Tuesday, 10 August 2010

A sort of homecoming

Back in BKK is a bit like coming home now for us. Arrived Monday afternoon after a very early start in Hanoi and it felt strangely good to be hurtling along in an aircon cab decorated with Buddhas, amulets and foreign money pinned to the ceiling- back towards the Sawadee guest house. Strange that once we were installed again in the "sweet" we realised how shabby in fact this place is and how expensive for what you get.

So the day before we left Hanoi (Sunday) we finally thought let's finally get around to seeing Ho Chi Mihn's body in his mausoleum- as we seem to keep missing going there. We took a cab over and were dropped off in front of great huge concrete communist style square building with massive soviet stylee lettering HO CHI MINH on the top and the Red Viet flag with its gold star in front. Also in front was the longest queue we thought we'd ever seen until about 30 minutes walk later around the edge of the complex we came to the end of it and realised that this was indeed a longer queue than ever Clitheroe post office could boast on a Saturday morning. It liteally must have been over two miles long. Everyone in it was Vietnamese and the guy's been dead for years - so clearly paying one's respect is still a big draw.
Needless to say - no for us!

We found our way into the Botanical Gardens and marvelled at the 10s and 10s of just married couples posing for photo shoots in all their plastic finery by the lake and the statues before halting for some much needed beers in the relative cool and calm of a cafe.

On the way out of the complex we thought we'd have some lunch at a really mad busy place teeming with Viet families and particularly groups of men - including coach loads of Viet vets sporting some heavily medaled chests! We plonked our weary, sweaty selves down and order a couple of beer hoi and got settled into a typlical Si'n'Jo style conversation before long the waiter brought over a couple of extra beers and pointed out that they were from some Viet chaps on a near by table (very nice gesture)

I went off nervously to find a loo (nervous to see what manner of hole I may find by way of such a facility) On the way back down the stairs I gazed over a bbq sort of area where the menu was being prepped and saw what I thought at first glance were whole pigs. I did think the tails had a familiar wagginess to them and then the ears were sort of small and then I got to the teeth and with a shudder realsied "pigs don't have canine teeth and noses!!" A big pile of whole cooked dogs!! AAGH! We opted not to wait for lunch!

On returning to the old quarter we did a bit of shopping and then decided it was cocktail time so nipped onto a balconied place above the traffic chaos for a Gin and Si for a beer. The guy brought me a tin of tonic a glass with two ice cubes and a wine glass full to the brim of Gin!!

Finally, after an afternoon nap for me and further exploration for the indefatigable Mr Pants we only went over the road for a dinner. A really interesting place. Upmarket restuarant, patronised by big groups of affluent young Vietnamese which sold a really strange range of Viet tapas (including frog wontons and cricket spring rolls) We ordered way too much food and Simon had to ask for a (dare I say it..) "doggy" bag for his cricket rolls... yuck!

So here in Bangkok we spent yesterday wandering around the amulet market and taking boats up and down the river until we arrived at Wat Arun where Si ran, like a whippet up the steep steps. I feel a bit Watted out by now to be honest - though they tend to be pretty peaceful.

Last night we went to see our old friend of last year the amazing Mr Pas. He remebered us immediately and conversation seemed to pick up where we left off a year ago. Soon his friend and colleague (Ronnie Banderas? Remember him?) arrived and there was much rejoicing. The food was as always incredible and a sight for sore taste buds. Mr Pas no longer had Gordon Ramsay picture outside his restuarant - he says Gordon has had his time and now it is Mr Pas time! Great. We had to write in his book again and were shown our entry from last year now completed with a photo he took of us stuck in the opposite page. It was terrific to see him and Mrs Pas and Antonio Corbett again and eat such fresh and tatsy grub.

We have a cab booked for 5.00am tomorrow and we should be home in Heathrow about 9pm BST tomorrow. Really really looking forward to seeing everyone so much.
Debs and Ells - we can't wait for the Green Man festival with you guys and hope we can bring back a bit of S E Asian weather with us. We will probably come down to Wirral on Tuesday in order to catch up with everyone. Wood family we may not drive back home til Saturday so we get Friday to catch up there likewise.

Anyway- i guess this is the last blog post of SEAsia 2010 (Maybe we'll write a refection piece with some final pictures when we have had a home shower and washed our clothes and had a day or two on the green green grass of home)

Just a quick note of thanks and love to all the fab people we've met out here once again (in case they pop by)
Mr Kim Leang and his lovely staff at the Mother Home
Dustin (aka the skinny backpacker) good luck in your continued travels friend)
Josh (NGO guru and manager of Funky Monkey in Siem Reap)
Botra (Tuk tuk driver extraordinaire and gentleman)
Chenny (Chef and teacher at Le Tigre de Papier)
Neil, Gary, Tony, Roy, Streng at Magic Sponge in Kampot
The ladies and gents at Hanoi Deluxe
Ian (the aussie ex chef and gent we met in Hanoi)
Mr Pas and wife and friends at Mr Pas Foodbar.
Cheers folks and if you're ever in town.... you know ...call and stuff!

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