Saturday, 2 November 2013

Happy Fortieth Jayne, you miserable old whatsit!

Saturday 2nd November Jayne's Birthday treat day.

So I am forty today, which is just shit. I am moving further away from my youth with each day that passes and a milestone like this one is just another nail in my coffin! Well that is certainly one way to look at things and right now I am stone cold sober, under fed and exhausted and not least of all stuck in a city that smells similar to an infected vagina!

The Grand Palace, Bangkok.
Last night I managed some sleep, although I awoke at four AM in massive need of more pain killers and then settled down to read for a while. Two hours later and with the sun rising I managed to fall asleep again and managed another two hours of sleep before waking like a coiled spring. Carol awoke and wished me a happy birthday and then we wandered down for breakfast which was for me a slice and a half of egg on toast, but when the city makes your taste buds feel like some bastard has farted directly into your mouth, eating is not forefront of your desires, well not mine anyway.

After breakfast Carol asked me what I wanted to do on my Birthday, the thought of wandering around Bangkok's biggest outdoor market filled me with dread, to be honest the thought of walking around any market filled me with dread. I have discovered that I am not fond of shopping and to be honest think that most of the stuff I have seen here is tat, well apart from the Technic Lego Monster truck in Singapore Airport.

It was then that inspiration struck home and I asked if we could go for a massage together, to which Carol agreed. SO after a quick chat with the lovely girl on the hotel reception, we made our way down to the massage parlour and I had my nose and mouth covered with a tissue sprayed with my perfume to avoid gagging as we walked past the putrefying drains. I am sure that Cannibal Corpse could come here and get inspiration for a new song just by standing still and sniffing!

The massage parlour recommended to us turned out to be only a few hundred meters away and as we slipped off our shoes, we were shown in and told to sit on some plush leather stools. The room was fragrant in the way that only utter luxury can be and as we relaxed we were given the menu of massages. We explained that I have a serious neck and shoulder injury and the therapist studied the menu before recommending that I try a warm oil massage that would be gentle and relaxing. She was not wrong.

I can honestly say that every physiotherapist that has touched my shoulder has caused me nothing but pain and suffering, yet this woman's firm yet gentle touch left my skin smouldering with oil and my shoulder relaxed to the point that it almost did not hurt. However she could barely touch it before the pain levels shot through the roof and she gently eased the muscles and joint as far as I could stand. When she moved onto my right leg, the one hurt in the motorcycle accident I had in August, she managed to find more damage and spent some time working my right knee which caused me to yelp in pain. She then moved to my hands and massaged my fingers and yes you guessed it, more damage. This time from climbing and my shoulder injury and this time when I yelped, she laughed. I do not think that she has met some one with so many injuries before! Mind you, when she saw the large scar on my tummy I think she realised that I am physically far from perfect.

After an hour of painful bliss and with skin that felt so soft and sensual that I floated from the massage pad and back to the leather stool, to find a fresh cup of green tea waiting for me. With a level of expertise and professionalism bordering on fantastic to impeccable I cannot recommend them to anyone because you will then know my secret! Oh, ok then. If you are in Bangkok, check them out because they really are brilliant.

Baan Sabai Thai Massage
46, Soi Samsen,
6, Samsen Road, 

You can phone them and book your place on this number.

Tell them that the broken English girl sent you!

Following our massage we decided to wander over to the Grand Palace for a typical tourist thing to do and to be honest this was a mistake for us. To get there we had to walk through some rather busy parts of Bangkok and although armed with my scented tissue, it quickly wore away the goodness that the massage had done and with in a mile or so my pain levels had risen once again to previous levels and then started to rise past them. It was at this point that Carol led us into a maze of university students and riverside food establishments that looked like they were serving mutant chimeras fished straight from the oily and polluted river. The smell level once again rose and any thoughts of food evaporated from my mind.

Yes, that is a filthy smelling drain, filled with stagnant water running through the food stall!
However I was desperately thirsty and it seemed that there was no where that we could find a clean drink. It is worrying when stands have bottles of coke that have clearly been opened and refilled, the plastic security ring that breaks off from the lid, sat on the neck of the bottle.

Some one call Godzilla, there is a... oh never mind!
Finally we found a place that was selling cans of drink and we sated our thirst before wandering into the grand palace entrance, only to be refused entry due to us wearing strappy tops! I pulled on my green cardy and Carol went off to find a top. Sadly she did not hear the official Government advert saying that she could borrow free of charge a silk top that would be both cool and graceful, instead she ran into a tout outside who charged her for hire of a revolting dragon printed gents cotton shirt, the sort of shirt you saw Emo lads wearing in the early naughties!

So finally covered up we entered the grand palace and I was hugely underwhelmed. The buildings although spectacular have been coated in gold leaf and shiny glass tiles that make it look like a Pimps palace. Suddenly I can see where Disney, Las Vegas and the Steam Fair got their inspiration from, otherwise beautiful buildings have been blinged up and then the religious iconography is nailed home in the form of golden demons and Buddhas. For me this has the same appeal as visiting the Vatican and once again shows how much wealth the religions of the world have, which is sad when as we walked to the grand palace, we saw people living in utter poverty and destitution. This for me was a sour taste in my mouth (and I don't just mean the aroma of Bangkok).

Don't mention the poverty outside!
Once away from the temples and places of worship, we entered another building that had the most amazing wall painting, that went on in minute intricate detail for hundreds of meters. The original painting must have taken thousands and thousands of hours to do and was utterly spectacular. Mixed in the with painting was a visual story telling of Thailand's folklore and history. With gold leaf demons rampaging through battles against gold leaf fortresses, it was a lot to take in, but with the many thousands of people wandering about, snapping photos and having loud conversations, appreciation of such works of art become almost impossible and after nearly an hour we both needed a sit down.

As we sat for a few minutes it became apparent that the tourists about us that had come on coaches were infact a single living entity, in the same way that a swarm of bees or flock of swirling swallows resembles a single entity.

The urge to leave and hide in an anxiety safe box almost over powered me and even a normally placid Carol was starting to snarl as every photo she tried to take was swarmed through by loud, ignorant tourists who disregarded the requests not to stand on the polished marbled surface, lean on the ancient gold leaf covered statues or smoke in the arenas.

It would seem that Carol and I should not be around a multitude of swarming human beings if we want to remain sane. So with both of us feeling tired, hot and irritable we headed back towards the exit and found a nice place to sit out of the sun, in the quiet and have a drink. Right next to about a hundred old muzzle load cannons!

Once we had cooled down, enjoyed a peaceful drink and managed to escape form the confines of the several coach tours, we found our way back on the street to have our senses battered by touts for who no has no meaning and insisted on shoving their cheap plastic Buddha in our faces until we got a bit rude and told them firmly no! AS we walked away a passing TukTuk pulled in and asked us if we wanted to ride back to the hotel, we gratefully climbed aboard having agreed a slightly higher than usual price and made our way to the hotel. We have still not eaten, we are still tired and after the days stresses, the pains in my shoulder, hand and Carol's foot are even greater than before. To me it feels like another Massage is needed!