I left off before in the Korean BBQ restaurant with Mongolian-New Yorker Billy, a UK lad called Dale, and my good friend Roy, a Sri Lankan-Dutch chain-smoker with the biggest eyes you’ve ever seen. We hit up the Khao San Road in typical traveller fashion. Anytime after dusk, the street stalls are replaced by makeshift cocktail bars, propped up on the street everywhere. Buckets of Sangsom whiskey and cheap vodka with sugary syrup Red Bull are practically given away every ten yards. It’s no wonder Western tourists stumble drunkenly up and down the street until the sun comes up. We went to play pool, chalked up the cues and our cheekbones (at my suggestion, for extra winning power…it worked), and drank some more. What is it about boys and pool? They get horrifically competitive… Later on, war paint still intact, we ventured further down Khao San where I ran into a ship captain I’d shared a taxi with from the airport. More people seemed to keep joining our group, which meant more people bought more buckets of more Sangsom and more people got more drunk. Except me. Apparently it IS only wine that makes me go funny in the head. The evening ended around 6 hours later after some quality time with French-Canadian trapeze circus artist and a shisha pipe, with Dale vommiting everywhere before trying to convince me to kiss him. Hm. I appreciated my air conditioned room at Lucky Guest House, but wasn’t quite so fond of the round-the-clock roadworks going on under my window. You win some, you lose some…
Bangkok is the kind of city you can spend a couple of days in, and love. Much more than that would probably send you running for the first flight to Mumbai (believe me, that’s extreme..) Fortunately, however, I only had two days to kill in Thailand’s capital, and I certainly kept myself busy the next day with the tasty street food stalls and numerous shopping opportunities. Massages are rarely more than 300 bath (not even £5) and whilst they’re not quite the luxurious affairs you might get in the west (more on that later..), you can’t really say no to an hour’s Thai massage for a handful of small change. As I wandered from buying yet another cotton print dress into a pleasant looking massage place, my trajectory was interrupted by a heavily moustachio’d Indian with a turban bigger than his swollen belly. “I can tell you your future,” he warned me. “I bet you can’t,” I thought, but why not humour him.
The overweight man scribbed something on a piece of paper. “Now, I can prove to you that I can read your mind. If I prove to be right, then you know that I speak the truth and I will read your future.” Well, I supposed that was fair enough. I didn’t realise he would waste ten minutes of my precious time, of course, but retrospect can be an ugly thing – it usually leads to regret. “I have written a number on this piece of paper, it could be any number, but it is a number that you will choose. It will show you that I am in tune with your mind. You have good aura. A very good aura. I feel that I can read you well.” He obviously hadn’t read the fact I wasn’t going to be handing him over any money. By this point, he had walked us away from the main street into an emaciated alleyway, tight and winding, which the fellow could barely fit in. “OK, you must pick a number between 3 and 6.” I chose 5. He opened the paper he’d balled into the palm of his sweaty hand. Well, shock! Horror! Quelle suprise! The paper bore a large scrawled number 5 in the centre of it.
“See?!” he exclaimed, with genuine suprise. He seemed disappointed that I wasn’t impressed. I pointed out to to him that as I was only allowed to choose a number between 3 and 6 that he had a 25% chance of guessing my number correctly and thus I really wasn’t all that impressed and he certainly shouldn’t expect me to be even slightly impressed with such hihg odds. He grabbed my hands, closed his eyes and muttered something else about this apparent good aura that’s infected me. I considered not wearing Jean Paul Gaultier’s Classique again. He asked me to write down the first letters of my parents names, fold the paper and press it into his hands. I was getting weary of his lame guessing games, but being English, I can’t just tell someone to fuck off unless I’ve had a few drinks, so I retained my polite facade and followed his instructions. “Now give some money,” he coaxed.
“No,” I replied. There’s a limit to my politeness after all. “You must. Just give whatever you can afford,” he replied, eyes closed, his hands cupping mine. “You’re having a laugh, I’m not giving you any money, you’re talking shit.” I retorted. Which, to be fair, was all true. But he didn’t quite see my point of view. This is where my size won out compared to his immense girth as I skipped back through the maze of side streets and he got caught behind one obstacle after another.