, a frikin bathrobe. We both burst out laughing and that's when he saw it. Neil looked at me and said “you won't believe this” and again, he was right, I couldn't believe it. Just to the side, sitting there on top of the mini bar with a big smile on its face was the bottle opener, it was there all the time and we didn’t even see it. Before we knew it, the phone was going; it was K telling me she was at the hotel waiting outside with her friend. I asked her if she had come to the right one this time, she replied yes. I had brought K a couple of presents from the UK. I had done her a couple of mixes, as I’m a DJ and I also had a limited edition England Football shirt I wanted her to have. But I forgot to take them down with me.

We left our room and made our way downstairs. Once there, we made our way to the front doors, this time I spotted her and she spotted me, she gave a little wave which was good because I didn’t want to end up scaring some woman again like I did before. Now they say first impressions last, and in this case, me meeting K, it was very true. This first meeting would stick with me and never leave my side.

I walked outside, Neil went out first and I close behind him. Neil shook her hand and I went up to give her a hug, but I got a very cold reception off her, in fact, I couldn't even class it as a hug off her, it was just a quick arm on the shoulder pretending to be a hug, but wouldn't fool anyone who was watching it. She pointed out her car which was a huge 4×4 land cruiser thing. Neil and I walked up to it and got in the back. It was a very nice vehicle. It had all leather interior, CD player, Digital everything. You name it, it had it. In the UK something like this would set you back at least £30,000, so god only knows what it must have cost in Thailand. Once in the car, K introduced us to her friend who was sat in the front passenger seat. We said hello, put our seat belts on and we were on our way. We pulled out into the traffic and I asked K where she was taking us. She told us she was going to take us to a Thai restaurant which was just off Sukhumvit road. On the way there, there was a bit of small talk about the flight, how were we finding our hotel, but all in all it was a little quiet. I still couldn't get that hug out of my mind. K’s friend remained quiet for the whole journey, well, at least to us, to K she was talking in Thai.

As we were driving down Sukhumvit road, Neil and I looked out of the windows and saw lots of bars, restaurants, shops. There were side streets all over the place with more bars and bright neon lights going all the way down. It looked great. I’d never seen this road before. My last trip to Thailand had seen us stick to the same road, Silom, for most of our time in Bangkok. But here we were, on a different road, a different place and it looked great. I couldn't wait to explore it myself and I’m sure Neil felt the same way.

After about 15 minutes in the car, we pulled down a side street and turned into a small driveway. There was a small building in front of us. Steps in front of it saw about 4 people all in little uniforms waiting there. K stopped the car in front of the steps and we got out. I said “are you going to leave the car here?” but my question was answered by one of the four people who came running over, took K’s car keys and got in the car and parked it. “Oh god” I thought “they have valley parking here, just what kind of place is this?” I looked at Neil and I think he was thinking the same as me. It dawned on me that this was a very fancy restaurant she had brought us to. I looked at the clothes I was wearing. Nike trainers, combat shorts, Adidas polo top. I looked at what Neil was wearing and it was more or less the same as me. I stopped K and asked her about the place, saying that I wasn’t dressed for such a place. She looked at me, then Neil and said it will be ok. Of course, I didn’t believe her and my fears were more or less confirmed when we all walked in. Everybody inside seemed to turn around and look at us, that included the staff. It was like they were giving us the once over, checking us out. We stuck out like a sore thumb. Inside there were Chinese business men and their wives, all dressed in suits and their best dresses and shoes. There were a couple of westerners, but they seemed to be having a business dinner with the people they were working with or clients. We were shown our table and then we sat. I was feeling very out of place. The waiters asked us if we wanted something to drink. Neil and I ordered a Singha and K and her friend ordered water each. K didn’t say two words to us, she just spoke in Thai with her friend and to be honest, I didn’t really want to speak to her. The cold hug was playing on my mind and now this. It was turning into a disaster, but this night had only just begun, it was far from over.

Our drinks were brought over and the waiter poured mine and Neil's out. Then he turned to K and her friend and poured their waters. As he did, he looked at me and Neil and then turned to K and said something in Thai. All three of them laughed a little, and then the waiter went back to the bar which was just situated behind us and got the menus and brought them over. I looked at Neil and asked him if he'd just seen that. “Seen what?” he said, and with that I just shook my head and told him I’d tell him later. I also asked him how he was feeling, he said “a little out of place” I agreed. Just then K went in her bag and took something out. She put them on the table in front of me and Neil. We both had a card addressed to us and there was also a map of Bangkok called ‘Bangkok by night’ we opened up our cards and there was a little greeting inside from K saying she hoped we enjoy our stay in Thailand. The picture on the front of my card was a picture of the Grand Palace, she also gave me the guide she had done, but it wasn't finished, it was the same rough draft she had sent me in a email. She said she hadn't had time to finish it. We both said thank you and I said I had something for her but I’d left it in the Hotel and would get it later. Kay then handed out the menus and I had a look inside. Everything was in Thai, everything. I didn’t see any English in their at all and if it was there, I’d missed it. I told K that I just wanted some fried rice with pork and she said ok. Neil asked for the same and then K asked her friend, in Thai, what she would like. At least I’m guessing that's what she was doing. The waiter then came over and took the order. K did all the work and the waiter then moved on with our order leaving all four of us sat there. K then started talking to her friend in Thai once more and talked to Neil a little but more or less ignored me. Neil and I just sat there like lemons wondering what to do with ourselves. I was starting to get a little pissed off with the whole thing. I don’t really blame K, her heart was in the right place but we expected her to take us to a place where there was a mix of people, where we wouldn't feel like aliens, but instead, she brought us here. Now I know she is Thai, and her friend probably wasn’t a great English speaker, but I found it quite rude of her to just keep speaking in Thai like that with her friend. After all, we were her guests. I’m not saying she didn’t speak to us, well, she spoke to Neil a bit and I just stayed out of it. I’m hardly ever quiet in social situations, but because of the way I was feeling about the whole thing, the cold hug and the waiter speaking about us, the fact she kept speaking in Thai to her friend all the time, it was taking it’s toll on me and I was getting a little wound up by it. So wound up in fact, that I was contemplating getting up and walking out, or at the very least, telling her about it right there and then. But what stopped me was the face thing. Damn that face thing in Thailand. If I’d have spoke up or walked out, she would have lost face and it would also be very rude of me to do. But for the sake of the face thing and the fact I didn’t want to be rude, I decided to bite the bullet and just sit there quietly and also decided I would speak to her about it the next day on the phone, away from the restaurant and away from her friend so she wouldn't lose face.

Our food came. Mine and Neil's simple dishes were dwarfed by K and her friend's choice of dish, well, dishes. There was so much food it looked like the last supper. K asked if we'd like to try some, I declined and Neil said yes. There were about 5 dishes in the middle of the table, each one holding a different kind of dip. To start with, Neil had to pick up a green leaf, and then he could put as many of those dips inside and then eat it. He picked up his leaf and put in some of the different dips. Well, it was the last time Neil did it because he burnt his insides out; I looked at him and thought he was going to blow up. He drank some of his beer to cool down. We picked up a tip about hot food. If you eat hot food and you have rice, instead of drinking water to cool yourself down, eat rice, it’s supposed to work really well.

We finished our meal and asked for the bill. Both Neil and I wanted to get out of there as soon as possible; we were both feeling the strain of it, me more than Neil though. K ended paying for most of the meal which was a surprise. We left the restaurant and went outside. A man went to get K’s car and Neil and I stood outside, a little away from K. We talked about what we wanted to do now, how we felt and we both said we just wanted to get away from K, put it down to experience and just move on. Then K came up and said she would take us to a club but we would have to change first into pants. Christ, it was 70 odd degrees and we would now have to change into pants, not only that but she also said for us to bring out our passports because we would get asked for I.D. I told her I didn’t think we would but she insisted. The car finally came and K took us back to the hotel. It was silence all the way, not only that, but we had to endure Celine Dion playing on the CD player, she seems to look more and more like Ivan Drago from Rocky 4 each time I see her. We got out and told K we would be 10 minutes. She said ok and would wait. We went into the hotel and back to the room.

It was now the perfect chance to speak a little to Neil about the night so far. Neither of us had a good word to say about it, both of us hated the situation we found ourselves in and I told Neil I would ring K the next day and tell her about it, I also told him what I’d seen the waiter do but he said he hadn't noticed. He said if he had noticed that, he'd also want to walk out. We got changed and got our passports. I also picked up the presents I had bought over for K. We went downstairs and out of the hotel, but K was nowhere to be seen. I couldn't believe it, she'd left us. We stood there for a second, in shock more than anything, telling ourselves we'd both been stood up and looked like right idiots. We decided to go back to the room and change and then go back out and salvage some kind of good night out of this utter mess.

Once in our room I noticed I had a text message on my phone. It was K. I read it and it said that she had to move the car; she was just to the left of the hotel. We hadn't been stood up after all. We both swore and went back downstairs. K had now moved the car back to the front of the hotel. We got in and I gave the presents to K. Just like with the cold hug I had got off her, this was equally as cold. Just a simple “oh right, thanks” well that did it for me. K had turned from a person I really liked and had gotten to know for so many months and was really looking forward to meeting, into someone I would like to forget very quickly. As we started to move, I asked K to put on one of the CDs I’d done for her, she took it off me and put it in her stereo. It sounded great, it actually cheered me up a little listening to it and put me in the mood for the club we were about to go to. Except, when we got to the club that good feeling flew out of the window at lightning speed.

We pulled up and again, her car was parked for her?? The club itself was on what seemed to be stilts; it looked like a bomb shelter but jazzed up to look cool. We walked up the steps and they just waved me and Neil through, no ID was needed. I restrained myself from turning round and saying and saying to K “told you so” we got our hands stamped and walked into the club. Now, I love music, it’s my passion, but the moment I walked into the place I wanted to walk straight back out. Was K playing some kind of joke on me? Was she taking pleasure in seeing me squirm and get upset? It certainly seemed like it. She knows that there are a couple of forms of music that I just can’t stand, and, you guessed it, this club was playing one of those forms. Frikin RnB. All I can say about this club is that the music was pathetic; it was full of young posing Thais who were trying their hardest to be westerners, but it just wasn’t working. It was like some screwed up oil paining you'd buy off a car boot sale for 50p as a joke. Now I’m only 28 and a die hard clubber and music fan, but this was too much for me, I just wanted to leave, and leave fast.

We went to the bar and got some drinks then we moved to a corner just away from the dance floor, or what tried to be a dance floor. Neil then went to the toilet and K asked me why I was so quiet. I told her I’d tell her some other time, she just looked at me and said “oh right” I told her that after we had finished these drinks, we were going to go. She asked me where and I just said that we would probably try the Q-club. She said she would show us where it was but would come back here because her friend liked it in here. I said fine and to be honest, I didn’t want her to come. I know that if I’d spent any more time with her, I would have said something, sod the face thing, this was a joke and as each minute passed, I was getting more and more wound up about it.

Neil came back and I told him to sup up as we were shipping out. He said it was a good idea because he didn’t like this place either and the music was also doing his head in. The thing is, I felt bad for Neil. It was his first time in Thailand, his first night in Bangkok and it was shit. I wanted him to have the time of his life, to feel and experience what this city had to offer, but right now, he was having a crap time. It was getting late, time was running out and we needed to have a great night with the little time we had left. We finished our drinks and told K we were going. She walked us out and it started to rain. We were going to wait it out, but we decided to go anyway. We said our goodbyes and I told K I would ring her the next day, she said fine and pointed out where Q-club was, and then we left. Thank God that was over.

We walked a little down the street and decided to scrap the Q-club idea and we came up with the idea of going to Ministry of sound. We planned on going on our final night in Bangkok, but right now, it sounded like a good idea. We hailed a taxi and got in. We asked him to take us there, but he didn’t know where it was, in fact, he couldn't speak a word of English. We asked again, but still no joy, so we got out. I spotted a couple walking down the street. A westerner and a Thai girl and tried to ask them where it was, but the western man just gave us a dirty look and ignored us. I turned round and thanked him for his help. We then hailed another taxi but this time I asked Neil if he fancied going to Patpong and to some of the girly bars? He seemed happy with the idea and I told the taxi man to take us to Silom Road and Patpong. This time the guy did understand and we were on our way.

In the taxi I started thinking about K. I know she tried doing the right thing and making us feel welcome, and I can’t fault her for that, but it’s like she just didn’t think of our feelings when she made these choices. She knew I didn’t like the music, but she took us to a club that played it, she never told us about the fancy eating place and said what would be the right thing to wear; she just didn’t seem to think of us at all. Being rude by talking in Thai all night, the waiters calling us names. It really was a horrible situation. The cold hug, the coldness of me giving her my gifts. It was all too much. My opinion of K being a nice person and someone I was proud to call a friend more or less disappeared that night and it made me really sad to think of it. I just wanted to block it out, pretend it hadn't happened, try again some how, but I knew it was no good. That first impression, that bad first impression, was now going to stay with me and there was nothing I could do to change it.

We arrived in Patpong. We paid the driver and got out. Here we were, here I was, in a place I’d come to love. The thumping music coming from all directions, the cars and tuk tuk’s zipping past, it was great to be back here, great to see it again after all these months. We walked a little up the road and I saw one of my favourite bars, O'Reilly's. The Irish bar we went in every night the previous year. We went inside and we were greeted by warm smiles and hellos. We went to the bar and got a couple of Heinekens and found a couple of chairs and sat down. Neil asked how I was feeling and I thought it was really nice of him to ask. He just told me to forget about it and enjoy the rest of the night, at least, what was left of it which was a couple of hours. So that's exactly what I did, what we both did.

We finished our beers and we left. I told Neil I was going to take him to some bars and show him a little of the area. We walked up the street with all the Japanese hostess bars and massage parlours, then once we got to the top, we turned left and found a Soi we had been down so many times the previous year. We found a beer bar, one that I hadn't been in before and went inside. We sat at the bar and ordered some drinks. Literally seconds went past when this gorgeous Thai girl came up to us. She was beautiful. She had shoulder length hair, a great smile and we were both happy to see her. Then another girl came over and said hello, then the mamasan came over and said hello asking us if we would buy the girls a drink. I was going to say no at first but thought “sod it” and we got them a drink each. They asked us if we wanted a lady but we both said no, we were just happy of the company. After they finished their drinks they moved on. We weren't bothered about it, after all, we weren't going to bar fine them, so it would have been best they did move on, give them both a chance to make some money. It seems a little cold when I say that, I felt sorry for them as well, I can’t explain why, but it’s just a passing thought that I had.

We decided to move outside as the bar was a little crowded. There were a few chairs and tables outside and we went to one of those. We ordered a couple more drinks and sat down. There was a girl sat down at this table and I got talking to her. She was quite pretty. She told me a little about herself, she was 30, although I told her she looked 20, and it wasn’t a lie, she really did look 20. She also said she had a daughter. I thought it was nice she was honest with me like that. She didn’t know me, she knew I wasn’t going to bar fine her, but she told me anyway. We had a nice conversation. Then the first girl we met in the bar came over and sat with us, so did a couple more girls. Before we know it, there was me and Neil and four other bar girls sat with us, having a chat and a laugh with us. We found out the first girl was actually 17. I couldn't believe it and felt bad that a girl that age was actually working there. I didn’t voice my opinions of course, but again, it was nice that she was honest with us like that.

We ordered more drinks, by this time I was feeling it. I’m not a big drinker, in fact; I hardly ever drink when I’m at home in the UK, and so I was really feeling it. So was Neil. But we were having a great time and the episode earlier on in the night was just a distant memory and that was fine. It was turning into the kind of night that neither of us wanted to end. In the corner of my eye I noticed something. Just across the street there was a cigarette vendor and to her right was a western man of about 55 pushing her and shouting. Someone came over and pulled him back. A crowd had now formed and was watching what was going on. I’m not sure what happened but after about 5 minutes it seemed to have been sorted out and everyone moved on. The street was now getting very busy with girls and lady boys. It was funny watching them strutting their stuff up and down the road. The girls we were sat with laughed as well.

We were just finishing our drinks when the music stopped and the lights came on. It’s funny sometimes when the lights come on in a bar, you notice that some of the girls seem to run for cover, it’s like the bright lights will reveal something about themselves they don’t want others to see. I’m always reminded of the film Gremlins when I see it.

We finished our drinks and thanked the girls for being so nice and talking with us. We all said goodbye and we got the usual of “you come back tomorrow and see us” we said we would, even though it was the last time we went in that bar. The girls we met and talked to, we never saw again.

We walked down one of the side streets making our way around all the debris from the night. We tripped up a couple of times but I’d put that down to drinking too much, bumped into some lady boys who were absolutely gorgeous and I told some of them as well. I had to stop, talk and admire some of the really beautiful ones. We had a bit of fun with them, got some laughs. Neil was in shock with some of them. He found it hard to believe that some of these were really men. I said I needed to sit down and we found a closed shop and sat outside it. A taxi driver came over to us and asked us where we were going. We said we'd be going back to our hotel soon but right now, we just wanted to chill and take in the atmosphere. I offered him a cig and he sat down with us and we had a little chat. The usual questions of where are you from, how long are you here, have you been before followed. We were happy to answer them, we were both in good spirits. I finished my cig and we moved on and walked past some more bars that were more or less closed. All of a sudden I felt an arm on my shoulder and before I knew it, I was dragged into one of these bars by a girl. Neil followed and we both took a seat at the bar. It was still pretty full. There were a few guys from Sweden in there who said hello and a woman behind the bar asked us if we wanted a drink. We both ordered a beer and sat there. The girl who dragged me in was massaging my shoulders, which was nice. Then a game was brought out. It was the game where you throw the dice and lift up the numbered blocks. We began to play and I was doing pretty well, but she beat me in the end, 4-3 to her.

We finished our drinks and left. By now it was nearly 4 AM and we were pretty tired and of course, pretty drunk. We got onto the main road and got in a cab and it took us to our hotel. We paid, got out and went to our room. We talked a little about the night, about K and we got it on camera. It had been a very long day, a very eventful day and night in Bangkok. Although it was only our first night in Thailand, our first night in Bangkok, a lot happened and we were both glad of it. We got ready for bed and turned all the lights off. In those final moments before sleep, I thought of K and I felt a little sad, I thought of what would happen on day 2, how would it begin and how it would end, and as it turned out, it was another night I would never forget.

Day 3 (Bangkok)

As each day dawned in Thailand, for us it held so much promise, so much delight, so much wonder and mystery. You never knew how your day would turn out. You may have had the best day or night of your life the previous night and you think nothing could top it, but something better always came along, something new would happen and our second day and night in Bangkok was no exception.

I woke up early morning, around 9 AM and my head was hurting. The previous nights fun, drinking and of course jet lag had taken its toll on my body and I felt awful. I got up and got myself a glass of water, I took a tablet and got back into bed. Neil was still away in some far off land, that land was obviously somewhere where it’s ok to snore. I didn’t wake him; I just drifted off back to sleep.

We both woke up around 1 PM. My head was now fine, but my stomach wasn’t. I asked Neil how he felt and he was pretty much the same as me. He told me I had been snoring during the night “really?” I said, “yep” he replied. We talked a little about the night we'd just had, talked about K and then the beer bar we went in. We both agreed that a bad night had turned into a good night and it would be one we would remember for a long time.

We got up and got showered and changed and decided to get some breakfast. After much debating we decided Mc Donalds would be our best bet. We left the hotel around 2.30 PM and as we walked out and got to the main road, we were stopped yet again by a man offering us a girl and a massage. We declined his most generous offer and turned left. We said we'd walk for a little while until we got to the stage where we were that hot, we had no choice but to get a taxi with air con to cool down and head off to Sukhumvit in search of a McDonalds. After walking for about 5 minutes, we were at that stage and started looking for a taxi coming down the road. Sod’s law came into practice and there wasn’t any in sight, the ones that we did see already had people in them. We walked a little further and we saw that there was a taxi just parked up the road. We knew really that we shouldn’t get a taxi like that, but we thought we'd hear what he had to say first and see if we could get him to switch his meter on. Well he stopped us, offered us this and that, offered to take us here there and everywhere, but when we said we just wanted to go to Mc Donalds, he seemed disappointed. He agreed and as we got in the car, we asked him to switch his metre on and he refused. So, we got out and continued to walk. As we walked and walked, looking behind us for Taxis and seeing none, I wondered just how far Sukhumvit road actually was, we must be near it by now I thought. I saw a girl just up ahead and I decided to ask her where it was. She didn’t understand a word, so I just smiled, thanked her and then we walked on. We turned around again and here was another taxi, we saw that it was empty and we stuck our hand out. It stopped and we got it, he turned his metre on and off we went. The 5 minute journey took us 20 minutes because of the traffic, but we got there eventually and the driver dropped us off outside one of the McDonalds on Sukhumvit Road. As we walked up to it, I tripped on a paving stone stuck out so far you'd think it would have had a warning sign on it, but, this being Thailand, there was no such thing.

We walked into MD’s and went up to the counter. It was pretty quiet in there and what little people there were in there it consisted of a couple of family's, office girls and school students. We ordered our food and sat down. We were both feeling the effects of the night before so the conversation was kept to a minimum. I got a text off K asking what I was up to. At that point we didn’t really know what we were going to do, but we decided to go to Siam Square and also have a look at MBK and maybe do a little shopping there. I wrote her a text and told her of our plans and said that I wanted to talk to her about the night before when I got back to the Hotel and I also said I wasn’t happy. She sent another one asking why and I just said we would talk about it later.

We finished our food and just as we were leaving, more school students walked in. Outside the air was thick and hot and we started walking up the street. A little further up, just on our left hand side we walked over a bridge with a river running underneath it. We stopped and took a picture. Just underneath the bridge there was a small platform where a few people were stood waiting for a boat to come along and pick them up.

We saw a taxi and hailed it. Once inside we asked him to take us to Siam Square. There was a little light conversation on the way there, mainly of where we were from, did we want a nice lady. The journey took about 10 minutes. Once we paid the man we got out. The area was very busy with young Thais and office workers, either going home or window shopping; some were hanging out with friends and sitting having a cool drink. Neither of us had been here before so the whole area was new to us.

We walked around a little and just in front of this big TV screen playing music videos, we saw that MTV were filming. There were a couple of presenters asking people questions. We hung around a little and watched. After a few minutes we decided to move on and go look inside one of the shopping centres. Now for the life of me I can’t remember what it was called. It wasn’t Siam Discovery or MBK; those were a little further up the road. After looking in there for a while we crossed a bridge which held a great view of MBK and the Sky Train line was just above our heads, we took a couple of pictures and got some camcorder footage. We decided to head into MBK for a look around. We took some more pictures of the view and got some more camcorder footage. It was just after 4 PM and the traffic was very busy, but being on this walkway which went across the main roads, we were safe from it al, but not from the smog. We walked into MBK and instantly loved it. It was so big it’s hard to describe what it’s like. It’s not like your normal shopping centre; it’s set out like a giant market with normal shops thrown in for effect all around the sides. We walked around some of the floors and then we found a floor that was dedicated to mobile phone stalls and shops. I have never in my life seen so many phones under one roof. There were literally thousands of phones of all shapes and sizes, hundreds of shops selling then as well as accessories. We looked around here for about 2 hours and noticed that the phones were much cheaper here than they were in the UK. I told Neil I wanted to buy one, he said the same thing. We decided that the best thing to do would be to come back the next day and make a full day of it, plus, we didn’t have enough money on us to make a purchase. So we left MBK and sat outside. Siam Discovery Centre was over looking us as we sat there and had some water and I had a cig.

After 10 minutes it started to rain, we decided to get ourselves a taxi and head back to the hotel which turned out to be a mission and a half. We just couldn't get one, they were all occupied. We walked a little further down the road and after 10 minutes we managed to get one. Now our journey in normal circumstances would have taken 10 minutes, 15 at the most, but we were stuck in the taxi for over 2 hours, it was unbelievable. While sitting there in the traffic, I got a text off K asking if we could have our conversation the next day as she wasn’t feeling well and wanted an early night. It was 7.30 PM, I said fine. So after the taxi ride from hell, we arrived at our hotel and went to our room. We chilled out for a little while and had a shower and got changed for the night ahead. We were wondering where to go, so I suggested going to O'Reilly's for something to eat and have a look at the night market on Silom road and maybe pop into a Go-Go bar. I’d never been in one and wanted to see what it was like, Neil said he'd like to see as well. So just after 9 PM we left the hotel and got a taxi to Silom road and O'Reilly's. Silom road, as with the previous night was bustling with people, cars, Tuk Tuk’s, it was great to be part of it, to feel part of it. We saw O'Reilly's and walked in. It was quite busy inside, a lot busier than it had been the previous night. I just put that down to the time we were in there, the night before it had been around 12 am. We found a table and sat down and a waitress took our order for drinks and brought over a couple of menus. Well, I won't give you three guesses on what I had; Neil had the same, fried rice with pork. I guess I can be boring sometimes, but I did like it and thought I was being a little bit cultural, only a little but it was still there. We waited for our meal and sat there drinking our Singhas. Just then I noticed something, it surprised me, made me happy and excited at the same time. The previous year when I had been in here one night, a Beatles tribute band had played, they were all Thai and they were very good, the only trouble being, we never got a picture of them. But, tonight, here they were and Neil had brought a camera out with him. I couldn't believe it. I told Neil all about them and secretly I was hoping I’d get to see them again, and also hoping that Neil would get to see them, and here they were, just like last year, this was great.

They tuned their guitars and played the first song. We were both blown away by it. Our feet were tapping, we were nodding our heads, and it was great. A few songs had been played and we had finished our meals and ordered some more beer. They asked if anyone had any requests. I told Neil to go up and ask for ‘Paperback Writer’ and ‘My Life’ so up he went and asked. They said ok to ‘Paperback Writer’ but seemed to laugh at ‘My Life’ I’m not sure why. Neil came back and sat down. We thought it would be a while before they played the song, but to our surprise they played it straight away and it was amazing. Watching these guys we were both speechless and if you ever get to see them, you will know why. They are truly a fantastic tribute band and deserve nothing but praise off everyone who sees them. You can’t fault them. After a few more songs they took a break and it gave Neil and I a chance to get a photo. So we went on stage and asked a man sat just near the stage to take the photo for us. He happily agreed and we put our arms around them and the photo was taken. We shook their hands, thanked them for entertaining us and they gave us their card with their names on and website address. We then went back to our seats to finish our beer. We had now started a trend because now everyone in the bar was getting up asking for photos. I felt sorry for the guy who had taken ours because now he was everyone’s personal photographer. We finished our beers and left.

We walked a little down Silom and through the night market stalls. Things from Shorts to fake Rolex watches were on sale. Neil saw a stall selling DVDs and VCDs and had a quick look. He spotted Dreamcatcher and decided to buy it. It cost him Baht 150 which is about £2.50. I could have haggled the price a little for him but maybe only by Baht 50 and because the disc itself was very well made, I didn't bother. We walked a little further down and then turned down a Soi with more market stalls in the middle and GO-GO bars to either side going all the way down. Neil spotted a stall selling girls tops and decided to get a top for his sister. It cost him Baht 400 which is about £6.50. The girl actually tried charging us Baht 800 but I got it down to 400. We walked about half way down and saw a GO-GO bar and decided to go in. I was pretty nervous really, I can’t explain why. I think it’s just the thrill of it and the fact that I’d never actually been inside one. But we walked in and I couldn't believe it. About 8 girls were dancing on a tiny stage in the middle of the bar, all in skimpy bikinis and knee length boots. A hostess showed us to a couple of seats around this bar that the girls were dancing on and we ordered a couple of Singhas. We looked up at the girls in total amazement. To me they all had bored looks on their faces, the kind of look that says ‘why the hell am I doing this’ and if they couldn't answer that question, I sure as hell couldn't. As we were tucking into our beers, a girl came over to us and said hello, we said hello back. She asked us where we were from and we told her Manchester England, her first words were ‘ah, Manchester united’ to which we laughed and replied yes. Then another girl came over and said hello. Both of them were in those little Bikinis and it was just weird talking to them, almost like a dream. Weird I know but that's what I felt. We finished our drinks, looked up at the girls and then decided to leave. We said goodbye to our new friends and left. As we walked up the Soi to get to the main road, we decided we'd go to Nana Plaza on Sukhumvit Road. It was another place I’d never been before but heard a lot about. So that's just what we did. We got in a taxi and asked the driver to take us there. The taxi driver drove like a maniac and because it had been raining and the road was wet, there were a couple of times we nearly had heart attacks through sheer panic.

About 15 minutes later we were there. We paid and got out, thanking our guardian angels as we did for getting us there is one piece. Neither of us had a clue where to start so we just walked in and had a look around. We found a quiet bar at the back of the ground level and sat down. There were a couple of girls behind the bar and a couple of customers. Two of the customers seemed to be boyfriend and girlfriend, both from the west. We ordered a couple of Singhas and took in the atmosphere. It felt good being here, it seemed lively and a nice place. There was so much going on, it was very loud and bright with all the music and Neon. We could see that there were other floors above us containing more bars and, well, GO-GO bars. One of the girls behind the bar asked us where we were from. She was at least 30, maybe older, but she was very pleasant and friendly. We told her some things about ourselves, how it was my second time in Thailand and I’d never been to Nana Plaza. She then went over to speak to the boy/girl couple sat at the end of the bar. I asked Neil what he thought and he said he liked it, it was great. Just then, the lad at the end of the bar shouted over and said “hey, she likes you” to me he sounded like he was from South Africa. I said back “who does she like” and he said “your friend” we both laughed, including the girl behind the bar who seemed a little embarrassed by the attention. Neil then asked where the toilets were and was told they were in the GO-GO bar just behind this bar. The girl behind the bar told him where to go and off he went. I decided to say hello to the boy and girl at the end of the bar. It turns out they were from Norway. They had been in Thailand for the last 40 days and were going back home the next day. They said they had been here 5 years running and always stayed for about 40 days. Everyone seemed to know them and people would walk past and let on. I sat just next to them and carried on talking, then Neil came back with a story to tell, he said “you won't believe what I've just seen when I went to the toilet” I asked him what he'd seen. He told me that the toilet was also shared with the girls and as he went to do his business, there was a man stood next to him, a GO-GO girl was stood next to this man and was holding his penis while he did his business. I laughed and said that was crazy, he agreed. I introduced Neil to my new friends and we all shook hands. Just then I felt someone tugging on my shorts, I looked down and there was a very small Indian boy of about 7, he had some chewing gum in his hand that he wanted me to buy. I asked him if he had any Wrigley's extra to which he looked a little confused. I told him that was the only chewing gum I would like. He asked me to buy him a coke and I said no, but I told him if he went out and got me some Extra chewing gum, then I would buy him a coke. Now I was thinking that I would never see this lad again because I have never seen Extra sold in Thailand, so I went back to talking with the lad and girl. 10 minutes later there was another tug at my shots and low and behold, this little chap had got me some extra, well, the Thai version of Extra. I couldn't believe it. I gave him a pat on the back, told him “well done” and bought him a coke. Then his little sister came up wanting a drink, so I just told them to share. They did and then said goodbye, thank you and then left. It was now around 1.15 AM. Neil and I were both feeling the effects of the Singha we had been drinking all night. The lad and girl told us they were going to go to a GO-GO bar on the third floor of Nana called ‘Hollywood Strip’ they asked us if we'd like to go. We both said yes straight away and they laughed. The lad said to us ‘you will like it, they have 120 girls working in there’ we laughed and said "lets go" in unison. We got up and waited for the lad and girl to finish saying goodbye to the girls behind the bar. I looked to my right and saw that there was a place at the back of this bar where food was being cooked. I saw a very tall lady boy walk over and have a chat to one of the cooks. I pointed her out to Neil and we also saw a few other girls there, some of them were gorgeous. Just then the guy gave us a tap on the shoulder and said “here is a drink for you, try this” we looked in front of us and there were two shot glasses filled with a light brown liquid. We asked what it was and he told us Thai whiskey, he then said it was for free. So we got the glasses and downed it in one and I have to say it was very nice, certainly not like whiskey I have tasted before. We thanked the girls behind the bar and we were on our way. To the right of us, just near where we saw the lady boy, were some stairs, we followed the guy and girl and stayed behind them all the way. We went up some more steps and we were on the third floor. Looking out over the balcony, seeing all the bars, it looked like an amusement park, only instead of roller coasters and arcades, it was bars. We saw Hollywood Strip and went inside….

For the first time in my life I was speechless. My jaw hung open and I was speechless. I looked at Neil and his jaw was also open. He asked me if I was seeing what he was seeing, but I couldn't speak, I tried but no words came out. Just to the left of us was a revolving stage with about 6 poles going up. On this stage were 8 girls. They were in pairs going all around this stage, one was on her knees and the other was behind her stood up. All the girls on this stage were rubbing baby oil into each other and simulating lesbian sex. It took me about 10 minutes to pull myself together. The guy and girl just laughed at us and pointed to a table just in front of us. Neil then tapped me on the shoulder and said “have you seen that” he pointed to a TV screen that was showing a porno film. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. We both staggered, opened mouthed to the table the couple were sat at. These two were really popular; everyone in the place seemed to know them. They would get people coming over to them and hugging them. I was watching that going on, but at the same time, I was watching the revolving stage and what was going on there. We ordered some drinks and sat there, speechless. I had a quick look around, although it was hard taking my eyes off this stage. There was another stage at the opposite end to the one that left me opened mouthed. There were about 6 girls on that but they were just dancing, well, not really dancing, just moving their feet a little and just like with the first GO-Go bar in Patpong we went in, they all had this bored look on their faces. Behind us were more tables and chairs against the wall. There were a few people sat on them, including GO-GO girls.

A girl came over to the guy from Norway holding a box. She was gorgeous; I just couldn't take my eyes off her. The box in question was some CDs he had lent to the club to play. He needed them back because he was going home the next day. I asked him if I could have a look and he passed them over to me. I told him I was a DJ (among other things) in the UK. I looked through the CDs and noticed there was a lot of dance music in their, I recognised nearly all the songs on the CDs. I asked him if he knew the manager in this place and he told me he knew him very well. I then asked him if he could have a word with the manager and see if he would let me DJ for a while. He laughed and said he would try. So off he went. The manager it turned out was just sat at the back of us. I watched what was happening. The manager looked over at me and smiled, I smiled back, then the Norway guy came back and said it was no good, as the girls dance to a certain set of songs. I didn’t think I would be given the go ahead, but I thanked him for trying anyway, I also turned round and waved to the manager, he smiled and waved back.
p on my shoulder and turned round. It was the girl who had given the CDs to the guy from Norway. She smiled and said hello. I smiled and said hello back. She asked where I was from, how I knew the guy from Norway and I answered her questions. She was dressed in knee high boots, a tiny denim mini skirt and bikini top. She was stunning, very very beautiful. We talked a little more and she put her hand in mine and turned round and parked herself between my legs. I looked at Neil and he had a look on his face as if to say “you lucky devil” I smiled and said in his ear “wow” The girl then turned round and said she had to dance and would I watch her. I thought about the question for all of 1 second and said yes. She left and went in the back to get changed. Neil said to me “she's gorgeous” I said “I know” he asked what her name was and I said “I haven't got a bloody clue” just then, the song changed and there she was, getting on the stage. She looked at me, smiled and then waved, I did the same. The stage started to move round and she danced with 5 other girls. It certainly was a sight for sore eyes. Both Neil and I were transfixed on what they were doing. Neil said to me that he was thinking of going down to that first bar and seeing the girl that liked him. I said that if he wanted to see her, then we would come back the next day. We didn't have much time left before everything shut, he said ok. I tried not speaking to the guy from Norway for too long, for the simple reason that he got on my nerves. Now he was a great guy and everything and treated us really well, like old friends and I couldn't fault him on that, but it was his voice and his mouth. He had a very small mouth and when he talked, he had the kind of voice that made you want to throw up after a few minutes. I guess that sounds very shallow of me but it’s exactly what I thought. Plus I felt it was a little strange how this guy knew all the girls in all the bars and he brought his girlfriend along who also knew everyone. I just couldn't figure it out; it was just a little weird. Maybe I’m looking into it a little too much, but it was just, well, strange.

The song finished and the girl got off the stage. She walked passed me and said she would be right back. I said fine. Neil by this time was watching the porno movie playing on one of the TV screens, his mouth was open. True to her word, the girl came back and took up the same position she was in before going off to dance. There were no complaints from me. She had hold of one of my hands and with the other she was rubbing my leg. My other hand was rubbing up and down her stomach. She turned round and kissed me on the lips. It was a long, lingering kiss that sent a shiver down my spine. We stayed like this, kissing for a few minutes. Then she turned back round and continued with the rubbing. I didn’t know what to do; I think I was falling in love.

Just then, the music stopped and the lights slowly came on. Damn, it was 2 AM and it was time for the place to shut. I wanted this night to last forever; I wanted this girl to stay where she was and never leave that position, but sadly, all good things must come to an end. She turned around, kissed me again and said she had to go and change. It was the last time I saw her.

We started to make a move. The guy from Norway was going round giving all his friends a hug and saying goodbye. I went to the toilet, which, just like the toilet Neil had been in downstairs, had girls as well as guys in. I didn’t know where to look, didn’t know what to do. I went to the corner of the toilet and did my business. GO-GO girls were walking in and out and I just didn’t know where to look. I tried rushing and it worked. I washed my hands and got them dry, then went back out to Neil and the girlfriend of the guy from Norway. I asked Neil if he was ready to go and he said yes. We thanked the girl and thanked the guy for being really nice to us and showing us this place and allowing us to spend some time with them. We wished them luck for their journey back home and left.

Neither of us felt like going home just yet, so we decided to go out onto the street, find a place to sit and do a little people watching. We found a couple of steps just across the road from the entrance to Nana Plaza and sat down. We talked a little about the night, about the GO-GO bar we'd just been into. We still couldn't believe what we'd seen; it was hard to believe we'd actually seen it. It was hard for me to believe I’d been in the company of such a beautiful girl in there. As we were sat there talking and watching the people pass by, two girls came over to us and said hello. They asked us what we were doing and we told them we were just chilling out and having a sit down and watching the world go by. They decided to sit with us and we had a chat. Again, they asked us all the usual questions of where we were from, how long we were in Thailand for, how we liked it. They were nice girls I have to say.

Now this next bit kind of confuses me. I don’t know how it started, I don’t know what possessed me to do it or how I even thought up the idea, but I will try and explain how it happened. For some reason, I grabbed the hand of the girl who was sat next to me and I started to read her palm. I’m not psychic, I can’t read palms, I can’t do any of that stuff, but I doing it now and making it up as I went along. This girl sat there, listening to every word I said. I told her when she would meet the guy of her dreams, where he would come from, how many years the marriage would last, how many children she would have. I think it was just kind of a cheesy chat up line, a bit of fun. Now after I read this girls palm she laughed and I expected that would be the end of my palm reading days, but, it wasn’t to be. The girl Neil was sat with wanted hers doing. So, I did just that. I told her the same sort of things I’d told the first girl and after I’d finished, she thanked me and went back to talking to Neil. Again, I thought that would be the end of it, but, I was sorely mistaken. The girl I was with pointed upwards. I looked up and there was 5 girls all lined up with their palms out, wanting me to read them. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. I looked at Neil and he couldn't believe it either. So, I went to work. The day in the life of Mystic Mark. After reading 4 of the 5 girl's palms, I came to the last girl, but this time it was different and in a way, it broke my heart. This girl kneeled before me and held out her palm. I looked at her, looked into her eyes and I saw sadness, pure sadness, there was no mistaking how sad she was in her eyes. I knew I had to be very careful in what I said to her and how I put it. After all, it was lies and I couldn't read palms, but I will try and give you my reasons behind it and why I did it soon. I began to look at her palm, she never took her eyes off me and the only thing I could really say to her was that one day she would find the happiness in her life that she was searching for. That's all I could say, it was all I wanted to say. She looked at me and I could tell she didn’t believe me and I couldn't blame her. I had a feeling she had been lied to so many times in her life and I was no different to any other liar she had encountered. She told me something that shocked me and my heart went out to her. She said she was two months pregnant. I didn’t push her for details; I just sat there looking at her, it was all I could really do, all I really wanted to do. I gave her a hug and told her she would be happy one day, she just had to believe it. She thanked me, said something in Thai to the girls we were sat with and then she went. I watched her go, I sat there silent. It was like everything around me just froze, time as I knew it had ceased and everyone around me was frozen, not moving or speaking. I’ll never forget that girl, I’ll never forget the sadness in that girls eyes for as long as I live.

By now it was 4 AM and Neil and I decided to leave but we were dying of thirst and needed some water, so one of the girls went to the shop and got us a bottle each. Neil had taken some photos of my palm reading episode and now we took some photos of the girls we were with. Neil took one of me with the girl I was sat with and another of me and three other girls. I took one of him with the girl he was with. The girl I was with wanted me to go back to her apartment for a massage. I declined her offer. We started to get up and walk to the main road, the girls came with us. We hailed a taxi and said our goodbyes. We were quite sad to leave them and they gave us a quick kiss and a hug and thanked us for talking with them, entertaining them and making them laugh, saying that they had enjoyed meeting us. We got in the taxi and left, we never saw them again.

The mood in the taxi was one of quiet, one of calm. Nothing was said really until we got to the hotel where Neil pointed out to me that the metre in the taxi wasn’t switched on. I thought “Christ” when it came to paying for the taxi the guy asked for Baht 200 to which I replied no and I offered him Baht 100 which was far too much and more than fair. In reality the journey would have cost Baht 50 and that is still a little too high considering it only took us 5 minutes to get back to the hotel. At first the taxi driver said no, but after a little gentle persuasion in the words of “I’m being far too generous, so take it or leave it” he took it and he was on his way.

We went into our hotel room and sat on our beds. It was quiet for a few minutes and then I asked Neil what he thought about the night. He said he really enjoyed it and I said the same, but he did say that me reading palms was a little out of line. I tried to give my reasons behind it, telling him at first it was just kind of a joke but it got out of hand and there was nothing I could really do. He seemed ok with it in the end. My reasons behind it were innocent at first, but as more girls lined up to have their read, I can only say that my reasons for doing it were to just give them a little hope, that there are better things out there for them, they just have to believe in themselves, believe that they can be happy in life, that it will come to them if they hold on. That's really all I can say about it. Some of you reading this may think I was being stupid, and in a way I was, but it was just a spontaneous thing that got a little out of hand.

We got ready for bed and turned the lights off. It had been a very eventful day and even more eventful night. As I lay there in the dark I thought of that girl with the sad eyes, I thought of the GO-GO girl I had met and kissed, I thought of the phone I would buy at MBK later that day. But for the most part I thought of that girl with the sad eyes, I couldn't get her out of my mind and as sleep took me, she was the last thing I thought about.

We didn’t know at the time but when we were on the street and I was reading those girls palms, we were being watched from across the street. Neither of us knew it but we were being watched and the next night, we were about to find out by who.

Day 4 (Bangkok)

I awoke around 11 AM. Surprisingly my head and stomach were fine. I thought that maybe I would feel the same as yesterday, but I was glad that everything seemed to be fine. I was still pretty tired, jet lag still held me in its tight grip and combine that with the late nights, I was feeling pretty run down.

I turned to Neil and asked if he was awake. A groan was let out. I took it to mean that it was secret code for “yes, but leave me alone” Neil sat up and I asked him how he was feeling, he said more or less the same as how I was feeling, so at least we weren't alone in our suffering. We talked a little about the night before. We had both enjoyed it a lot and took great pleasure in talking about it and sharing our stories of what we thought of it.

We decided to get out of bed, get showered, (not together) changed and head off to MBK. It was phone buying day and we both knew it would be a long process. We had a lot of shops to get through. Neil went in the shower first and I sat on the bed. I started thinking about K and what I would say to her when we spoke later on about our first night in Bangkok. I also thought that I wouldn't actually get to talk to her, that something would happen again. She might be ill or might have fallen down a well.

Neil came out of the shower and I went in. I had a shave and a quick shower. When I came out Neil was watching TV and drinking some water. I got dressed and we were ready to go. We took the camcorder with us again. As we went down in the lift we decided we'd eat at MBK, we weren't really sure where in MBK we'd eat, but I had a feeling it would be a place with a big M on the door.

We got onto the main road, the taxi man stopping us again asking where we were going. As a joke I said to the security guard who was stood near him, to arrest him. They both laughed and we laughed with them and we were on our way. Surprisingly we got a taxi more or less straight away and we asked him to take us to MBK. We set off going and he then produced a leaflet with pictures of girls all over it. I’d seen so many of these last year. He said “you like?” and I just said to him that it was now July 2003, that edition he was holding was for January 2001, so he needed to update his material. He laughed, so did Neil but I don’t think the taxi man got the joke.

We arrived at MBK, paid the driver and got out. We found the crossing that went over the road and went up the stairs. As we walked up the stairs we saw beggars asking for our change. Some were old while others were just children. It made me wonder when I saw these children. I wondered what they were doing there, was it the parents that made them do it? Was it the children who wanted to do it? I really couldn't understand it.

We walked into MBK and as we walked down a corridor with shops to the left and right of us, I heard a man call out to us. We looked round and it was a Thai man in his mid 50’s, quite small and stocky and wearing a brown shirt with a badge of the Canadian flag on one collar. He said to me “are you a footballer?” (for the Americans reading, lets call it soccer ok?) I said no and asked him why “he looked at me and said “you have very strong legs” “oh right” I said. We carried on walking, this man staying by our side at all times. He told us he did some Thai boxing and if we wanted, he could teach us. We both said no. Now in every hotel I've stayed in, in Thailand, there has also been a little sheet of paper telling us of certain scams and what to look out for. One of the things it always mentions is strangers coming up to you and speaking to you. As Thai people are naturally shy, they won't just stop and talk to you, and if they do, in most cases they want something. I've told Neil about this so he was thinking the same as me as this man continued to make conversation. We carried on walking and he then asked us where we were going, we told him we were going to buy a mobile phone each. He then said he would take us, we told him no, saying that we had been here before and we knew where we were going. But, he carried on saying that he knew the best shop and the cheapest shop. By this time I was getting a little worried, not scared, just worried as in how the hell can I get rid of this guy? As we carried on walking he went into his top pocket of his shirt and pulled out a tourist card and said “I work for these” so I stopped and said “sorry mate, we know where we're going, we've been here before and we're going to go where we know” well, this guy the flipped, big time. He turned round to us, well, to me and said “you come to Thailand and you hate Thai people, you think we look like dogs” I couldn't believe he just said it. Now I knew I should be as calm as possible with this guy, not raise my voice, not get angry, just act calmly and try and solve it. So I said to him that I loved Thailand and I loved Thai people, I had many Thai friends. But he wouldn't listen, he continued to rant and rave about how much we hated Thai people. By this time people were stopping all around us to listen and watch what was going on. I was just about ready to tell this guy to fuck off, but I stopped myself and said “listen, I love Thai people, I mean no harm to you, you've been nice to us but we are just going to do our own thing and thanks for your help” I then walked off, Neil followed. We saw some escalators and went up those as quickly as possible. As we went from floor to floor, we kept on turning round to see if we were being followed, but luckily we weren't and the show was over.

We went from floor to floor and eventually came up to the mobile phone shops and stalls and started looking around. We kept on looking over our shoulders every few minutes to see if this guy was back, but we never saw him again that day. As we went from shop to shop, looking for a phone we liked, we were just in total confusion. There were just too many shops and too many phones. After about an hour of looking around, we decided to take a break and get something to eat. It took us 3 seconds to decide that MD’s was the order of the day. We went to the ground floor and found it. We decided on a Samurai pork burger. You see, I can be cultural when I want to be. We sat down and ate our meal. It was pretty packed in MD’s, lots of office girls and school students.

We finished our meal and went back to the madness that was the mobile phone floor. We must have looked at every shop twice. We kept on walking past a massage shop and I’m sure the girls thought we were perverts. They asked us a couple of times if we wanted a massage and after the 5th time, they just gave up and watched us walk past instead. We stopped at a few shops and asked about prices. I learnt that most of the phones were second hand and the ones that were new never came with a box. Finally, after about 4 hours I stopped at one shop and saw a Nokia 8910. The asking price was Baht 10,000. The guy working there had two versions, one was second hand at Baht 8,000 and the new one was Baht 10,000, I settled on the new one but only managed to get it down to Baht 9,500. I bought the phone, which was hard work because the guy's English was very limited and then we were on our way. We'd walked past an electrical shop a couple of times and noticed they had phones in a sale there, so we went inside. Neil spotted a brand new Motorola 350 and decided to buy it. It cost him Baht 4,500. The girl had to change it from Thai to English for him so she used my sim card to do it. After she did that, he paid for it and we were on our way again, the girl who had served us was now stood with another girl and as we walked out, we heard little chuckles. We looked at the time and realised we had been in MBK for over 6 hours, it was time to go back to the hotel.

We left MBK and walked across the bridge to the other side of the road and looked for a taxi. This time we managed it. I sent a text to K on my new phone saying we were on our way back to the hotel and I would ring her when I got there for a chat about Monday night. She sent one back saying fine and asked if I’d got my guide yet. I wondered what she meant, at first I thought she was talking about the incomplete guide she'd given me on Monday night, but she said she had sent me another one through the post.

After about 30 minutes we got to the hotel, we paid the driver and went to our room. As we walked in I noticed there was a package on my bed. It was addressed to me and I opened it. It was a Bangkok travel guide book from K called ‘the rough guide to Bangkok’ I thought it was really nice of her to send it to me. There was a little note inside saying that she hoped it reached me in time. I told Neil I was going to call her, Neil said he'd give me a little privacy and take a shower.

I called her up and I said hello. I told her about Monday night and how I’d felt and how she made me feel. She went really quiet and when she did say something she sounded upset. I told her the reason why I didn’t say anything on the Monday night was because I thought it would be rude of me to do so in front of other people, that's why I waited so I could speak to her one to one. She said how sorry she was and didn’t mean for it to turn out that way, that it wasn’t her intention to upset me. I told her that it was ok and not to let it worry her. I couldn't very well have a go at her for it, like I said, I felt that her heart was in the right place but she just didn’t think of me and Neil and how we'd feel. If we'd been pre warned about the places she was going to take us, then we could have been prepared. Well, except for the club she took us in, if I’d known before hand what music they were playing, we wouldn't have stepped foot in the place, in fact, driving past it would have been too much.

We finished our conversation and I asked her if she was still going to come to Ministry of sound with us on our last night. She said yes and said she was looking forward to it. I told her I’d call her the next day and we would get things arranged. We said our goodbyes and I put the phone down. Neil was now out of the shower and on the bed watching TV. I asked him what he fancied doing that night and he asked me what I would suggest. I asked if he fancied going to Khao San Road for something to eat and then maybe go to Nana Plaza again and a few bars there. He said ok and then I went to get a shower and shave.

We left the hotel at around 9. We walked down to the main road, our friend was at the bottom, but this time, he just smiled and waved, we did the same back and walked up the road looking for a taxi. We saw one straight away and got in and asked him to take us to Khao San Road. Driving through the city at night when the traffic isn't too bad is a nice thing to do. All the billboards you pass advertising everything from watches to shampoo. All the eating places you pass, each one is filled with Thai people chatting with their friends and family without a care in the world. I love those times, you realise you are in a different world, far away from what you know and what you expect. Bangkok truly is a city you have to stand back and admire. It’s a city like no other, it has an identity all of itself and when you are here, there is no mistaking it. That smell, that heat, the weird and wonderful places and people, I just love it, I truly do.

We arrived at Khao San Road, paid the driver and got out. I came here once the previous year and didn’t really rate it that much. I’d heard so much about it but once I’d actually seen it and experienced it, it was kind of an anti climax. I thought this time might be different, that I’d feel different, that maybe I’d like it a bit more, but I didn’t, for me it didn’t have any magic or anything to keep me coming back and I knew that once we'd eaten here, we'd leave straight away.

We walked down the road and looked for a place to eat. I’d told Neil about the place we'd went to the previous year and asked if he fancied going there. He said fine and we looked for it. We past travellers, holiday makers, Thais, hippies and eventually, about half way down I saw the place. We walked in and went upstairs. The previous year it had been very busy and we were lucky to get a table, but this time it was very quiet, with only a handful of people inside. We sat at a table and waited, and waited and waited. Eventually someone came over and gave us some menus and we ordered a Singha each. We both decided on fried rice. The girl went to get our order. I asked Neil what he thought about this place and Khao San Road in general and, like me, he didn’t rate the place. If someone asked me to describe Khao San Road in a few simple words, I would come up with something like this “it’s all pastry and no filling” confused? Yep, me too.

Our order came and we started to eat. We had to get our own spoon and fork first though. We didn’t really say much, just had a spoon full of rice and looked up every now and again to see what was going on. We finished our food and decided to get another Singha each. I went to the bar and got them, then sat down. We both said we were looking forward to going back to Nana, we never said if we'd go in a GO-GO bar, we just said we'd see what happens. We finished our beers and asked for the bill, we paid up and left and walked back to the main road. There were a few taxis at the top so we didn’t have any trouble finding one. We told the driver to take us to Nana Plaza. After 10 minutes we arrived, paid and got out.

We didn’t know which bar to go in so we just went in the first one we came to. It was a quiet bar; there were a few customers inside but nothing to write home about. We sat at the bar and ordered two vodka red bulls each. As we started to drink, two girls came walking over. One sat next to me and the other stood next to Neil. They asked us where we were from and what our names were. When I said my name was Mark there was a gasp from the girl Neil was with. I asked her what was wrong and she said she knew a Mark from England, he was a good friend. I told her I didn’t know him. They asked how old we were and when I said 28 there was another gasp, I asked what was wrong this time and they both said they thought I was 17. Well I've been mistaken for a 22 year old before but never 17. When Neil said he was 28, there was another gasp, this time it was because they thought Neil was 40. I burst out laughing. I went to the toilet and Neil carried on chatting to these girls. They seemed really nice and it was nice talking to them. I came back out and sat with the girl I was with, she told me she was doing politics at university, I didn’t believe her of course until she showed me her student card with her picture on it and something else I couldn't believe was her date of birth which was on the card, she was born on the same day as me, September 9th. Although she was 24, I thought it was strange we had the same birth date. We laughed about it. After a few more drinks Neil and I decided to move on, but before we left the girls asked us where we were going, we told them a couple more bars. The girls then asked if we'd like to meet them when they finished work, I noticed they said it pretty quietly and I asked them why. They said they didn’t want the manager to know they were meeting us after closing. I guess they just didn’t want us to pay the bar fine. We said we couldn't promise anything but if we were there, then fine, if not, then it was nice meeting them. Just as we were walking out, they both came up to us and said “what were you doing last night?” I thought it weird question and I asked them why they had asked. They told us they were watching us from across the street. They mentioned my palm reading and they had watched the whole thing and thought it was very funny. They said they had stayed across the street for the whole time until we left because it was really funny watching us. Neil and I laughed and I said that they should have come over and I would have read their palms for them. They both laughed and then we said goodbye to them.

We walked further in to Nana Plaza and had a look at the different bars as we walked past. Most of them were pretty quiet; some had a couple of people sat in them, while others had a handful. It was the quiet season after all and sometimes I think I prefer it this way. Rather than everything being full to the brim with people, you have a more relaxing atmosphere but still with that hint of madness.

We stopped at the bar we went into the previous night, the one where we met the guy and girl from Norway and also the one where the girl behind the bar liked Neil. We sat down and the girl recognised us, said hello and asked what we'd like to drink. We both asked for a vodka red bull and she went to get them. I had a look around and noticed a giant man with a bald head. He must have been about 6 foot 7 and quite large in body weight. The reason why I noticed him more than anyone was because he had a giant teddy bear sat next to him. I decided to go over and meet the bear.

I shook the bears hand and the guy just gave me a funny look. I asked him where he was from and he said Finland. The conversation stopped there, I did try and talk with him but he was having none of it, he seemed quite a boring bastard so no wonder he had a teddy bear as company. He then moved on, walking past bar after bar and then disappeared from my view. I went back over to Neil and said “well that was stimulating”

We had a couple more drinks in this bar and before we knew it, it was 2 AM and everywhere was closing. I asked Neil if he wanted a picture of this girl because he wouldn't get to see her again as our last night would be spent in Ministry Of Sound. We asked the girl where it was and told her that we'd asked taxi drivers but they never seemed to know or even heard of it. She told us it was on Soi 12, just a bit further up the road. I got a picture of her and Neil together, we both shook her hand and said goodbye. She seemed a little sad as we were leaving, I think she really did generally like Neil and she knew she would never see him again.

As we walked through all the closing bars, I asked Neil if he fancied waiting for those two girls we'd met earlier, he said yes, so we made our way out of Nana Plaza and went to sit across the street, in the same place we were sat the previous night. Just as I was about to sit down I heard someone say “Mark” I turned round to see where it was coming from. I saw a girl just to the left of me. I looked at her for a second, she was smiling but I just couldn't figure out who it was. When she came closer it hit me, she was the girl I’d met in the first bar we went into just a few hours earlier. She came up to me and said “don’t you recognise me” I laughed and said “well you're wearing a jacket, so you look different” she laughed and hit me on the arm, telling me “I can’t believe you didn’t recognise me” I said I was sorry, she just smiled and stuck her tongue out. The other girl that was talking to Neil then joined us. We asked where they wanted to go and one of them needed the bathroom, so we walked over to the Nana Hotel and waited outside there. The girl Neil was with, C, went inside and we waited for her. I noticed that lots of people were coming out of this hotel and I asked the girl I was with why it was so busy. She told me there was a night club at the back of this hotel and it had just closed. I looked at the people coming out and there were lots of westerners and Thai girls. Some girls were with guys and others weren't. I did notice that there were a lot of guys with 2 and even 3 girls. Just then C came back out. We asked what they would like to do and C said she was hungry and would like to go to Foodland and get something to eat. As we started to walk across the car park of the Nana Hotel, the girls said to us to keep a distance behind them because if the manager of their bar saw them with us, they would get in trouble. I didn’t think it was strange, after all, the manager would have seen us in his bar earlier that night talking to the girls. They said they would walk ahead and they would meet us at the bottom of the road just near some traffic lights. We said fine and off they went. It now gave me and Neil the chance to talk about what we were going to do. We weren't really sure what we were doing, but we both decided to go with the flow and see what happened.

After a few minutes we started walking. It was about 2.30 AM but everywhere we looked there were lots of people moving around. Beer bar girls, GO-GO bar girls, groups of guys, lone guys, you name it, they were here. Some going home, some hanging around. It was like your typical Friday or Saturday night in your home country when the pubs and clubs have shut, but different, if that makes sense? We got to the bottom of the street and we saw the girls, they saw us and looked up the street towards Nana Plaza, they gave us a nod to signal that everything was ok and they waited for us to catch up with them. We crossed the road together and once on the other side, the girl I was with grabbed my hand and put it into hers. It always surprised me when I saw a Thai girl doing that; you would see it all the time. It happened to me the previous year and it was happening again now. I had come to believe that generally, Thai girls didn’t do that sort of thing, but bar girls did. To me it was like they were saying to everyone around them “he's mine, so back off” it always worked though because you never got a girl saying hello to you if you were with another girl. Even when you walked past all the beer bars with girls outside, they never said a word to you, but if you were on your own or with a friend, it would be a case of “hellooooo” it was like there was some secret bar girl code.

We arrived at Food land and went inside. Just like in the streets, it was very busy. To the right of us as we went through the main doors, there was a kind of small bar with seats around it, behind the bar they were serving food and all the seats around this bar were full, there wasn’t a spare seat to be had. C, the girl Neil was with went over and ordered some food. Neil and I told the girl I was with that we were going to get a bottle of water each and said we would be back in a minute. She said ok and we went into the main part of Food land to look for water. It wasn’t too long till we found it. We chose our water, a litre bottle each and went up to pay. As I was in the queue I looked up and saw the girl I was with, she smiled and I smiled back. We paid for our water and we went to join her. We were stood there for a few minutes when C came up to us with a white plastic bag containing her meal. We left Food land and walked outside. By this time I was wondering what we were going to do now. Would we watch C eat on the street? Would we say goodbye to these girls? Would they want to come back to our hotel? Would we go back to where they lived? I tried not thinking about it but I couldn't lose the questions being asked in my mind. We walked back up to the main road and C hailed a taxi. It stopped in front of us and we all got in. I looked at Neil as we did and he had a look of worry on his face. Once in the taxi, C asked where we were staying, we told her our hotel and then she asked the taxi driver to take us there. I looked at Neil; Neil looked back at me with a look of shock. I then told C that we couldn't get in our hotel as it was a no guest policy; she told us it would be ok.

Well this was it. We had met these two girls a few hours earlier, had a nice chat with them, met them after they'd finished work, gone to Food land with them, we had gone with the flow, and now the flow was taking us back to our hotel with a no guest policy. It was happening too fast, both Neil and I knew it, both Neil and I didn’t know what to say, both Neil and I were scared shitless. We arrived at our hotel and paid the driver and we all got out. The place seemed really quiet; it didn’t look like anybody was around. We all walked in and made our way to the lifts, it was good, the coast was clear, we hadn't been seen, and things were going ok. Just as we reached the lifts we were swooped on from out of nowhere by a security guard. He looked at all four of us and then said to me and Neil “this way please” we followed him and he took us to the reception desk. I wanted out of there, I couldn't believe what I was doing, what was happening, was this a dream? Was this some kind of weird nightmare and I would wake up any second wanting a drink of water? I was about to ask Neil to pinch me when I heard a voice saying “two guests, that will be Baht 800 for each guest” I snapped out of my dream like state and looked up to see a male receptionist. Baht 800 was what it was going to cost for each extra guest. I looked at Neil and he nodded and said ok, I looked at the receptionist and said ok. I had to sign something and then I handed over Baht 1,600. He then asked the girls for their ID cards and they handed them over. Now at this point it becomes hazy, I didn’t take anything in, what was said I didn’t hear and if I did hear, I wasn’t paying attention. It was something to do with another room, but I just said one room. After that the receptionist said thank you and he gave me another key card, what for I do not know, and the security guard took us to the lifts. We all got in and I tried my card, it wouldn't work, I tried again, my hands were shaking, it still wouldn't work. Neil tried his and it was the same. The security guard saw our plight and did it for us, as the lift door closed he said goodnight. I’m sure I saw him wink but couldn't swear by it.

We got to our room and went inside. The girls took a quick look around and said how nice it was. Neil and I just sat on our beds. I put the TV on and stuck MTV on, maybe thinking a bit of background noise would make this situation easier, it didn’t work though. C asked Neil to get her a plate for her food which he did, he had to go back down to reception for it which I’m sure he was glad about, it gave him a little breathing space and for him to get his head around what was happening. I had a cig and sat on the bed watching them and watching MTV. They were both laughing and joking and sharing the food C had bought. Neil came back in with a plate and C emptied out the contents onto the plate. The two girls both got stuck in. I needed the toilet so up I got and went to the bathroom.

I came back out after a few minutes and the girl I was with was sat on my bed. I sat next to her and asked how she liked the hotel; she replied that it was very nice. I decided to get the camcorder out and asked the girls to say “hello England” they laughed and did just that. Then Neil said “how about a photo” it was like we were both stalling what we knew was going to happen. Neil took a photo of me and the two girls together. Then I sat back down on the bed and the girl sat with me. She then asked me if I was going to take a shower, I looked at her and said yes. I got up and went to have my shower, leaving all three in the bedroom. My shower didn’t take long, 5 minutes maximum. I came back out in the clothes I had been wearing instead of just a towel. As I sat back down on the bed, the girl I was with said she was going to go for a shower, I said fine. She went in her bag and got some things out, and then she put her hair up. When she put her hair up I thought she looked beautiful, I couldn't take my eyes off her. I noticed Neil watching her as well and I couldn't blame him, she was a very beautiful girl. She disappeared into the shower and I un-tucked the covers on my bed and got in, taking off my shorts and just leaving my boxers on, I also removed my top and lay there, watching MTV. I was nervous as hell.

If you were to ask my why I was so nervous, and indeed why Neil was so nervous, my answer would be a couple of reasons. For starters we were all in there together. All four of us were in this one room together. Our beds were so close that if I was to outstretch my arm, I’d be able to give Neil a nice massage without having to get out of my bed. The other reason was because I’d never done this before. My pervious year in Thailand had me meeting a girl and spending time with her, but we never did anything and now, here I was, here we were, all in the same room.

She came out of the shower with a towel wrapped around her. She did a little pottering around and then got in the bed with me. C then told Neil she was going to have a shower. This girl and I just lay there watching MTV. I talked to her a little and we discussed some of the music videos that were playing. C then came out of the shower and Neil then went it. I looked at this girl and she kissed me. I felt the soft skin on her arms and just looked at her, she looked back at me and we both smiled, laughed even. Neil then came out of the shower and we asked him to turn the lights off. I noticed that Neil looked as white as a ghost, he was scared to death. He turned off the lights, which just left the glow from the TV. I asked the girl if she wanted it leaving on, and in a way, I did want it leaving on; at least there would be a bit of sound in the background. But in the end we switched it off.

So here we were, here they were. It felt so surreal, so strange and exciting at the same time. I was very nervous but there was also a kind of excitement in what we were doing. I will spare you the details of everything that happened that night, but I will share a couple of little incidents with you. One of them being that as I was kissing this girl, her towel now long gone, I heard Neil get out of bed and head straight out the front door. I laughed and asked where he'd just gone to, C didn’t have a clue. After 10 minutes or so, Neil came back in the room and got back into bed. I asked him where he had been and he said he'd been down to reception to ask about another room, but he was told it would be Baht 2500 for the night, and that was money he wasn’t going to spend, especially for a few hours. Now as I’m kissing this girl my mind starts wandering and all I can hear is Neil kissing the girl he was with. My concentration and my mind were wandering all the time and I just couldn't keep my mind focussed. After about an hour and a half with this girl and with her above me, something happened. She suddenly let out a loud moan and started shaking. Because my mind wasn’t anywhere on this planet, I wondered what was going on. Suddenly she darted forward and started kissing me frantically and then moved her face to my shoulder and let out a loud sigh. I burst out laughing and then Neil and C started laughing and I asked her if she needed a doctor, I really thought she was having a heart attack or something. She started laughing and I just said to Neil “it’s like bloody comedy night” I more or less gave up after that because I just couldn't focus. I said that I was tired and would like to get a little sleep; she asked me if I was sure and I said yes. So we lay there, arms around each other. I heard Neil saying sorry to his girl, I wasn’t sure why.

Around 6 AM we both woke up, Neil and C were asleep and we decided to well, do it again. I will spare you the details again. We fell back asleep and at around 11 AM we both woke up again and decided to do it again. You may be thinking it was all my choice, but in fact, it was her that wanted to, or at least, her that made the first move each time we woke up. In the middle of this little session, the phone in the room started to ring. “Christ” I thought, "it’s always the damn way" I answered the phone and it was N, the girl who worked in MBK. She said she was sorry she hadn't been in touch and said she'd got my message and asked me if I would like to go and visit her at MBK that day. I said I’d love to and told her I would be there after 5 PM to see her. We said our goodbyes and I went back to the girl. She asked who it was and I told her.

We decided to go back to sleep and as sleep started to take me in it’s grip, I thought of the night I’d just had, the girl I’d met, this girl lying next to me with her arms around me, this girl who looked so peaceful and who was now fast asleep, and I smiled.

Day 5 (Bangkok)

I kept on drifting in and out of sleep. For some reason I was scared to fall asleep. It got to the stage where I was drifting off and something would make me wake up and I would kick out my leg or throw out my arm. A couple of times I hit the girl who was laying next to me. Not hard but it was enough to wake her up.

All four of us stirred around 2 PM. Neil was the first out of bed. I've never seen someone move so fast. As I lay there with this girl next to me, every so often she would kiss me and run her fingers through my hair (even though my head was shaved but for some reason, it was growing back at an alarming rate) I got to thinking about N who I would meet later that day. Like with K, I’d never met her in person, we'd just talked for months, exchanged pictures, phone calls. We were good friends and I couldn't wait to see her and spend a little time with her. I’d already told Neil all about her and he was looking forward to meeting her as well.

Neil came out of the shower and C then went in. The girl I was with and me of course were just laying in bed watching TV. After about 10 minutes C came out and got dressed, not in front of us mind you, in case you were thinking it. Neil then asked if we fancied going to the pool area in the hotel, we'd only seen it from our room window and he fancied going down and having a look, maybe get a little sun and have a cool drink. I said I’d need to get showered and dressed first and so did the girl I was with. I told Neil he should go down now and we'd follow shortly. That gave me a chance to spend a little time alone with this girl and speak to her one on one.

Neil and C left and I said we'd see them in a little while. The girl I was with then got up and went to get a shower. As I lay there thinking about the night I realised I couldn't actually remember her name. I do know she told me it, but only once, so for the life of me I couldn't remember it. I felt pretty bad about that really, and I know that if I told this girl I couldn't remember her name, she'd be a little upset. So I thought of the perfect plan to get it that would save any upset or embarrassment. The people reading take note if this ever happens to you because it’s such a perfect plan that it will never fail.

The girl came out of the shower and she got dressed. She came over and sat with me on the bed and asked how I was feeling. I told her I was fine and I was glad I’d met her. She smiled and kissed me. She asked me what I was doing that night and I told her of our plans to go to Ministry Of Sound and meet up with a couple of friends. She knew it was my last night in Bangkok and said she would miss me when I went. I didn’t know whether to believe her or not but she suddenly went quiet and looked at the TV. I asked her if she was ok and she didn’t say anything. I moved around the bed so I could see her face and I saw that she had tears in her eyes. I asked her what was wrong but she just shook her head and said nothing. I asked her if it was tears of joy because she was finally getting rid of me, she laughed a little but stayed quiet. I got a bit of the cover from the bed and wiped her eyes. I told her I’d miss her when I left but she called me a liar, well her exact words were “you lie” I told her it was the truth but I don’t think she believed me. This is where my plan came into action on how to find out her name. I knew she'd only have to tell me once more and I would remember. I just think the combination of too many vodka red bulls and all the excitement of the night had contributed to me not remembering. I grabbed my mobile phone and said to her that I’d like her number and I would call her when I got to Phuket. She smiled and wrote down her number on a piece of paper. I picked up the paper and put her number in my phone. I then asked her how would be the best way to put her name in my phone. Should I use her full name or the shortened version? The plan worked and she said the best way to put in her name would be to call her T, the shortened version. I said fine and I put the name in my phone. I promised her I’d ring her when I got to Phuket and I got settled in. She shook her head and said that I wouldn't want to talk to her again. I couldn't really believe she was saying this stuff. Was she saying it for the sympathy? To clutch at my heart strings? To cheat me out of money? Had she said this to each and every guy she's met before? Was it just bar girl lines? Or did she generally like me and didn’t want me to leave? I didn’t really know and I didn’t really want to think about it. After the previous year and the way I’d felt when I had to leave, I didn’t want that to happen again, I wanted to believe I’d become a little more hardened. I was still the same person; I still treated each girl I came into contact with, with respect and I always would continue to do that, but I would like to think, or think at the time this was happening, that I’d learnt a few things about the way a bar girl works. Some lied, some told the truth, but the things is, you could never really tell which ones were genuine and which ones weren't because they were all just as convincing as each other. I decided to get a shower. I made sure she was ok before I went into the bathroom and she said she was fine. She did look very sad though.

I had a 10 minutes shower and came back out and got dressed. She was stood by the window looking down at Neil and C who were around the pool. I asked her if she was ready and she said yes. We left the room and went to join Neil and C. After lots of searching I managed to find the pool area. C was now sat in the shade while Neil was on one of the sun lounges. T and I joined C and I asked them if they wanted a drink, they both said no and I shouted over to Neil if he wanted a drink, he said he would like some water. I ordered the water and we sat down. We talked a little bit, T played with my phone and I played with hers. She said she wanted my phone and could we swap, I told her I’d think about it.

We finished our waters and looked at the time; it was now going on for 4 PM. We decided to leave and go back to our room. I really needed to set off to go and see N as it was getting late. We went up to our floor in the lifts and saw that room service were cleaning our room. So we sat on a couple of chairs that were situated just a little away from our room. We got the camcorder out and did a little filming. T and C both said hello to the camera and laughed a little. After putting it away, the camera that is, room service had now moved on and we went back in our room.

Money had not been discussed at all. We hadn't paid a bar fine for these girls because we'd met them after they had finished, but both Neil and I thought it would only be right to give them something, I’m sure we could have gotten away with not giving them anything, but I know I would have felt very bad about doing that.. Neil asked me how much I was going to give and I told him Baht 1500, which I thought was quite fair. Neil looked a bit shocked and said he was only thinking of giving C Baht 500. I told him to stop being a cheap skate so he ended up giving her Baht 2000.

It was time for us to leave. I told them I just needed to do a couple of things first, so Neil ended up going down with them and saw them off in a Taxi. C and Neil went down first leaving T and me alone for a second. I told her I’d really enjoyed meeting her. She through her arms around me very tightly and wouldn't let go. She started crying again, I could feel her tears soaking through my top. I looked at her and wiped away the tears with my hand. I said I’d keep in touch. She said she would like to come into Ministry of sound that night and see me. I said if she wanted to do that, then I would be in there till it shuts. We kissed goodbye and eventually she let go off me and I waved as she walked away. Just as the door was closing she looked back and smiled. Then she was gone.

I went to the bathroom first and then came back out and grabbed my cat and sunglasses, plus a little money just in case. The door then opened and Neil came in. I didn’t expect him back but he said he'd forgotten to bring some money out with him. We were alone now and I asked him how he felt. He told me how weird that night felt to him. Having me and T in the bed next to him had been one experience he wouldn't like to repeat. I told him the exact same thing. He also told me he'd actually had a panic attack, that's why he ended up leaving the room. He said the last time he'd had one of those was about 15 years ago. I knew he was scared, hell, I was scared but I didn’t realise he was that scared. I asked him if he was ok now and he said yes. We got our money and then we left the hotel. As we walked down the steps on the hotel, the man at the doors asked us if we wanted a taxi. We decided to say yes, it would save us walking onto the main road and looking for one. So he got a man outside to call for a taxi. Within seconds there was one there. We got in and asked him to take us to MBK. It was now time to meet N and I couldn't wait.

*For the sake of this story and to protect the privacy on N, I have changed her place of work*

We got to MBK after about 15 minutes. The driver actually took us all the way to the back of the building where the car park is and dropped us off there. We paid him and went inside. N had told me what floor she worked on, but before we went there, we decided to get something to eat at MD’s on the ground floor. I was now getting bored on MD’s and I’m sure Neil was as well, but, it wouldn't be the last time we ate their on this holiday, we both knew that but didn’t say anything. We ordered our meal and ate. Again, the place was busy with office girls and school students. After we finished our meal we made our way to the floor N said she worked on. We went up the escalators, then some more, and then some more until eventually we were on the floor we were heading for. N worked at Mc Donalds, so it was just a case of looking for it. As we started walking we saw a very small branch of MD’s. I said to Neil that she couldn't work there; it must be a bigger one. So we carried on walking. It was pretty busy on this floor. Everyone seemed to have finished work and school and they were now here. As we walked further down the floor, a girl in a MD’s uniform walked past us, we looked at her and she looked at us. I told Neil that it must be further down here because she had come from that way. We got to the end and saw no MD’s at all. We walked all the way round but there was no MD’s. So we decided that it must be the one we had seen when we first got to that floor. We walked back the way we had come and eventually we got there. There was a lad and two girls working there. One of the girls had her back to us and was doing something on one of the machines. I asked the girl in N was here. The girl working on the machine turned around. I noticed it was the same girl who had walked past us earlier. She said “I’m N” then she smiled and said “are you mark?” I said yes and we started laughing. She came around the booth and she gave me a hug.

Let me start by saying that N was beautiful, absolutely beautiful. She looked so different from the picture I’d seen of her. I thought she was nice in that but seeing her face to face she looked 1000 times more beautiful. She never stopped smiling. I introduced her to Neil and she shook his hand. She said she didn’t think she'd get to see me before I left, but I told her I had to see her at least once and I was happy that I’d finally met her. She then said she could take a break and asked us if we'd like to get a coffee. We both said fine and she said she'd just be a second. She went back to where she worked and I sad to Neil “what do you think” his only words were “wow” she came back round and took us to a small coffee shop. We found a seat just near the window and someone came over with a menu. I didn’t have a clue what to get or even where to start. N knew straight away what she wanted and after a few minutes, Neil chose something and I just said I’d have the same. N did all the ordering for us and we sat there waiting for our drinks. N asked us how we were finding Thailand so far and we both told her some stories about what we'd been up to and how we were finding it. She never took her eyes off us, her smile never faded. This was so much more different to the way K had been and it made a very pleasant change. N told us about her new puppy and how it was keeping her awake at night. Our drinks came and I started to drink mine through the straw. It was a cold coffee with all kinds of toppings. I drank mine a little too fast and instead of brain freeze, I got stomach freeze. I thought I was going to die. N laughed out loud at me in pain, so did Neil. We carried on talking and we told Nat we were going to Ministry of sound that night for our final night in Bangkok. I told her we were meeting K there and I asked her if she'd like to go. She said she'd love to but she didn’t finish work till 11, but she would still like to go. I told her that if she wanted, we would meet her after work and we would all get a taxi together, she smiled and said that would be fine.

I couldn't believe it, she was just the best thing ever. I just wanted to fold her up, put her in my suitcase and take her back to the UK with me. She was just perfect in every way possible. Beautiful, such a warm smile, happy, funny, always interested in what we had to say. You just couldn't find a more perfect person to spend some time with. We finished our drinks and she asked is where we would like to go. I was thinking she would go back to work, but instead, she wanted to spend some more time with us. We said we'd like to find the quicksilver shop that is supposed to be in Siam Square somewhere. She said she would help us find it. We asked for the bill, paid and then we were on our way. She just had to make a quick stop at work to tell the staff she was popping out for a little while.

We made our way out of MBK. I told her about us shopping her the previous two days and she asked how we had found it. We told her busy and confusing. She laughed. We got outside and made our way to Siam Square. Once there she asked us again what the shop was called, we told her and she went and asked a security guard. He didn’t know but he suggested asking another security guard. We found the one he was talking about but he didn’t know. So N then told us she would get a piece of paper and a pen and we should write down the name and she would ask a few people. She found a shop and went inside and got the paper and pen. Neil wrote down the name and we went looking for it. She stopped at a small building and went inside. It seemed to be a building that security got changed in. She asked a few of them and then came out and said that she thinks it may have closed down. We walked a little further and she asked another security guard. He confirmed that the shop had now closed down and moved somewhere else, but he didn’t know where. Well, we gave up, but we thanked N for being a great help to us. She then asked if we would like to go to Pantip Plaza which is a small shopping centre that sells everything from cheap fake CDs and DVDs, to computer hard drives at rock bottom prices. I asked her if she would be ok as we didn’t want her to get in trouble for being out of work all this time. She said it was fine and she would like to take us. We agreed and we went to find a taxi. Being the time it was, about 6.30 PM, we couldn't get a taxi anywhere. N kept on laughing at Neil and I because we were getting very hot, she just found it hilarious. After 20 minutes though, we got lucky and we found one, air con at last. We all got in and N told the taxi driver where to go.

We arrived about 25 minutes later and went inside. I was surprised how big it actually was. It looked to me like there were 4 floors, but I could be wrong. There were so many computer shops and CD shops it was hard to know where to start. But as N had been here before many times, we let her lead the way. We found a shop selling DVDs and Neil had a look through some of the films. Terminator 3 had just opened up in Thailand that night and here was the film itself, already on a copied DVD. Neil couldn't resist and bought it. We looked around a little more at the many different shops. I saw graphics cards, hard drives, mother boards. Everything to build your own computer. It was an amazing place. After having a good look around and taking a couple of pictures, we decided to leave and to also let N get back to work. We told her we would meet her outside MBK at 11 PM and I would call her to let her know we were there. We said our goodbyes, and thanked her for showing us around and taking the time to do it. She then left and got in a Tuk Tuk. We crossed the road and tried getting a taxi. But every taxi that stopped, they wouldn't turn the meter on. It was due to the place we were and the traffic that we would hit. So after 5 attempts to get a taxi that would switch on the metre, we thought sod it and we just got in one without a metre. We told the driver where to go and we headed for our hotel. It only took about 15 minutes, and during that time, the driver told us he was a policeman and working in a taxi for extra money. We gave him Baht 100 and he seemed happy enough. We went into the hotel and then went straight to our room. I decided to call K and tell her that my friend N would be coming along with us. She didn’t seem to mind and said she would meet us in the club. I told her I would phone her when we arrived. I also doubled checked where the place was, and which Soi it was one. She checked with her friend and sent me a text back with the details.

It was now going on for 9 PM, we decided to leave around 10.30 PM and pick up N. We had an hour and a half to kill so we just chilled out in front of the TV and talked. We discussed N and we both loved her to bits. I had bought N a couple of my mixes from the UK and was going to give them to her tonight. We also talked about the girls we'd met and said goodbye to today. I told her how T had cried and he told me that C had a daughter to a Thai boyfriend who had been killed in a road accident a couple of years ago. C was working in the bar so she could send money to her daughter and family, even though C had just recently bought a gold bracelet from China town at a cost of Baht 14,000 and T was working in the bar to support her through uni and also for her family. We didn’t really know what to think about these stories. Obviously money is the key factor for working in the bars, they don’t do it because they love their jobs and whistle when they get up each day because they love their jobs so much. But I believed T was in Uni, I’d seen her card and I couldn't see any point in her having a fake card to show people, what would be the point? And I didn’t doubt that C had a daughter, what would be the point in lying about that? So we believed them, they were nice girls and we had enjoyed spending some time with them.

We both had our showers and got changed. It was time to leave and pick up N. We got our money and passports, just in case we were asked for ID and we also took our cameras. We left the room and went downstairs. The man at the door asked us if we would like a taxi and again we said yes. The taxi arrived in seconds and we told him to head off to MBK. The taxi driver on the way there was about to show us his leaflet with girls on it, but I saw him change his mind and he put it back in his pocket. I didn’t ask him why he'd changed his mind; perhaps he thought we were gay.

We arrived at MBK in 10 minutes. We found our way to the front and I rang N to tell her we were waiting for her. At first, when I spoke to her, I thought she said she had changed her mind and my heart sank a little, but I got my wires crossed. All she said was that she hadn't finished yet and would be out in about 15 minutes. I said ok and that we'd see her soon. Neil wondered if this was the right place to wait and I said it must be because all the workers were coming out this way. He wanted to put his mind at rest so he said he would have a look around the building just in case. Off he went leaving me there on my own. A couple of people came up to me; one was a tuk tuk driver and the other a taxi driver. They asked where I was going and I just told them I was waiting for my friend to finish work. One of them said “you wait for lady” and started laughing. I just nodded my head and said yes. He walked off laughing.

After 10 minutes Neil came back, sweat pouring off him and he said to me “I think this is the place, everywhere else is shut” so we waited. I had a couple of cigs. At around 11.20 PM, N came out. She was with another girl who I recognised. She was the girl who was working in MD’s when I asked if N was there. N said bye to her and the girl giggled and went off in the opposite direction to us. We started walking to the main road and I asked N how her day was. She said it was busy as everyone was seeing Terminator 3 at the cinemas they have on the 7th floor. I asked her if she had been to ministry of sound before and if she was looking forward to it. She said she hadn't and was looking forward to seeing it. I realised I’d forgotten to bring out the CDs I wanted her to have. So I told her we'd go back to the hotel to get them and then we would go to the club. She said that would be fine because she also needed to change her top. We got a taxi straight away and N told him which hotel to go to. The journey took about 10 minutes. We paid and got out. We all went inside and I said I’d be back in a minute and went up to the room. N said she would change in the toilets of the hotel. I was back down again in a few minutes and Neil was sat in the lobby. I sat with him and we waited for N. After 5 minutes of waiting she came back out and she looked gorgeous, absolutely gorgeous. Mine and Neil's eyes nearly popped out of our heads. I shown her the CDs and she asked me to keep hold of them as they wouldn't fit in her bag and she didn’t want to lose them.

We left the hotel and got the man to call us a taxi again. It came about a minute later and we were on our way. N told him where to go after we told N where the club was. We got to Sukhumvit Soi 12 in about 5 minutes. We paid and got out. We didn’t have a clue where to go so I asked some guys who were stood outside a shop. They pointed out that it was just up the Soi we had been dropped off at. We started walking up the street and there it was, Ministry Of Sound Bangkok. I've been to the one in London a few times and I couldn't wait to see this one. We started walking in the club and we all got searched with a metal detector. We didn’t get asked for ID but N did. We walked inside and we had to pay Baht 400 each to get in. I paid for N. Just before we went inside I phoned K to let her know we were here. I let it ring a few times and then we went inside.

Jesus it was loud. I've been to some loud clubs in my time but none of them compared to this. I loved it. As we walked further inside I saw K. She had come up to meet us at the door and she led us to where she was sat with her friend. She never even introduced us to her friend. I introduced N to K and they both smiled and said hello to each other. Neil then asked what we wanted from the bar. N asked for a coke and I asked for a Singha. N and I sat down on the table next to K’s. I asked her what she thought and all she could say was “it’s loud” and she covered her ears with her hands. I started laughing. There were a lot of people inside and I couldn't believe how many westerners there were. I’m sure all the westerners knew what Ministry Of Sound was, after all, clubbing is very big in the west, in particular Europe. I asked K what she thought of it and she said she liked it. I couldn't be arsed asking her anything else, I’d more or less lost all interest in K, and in a way, I was glad I saw the real her. She'd turned from a really nice person who I respected and was glad to call a friend, someone who I couldn't wait to meet, into a complete stranger I wouldn't give my small change too. I felt sad that things had turned out that way, but there was only one person to blame for that, and it was her and until she changed from that person, I really didn’t want to be bothered with her.

Neil came back with the drinks. It was pretty hot in the club so I was getting thirsty. That first drink went down very well. I decided to have a look around the club and take a few pictures. I told Neil and N where I was going. My first port of call was the DJ stand. I went into it and asked the lighting man if it was ok to take a couple of pictures, he said it was ok. I felt at home up there, in front of the decks and in front of all the clubbers. I got a couple of pictures of the DJ and then went around the club taking various shots from different angles. I then went back to Neil and N and sat back down. Neil decided to take some pictures himself and off he went.

When Neil came back I asked N if she fancied going to a quieter part of the club so we could all have a chat. She said ok and the three of us left in search of somewhere quiet, after all, where we were sat was at the back of one of the speakers. We found the chill out room and I sat down. I asked N how this was and she said it was too quiet, Neil and I laughed and we went back to where we were sat in the first place. K then turned around and asked me how I liked it, I said it was great. Neil and I then decided to have a look around again. N said she would be ok on her own and would look after our seats. K then turned to N and they started having a conversation in Thai. Neil and I went up some stairs and we were now overlooking the club. It was amazing, we couldn't believe we were here and how loud it actually was. We took some more pictures and went back down the stairs and saw a bar just underneath these stairs. We went to it and asked for a couple of beers. I noticed some boxes of matches just to the side. They had Ministry Of Sound Bangkok printed on them, so I took a box as a souvenir, Neil did the same. We paid for our drinks and went back to where N and K were. They were still talking so we stood there for a while taking it all in. Neil then said he was going on the dance floor for a bit of a dance.

Before we knew it, it was more or less closing time and the DJ played the last song of the night. Neil was now back and I was sat down next to N. It was Underworld “born slippy” it sounded so great and so loud. N had her ears covered for the whole song. When the song had finished all the lights came on. I thought it would be the perfect time to get a couple of pictures of N and K. So Neil took one of N, K and I, then I took one of K and Neil and then I took another of N. We then said to K we were going and she wished us luck with our plane journey to Phuket in the morning. We said our goodbyes and left.

For N to get a taxi home from where we were, it would take her an hour, if she got the bus, it would take her two hours. I told N that Neil and I would pay for her Taxi. She said no at first but I told her we wanted to because she had been such a star to Neil and I that it would be the least we could do. We gave her Baht 600 and she said that would be fine. I also gave her the CDs. We walked down to the main road and went over the bridge to get to the others side and hailed a couple of taxis. N said she would listen to the CDs straight away when she got home. I told her I’d ring her from Phuket and she smiled. We said goodbye to N and thanked her once again. She then got in her taxi and was gone. Both Neil and I felt said to see her go.

We got in our taxi and asked him to take us to our hotel. On the way there we were feeling pretty hungry, we knew the 7-11 was still open and we decided we'd get some food from there. So we asked the taxi driver to stop just before we got to our hotel which he did. We paid and walked to the 7-11. We both got a sandwich each and some water and also a little pastry things with chicken inside. We paid and made our way back to the hotel.

Once we got back in our room I told Neil I would set my alarm on my phone for 7.00 AM. We were being picked up at 8.30 AM and we still needed to do our packing. Just then the hotel phone rang and I picked it up, it was T. I was pretty surprised to get her call, but it was nice to hear her voice again. She asked about our night and what we thought of the club, I told her all about it. She then asked what time we were leaving in the morning and I told her we were being picked up at 8.30 AM. She said that she would like to come down and say goodbye. I said that would be really nice of her to do, she laughed a little. I asked her if C would also be coming and she said yes. T said she would be there about 8 AM to see me and I said I would look forward to it. I said goodbye and put the phone down. Neil and I looked at each other and raised our eye brows. We talked a little about the night, about K and N and the girls coming to see us off. We talked about our time in Bangkok and how much we had enjoyed it. We were both really tired because of the 4 days of madness but we both agreed we'd be sad to leave this city. Tomorrow we would fly to Phuket for 8 nights and Bangkok would just be memories and every one of them a good one, well, apart from the mad Thai man who thought we hated Thai people.

As we got into bed and turned off the lights, I gave a silent thank you to Bangkok for making me feel so welcome, so alive and so happy and above all else for showing me a great time that would stay in my heart forever.

To be continued……

Thanks for reading,

Stickman says:

No comments from me as I've had not time to read it yet. But given that I liked the first lot of reports, I'm sure I'll enjoy this!

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