John Wayne wouldn’t be happy

So I went to the pharmacy, explained the symptoms with some actions. First I was offered K-Y. Haven’t used that for a few years, I’ll have you know. Then she gives me Rosiden with Feldene as the active ingredient. Feeling slightly unsure of her advice, I perused the internet to check.

Well it would cure a lot of things. Including my pension plans, vain attempts at ever buying a house, having kids or getting married. should I put this on the open wound….

Symptoms & Signs

* Body as a whole

* Unsteadiness

* Respiratory

* Slow, labored breathing

* Wheezing

* Eyes, ears, nose, and throat

* Ringing in the ears

* Blurred vision

* Skin

* Rash

* Gastrointestinal

* Nausea

* Vomiting

* Diarrhea

* Stomach or abdominal pain

* Possible loss of blood in the stomach and intestinal areas

* Heart and blood vessels

* Slow or rapid breathing

* Nervous system

* Severe headache

* Agitation

* Incoherence (not understandable)

* Confusion

* Coma

* Drowsiness

* Convulsions

sounds like my average sunday morning eh?


Being English, I’m used to enduring. We don’t complain about bad service, missing a train or England losing again. Hey, what’s the point? Not gonna change anything. But my recent experience in Bangkok stretched me to the limit. After spending the hot day sightseeing, musing and fatefully wearing jeans, I began to get the pain. Not being a wanker, the balls are rather hefty. After a while, my thighs were screaming.

Hobbling to the airport taxis after a few cheeky beers, my walk became almost bow-legged. Not looked like have ridden a horse but ridden by the horse. Naturally the taxi driver dropped me at the wrong end of the airport to pick up my bag and then my check in was at the drop off end. Of course where else would it be?

I bumbled for 30 minutes in the toilet, changing my clothes to reduce the burn but to no avail. By the time I my departure gate, I staggered on like a spastic with a distorted face. The hostess said hello, I grunted something back, spitting my words. My thighs are red-raw and literally bleeding.

Now, I put it down to my mighty balls, but maybe Tom’s parting comment could be closer. When he talked about meeting next year in Korea, he blurted “err, yeah, great. But err…next time Dan….lose some weight mate.” Back of the net.

Peace in a City of Chaos

Overlooking the traffic from my bus window perch, the craziness, thoroughbred chaos of Bangkok bustle rode on. Helmetless motorcyclists, in a city where one dies everyday, stream by, swoop in and out of lanes. Taxis and buses edge for any advantage, squeezing and jerking to claim that vital gap amongst the commuters and couriers. Jaywalkers sidle past cards, never more than a foot from harm. The heat pounds your body; the fumes cake your face coal.

But there’s a poetry or symmetry to this seeming anarchy. No one gets angry, clashes on the pavement. People wait for others to pass patiently. The occasional raised arm in frustration but precious little. Sure crime is a factor in Bangkok but those with some nouse get by easily.

People may die here everyday and people do become de-sensitised to it as I saw a few years ago when a biker died and there was a blasé feel amongst the Thais. Yet I feel very much alive in this city. Yesterday I moved slowly through the crowds, looked impassively at the faces. I can disappear here, in such a city, hum a thought like a Wong Kar-wai film. A quiet soul in the midst of Bangkok.

Man about town

Tom is without doubt a man about town. He was in Sheffield and now he is in Bangkok. The guy who knows everyone and who knows every bar. As he live in Bangkok now, he proved a great guide, taking me away from the usual tourist crap. Well….most of the time

Meeting Tom, he looked exactly the same as I last saw him, slightly drunk, with that smug-looking drunk smile, resting his elbow on a table, facing the street. the next night we headed out and tom showed me the town. I’ve been in Bangkok before, staying where all backpackers say, the paved, Starbucked Ko San Road, the mecca and artificial home of European 19 years looking to get drunk and laid. But Thailand has changed a little since I was last there. I remember waking up at 4pm trying to fathom what happened the previous night. Now in a lot of Thailand, the bars close at 1am, the streets are quiet at 2pm. It’s just very different and probably good for the future of young Thais.

Tom took me to one go-go bar where he was clearly a famous man, though he correctly professed to have only been there twice, though on famous occasions. We were shepherded to prime seats next to the mirror island stage as girls in zebra bikini tops, short, short skirts and no… pranced and danced. I didn’t really know where to look but it was funny and the funniest was the Japanese bearded dude who scowered the mirrors for a better view. Above the dance island was a glass ceiling and more girls dancing in the same attire. This was a funny place.

Tom has read up on the history, kept in contact with his politics and learnt the traditions. We went to small local bars on side streets in Tom’s area of town, full of locals and foreigners who don’t give a shit about whether you have money or not. Now that’s the Thailand I wanted to see and encouraged me to go back and work. Thank you Sir

Falling in Love

Sometimes it just happens I guess. Not planned, just happens. I haven’t chatted a girl up in my life. Never wanted to. Can’t be bothered. I don’t know how it happens but I know doing this in a bar or nightclub gets in between my beer and my friends. I don’t like that. Anyone who puts themselves before their friends is just an idiot.

Sex is not that important. Just overrated in today’s now now shallow modern society. Those who seek it as a pseudo-Holy Grail to life haven’t been laid enough or read a good book before. But falling in love, how ever it happens, well that’s cool.

The other week, waiting for Tom to get up, I headed out in Chang Mai for a quick haircut and passed the open door of a bookshop. The worker or owner was sitting, leaning against the wall, engrossed in her book as the cat lay strewn in the freshness of the morning rays. Without doubt, one of the few successes of backpackers is to have moved great books around the world. After my no-questions hairdresser had finished, I emerged with a military style crop and sidled up to the shop. The girl was gone but I picked up on a few things about myself;

1. I love books. I feel genuinely excited looking through them. Books are people’s work, maybe three years or even up to twenty years work if you count Joyce. I hate to see books bent and torn for this is a writer’s work. I’m not talking about your Jeffrey Archers here. I mean our real writers who write real books, creating and rewriting, never sure if it’s finished. My favourite quote about Archer was from Private Eye when he was sent to prison. When his wife asks him if he will write to her from prison, he replies “Of course not. I’ll get someone else to do that.”

2. This was a great bookshop. From Camus to Orwell, Morrison to Greene, the true greats were covered. To be surrounded by great books all day would be privilege money can’t buy. I picked up The Plague by Camus.

3. The girl who worked in that bookshop returned and proved to be the most beautiful girl I’ve seen in Thailand. She smiled and made me smile in shyness. God knows when that happened to me. On the last day, I returned to the shop to tell the girl what I thought about her. I stormed in, having pepped myself, walked up to the desk where she perched, breathed in to speak and then spied a fat guy sitting on a stool, hidden away, flicking through the Archer-esque books. I bottled it, checked out some books and saying goodbye.

So I tried and lost. But her smile will live with my travels for a long time I think. As for the fat guy, well it begins with c.