Discovering the world on $20 per day ......................

Post 316: Homeward Bound

It felt a little strange travelling back to Bangkok. I’d grown very attached to my Honda Wave, but now I was relegated to the bus. To be fair, it was a very nice bus, but it was still a bus. ‘Chan Tour’, the cream of luxury coach travel in Thailand. Thai TV, air conditioning, stewardess service, massaging seats and a toilet only for the petite and the brave. Four hours to cover 200 Km, four hours with a monk asleep in the seat next to me, his head resting on my shoulder and snoring like a horse. I’m not familiar with any etiquette concerning the waking of sleeping monks, so I suffered in silence and tried to see the funny side. The bus service to Bangkok is twice as fast as the train and at just 230 Baht (£4.20) for a one-way ticket, if your not ringing the neck of an under-powered motorbike, then it’s the only way to travel.

The Red Shirt’s were supposed to be dispersing. I’d read that piece of news on the BBC’s website, but clearly the protestors hadn’t. I’d been away from the camp for less than a week and in that time it had actually grown in size. A new Thai family had taken over the small piece of pavement where I’d previously slept, squatters squatting on my squat. Last week I’d felt welcome here, but now I feel like the outsider that I clearly am. At the barricades, where once the unofficial guards had shared food and water with me, the black uniformed militant elements now patrol. Outside of the barricades, the soldiers now stand guard 24 hours a day. They’re little more than kids with big guns and small incomes and not an officer in sight. I get the feeling that the situation is about to get very ugly again. I’d intended to stay within the camp for my last night in Thailand, but it seems that the friendly people have already left and while I might be a little slow, I’m certainly not stupid. Time to find a cheap hotel.

On Sukhumvit Soi 12, I walk to my favourite restaurant. I’ve eaten here several times. In Poor Circulation terms it’s quite expensive, but this is my last night in Thailand and the food is absolutely delicious. It’s name is 'Cabbages & Condoms' and it was established by Thailand’s former Minister for Health.

Aside from it’s role as one of Bangkok’s finest restaurants, 'Cabbages & Condoms' was established in order to provide revenue for a program of sexual education across Thailand. Back in August 2009, I brought Hannah and Tassaneeya here. As soon as they’d seen the sign 'Cabbages and Condoms' they’d probably thought that I was bonkers, but once inside they’d loved every morsel of food and every minute of the experience. I said that it was expensive, but everything’s relative. A meal and several beers cost me around 500 Baht (£10), which in most other parts of the world would be something of a bargain.

At the end of the meal, instead of receiving the usual after dinner mint, each diner is given a complimentary condom. It’s a humorous touch, but with my recent relationship record, a cabbage would probably be much more useful …. mai pen rai

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