Bangkok or Bust
Chiang Mai to Bangkok
Setting off from Lopburi
I was out of bed and up early, glad to be saying good riddance to the Hotel Ovenbake and leaving it to the ants and dragon women, I held the throttle is held wide open for the first ten minutes or so just to purge myself of the place once and for all.
I didn't look back at this place and was glad to be shaking the dust from my heels to be brutally honest.
Just a short blast to the next city now, no rain now thank God. A few lumping clouds floating about gray and threatening but not a drop falls. I think this might mark the last day of the rainy season.
Arrival in Saraburi
Compared to Lopburi, Saraburi is a major provincial city, the close proximity to Bangkok helps with this and there are plenty of shops and sprawling commercial outlets far and wide here. There I spot a Thai script only hotel and think my luck's in. It's on the main road and looks promising. I pull up and do a kind-of U-turn to ride the pavement to the very doors of the place, dodging people and stalls. Hoping this is all worth it I step inside.
I feel like I've stepped back in time to the 1960s. An old doddering dude comes shuffling out having just finished mopping the floors! He walks behind the counter, he's none other than the reception man as well!
Admiring the fact that multi-trades are still alive and well in Asia we start negotiating rates. I go for an air-con room at a bargain basement rockin' 260 baht per night. I decide, on a whim, to look over the room first. A bellhop, who doesn't offer to carry my bags, (I'm not suprised) is summoned. As we leave the lobby behind I glance behind me and, to my suprise, notice a switchboard circa 1960s gathering dust but still in working order! Resisting the urge to fiddle and mess with it I carry on up the stairs.
There's no hot water but for the price I'm not too bothered about that, besides which, if you get your timing right at the hotest part of the day it's usually not too unpleasant.
A Sojurn at the Hotel Babylon
I get to the hotel, a chinese-owned one with more of a late 1980s/90s feel. The rates are not too bad, 450 baht a night with all the trimmings. I know I'm getting close to Bangkok when the reception man makes a somewhat risque proposition concerning his massage girls and a few hours of their company! I name the place the Hotel Babylon, it has a certain garish and sleazy appeal. Undeniably a pretty looking place, but the subtle signs like the gaudy curtains and thick atmosphere. On one level it could be considered a low-key bordello whorehouse for residents. It is clean and Chinese operated, so I knew there would be no bs, and it also catered to Bachelors like myself, with Kareoke, massage parlour area, lifts and dining area.
I go for a mornings exploration and, to my suprise, I sight a steakhouse on the outskirts, south of the city. I've not eaten a steak in weeks and figure its time to splash out some of the hoarded funds on this one. I open the menu and order the finest steak (or at least the most expensive) in the house!
As a scale, an adults thumb is as long as the steak piece and it tasted overcooked and like chicken steak gone wrong. Too chewy, bland and fairly tastless. Overpriced? Definately!
It was a buzz around the city then, making my last rounds before the final showdown in Bangkok.
The mindset on the locals in small provincial cities is radically different to that in the Capitol. The children seem to be taught differently about foreigners, or at least their attitude and blaise racist comments seem to show a lack of education. Such is the younger generation of Thais it seems. The little brats seem to inhabit a PC gamer world of shoot-each other relentlessly. Now I'm all for a bit of action and adventure on the video game world. But we're talking a cheap Half-life clone 'shoot the other players before they shoot you, over and over, very little skill involved apart from spray and pray, throw a grenade etc etc ad nauseum.' Give them Silent Hunter III or anything involving actual brain power and they'd probably be on the floor a gibbering wreck! The scary thing is all over Thailand the whole LAN gaming scene is probably sowing the seeds for an entire generation of thai boys who will like to inherently fight over reason every time. Hey, maybe I shouldn't be too critical of them though, they way they are going on will probably mean when it's time for mia nois in my 50s the Thai women will not want anything to do with them! Just being overly critical there folks, don't take what I mean too seriously.
I left the cyber cafe and headed back to the Hotel Babylon for an early night, got a knock at the door, it was some older Thai woman asking if I wanted a Thai lady! The Hotel Babylone certainly is trying its best in attaining customer satisfaction have no doubt!
The Farang Factor: Didn't spot one. Which is suprising given its proximity to Bangkok. (The cyber kids have probably scared them away WR - Ed)
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