We vacated our 4-star haven in Sydney on December 28th and reluctantly handed back the key-card, all too aware that the accommodation honeymoon was over and we were about to be plunged back into hostel hell.
We weren't quite so reluctant to surrender the keys to the campervan however and breathed a sigh of relief that we'd slept in that day-glo Mitsubishi monster for the last time.
Once again, it was time to bid adieu to another country and get our quota of Qantus catastrophes. And they didn't disappoint. Already on a downer at having to leave Sydney,one of our favourite cities so far, we arrived at the airport at 4pm only to discover that we wouldn't be leaving for Bangkok until at least 10pm.
Feeling like Tom Hanks in Terminal, the film where the homeless guy lives in the airport, we plotted down and began waiting in earnest. 6 hours and a couple of free meal vouchers later we finally began boarding.
Ten hours after that we finally touched down at Bangkok airport, which was just as well as we'd had our fill of plane meals (2), low-budget "comedies" (1), flatulence (unidentified source), and turbulence (lots).
By now it was 7am Sydney time, 3am local time, so we were feeling a tad tired to say the least. As Liam's head lolled around in the back of the taxi, our Thai driver and I attempted to locate our dilapidated guesthouse which was lurking next to the Khao San Road in Banglamphu.
Stumbling up 6 flights of stairs (sadistic receptionist..grrr!) we couldn't wait to get our backpacks off our backs and crashed out instantly...
We awoke a few hours later to the shrill tone of my mobile bleeping, letting me know that my mates Kirsten and Louise had arrived from England.Yay! They checked into the same hostel and caught some Z's whilst Liam and I checked out the locality.
Khao San Rd was buzzing with life - tuk tuk's chugged noisily past as did motorbikes carrying entire families, beaten-up old cars and the main cause of all that traffic - a steady stream of stray dogs.
Bunting swayed in the breeze above our heads along the entire street, which was lined with market stalls selling rip-off designer goods for as far as the eye could see.We shopped with gusto, picking up an impressive array of designer labels - it was like an hour in the life of Victoria Beckham, only she has the real versions of course, and probably prefers Bond Street to Bangkok.
Within an hour we had bags of Havianas flip-flops, Ray Ban sunnies to replace the real ones Liam had inadvertently left in a Sydney nightclub, shorts, jewellery, guide books, beauty products, the list goes on. All for the princely sum of ..about fifteen quid. Liam thought he was Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman with all his new merchandise, even stopping for a haircut to complete his new look. At one point I thought he was going to ask for a manicure and facial.
All shopped out, we went back to our roach motel, met the girls and celebrated our new purchases with a few beers and a couple of Marlboro Lights, lit using our new fake Louis Vuitton-print lighters, fashioned into novelty mini handbags. Naff,us?
The sun was shining and spirits were high - well they were until we began the traumatic journey to Koh Phangan by train, coach, taxi and boat, where we had a date with a certain Full Moon Party..