Big City Life.

2 Apr

“I might not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I’ve ended up where I needed to be” – Douglas Adams.

Our last 10 days in Thailand have been emotional, exciting, wonderful, terrible and everything in between…
We left Koh Tao and ventured off to Phuket – the tourist capital of the Thai Kingdom. We spent two nights staying in Phuket Town before heading to Patong Beach for a night.

Phuket Town

Phuket Town is an interesting place – it is busy but not overwhelmingly busy. People are generally friendly and eager to help you out. There is an indoor, air conditioned clothes market which made browsing with a boyfriend who hates shopping, far more bearable! :) Two nights were more than enough to soak up what the ‘islands’ capital had to offer, so we decided to venture down to Patong.

Patong

Well, Patong proved to be an experience in itself. Unfortunately, the fine print of our accommodation booking did not state that our hostel was situated 3km from the beach (which we only discovered once we walked there in the blazing heat). It didn’t take long for us to realize that Patong was not for us. The beach was ridiculously crowded with tourists and locals of all ages, shapes and sizes – not at all what we were used to coming from Koh Tao. Getting around also proved to be rather challenging. Taxis and tuk tuk rides cost an obscene amount of money in Phuket – a 9km journey cashing in at 800 Baht! A few hundred Baht short of what we paid to get to Phuket. Needless to say, the taxi drivers do not utilize their meters and we were later told by a foreigner who has lived in Patong for 10 years, that the transport system in Phuket is extremely corrupt.

After 7 weeks of traveling we decided that it was best to head back to Bangkok to secure a job, find an apartment and save some money before the school term begins. Although we had hoped to spend some time exploring Krabi and Phi Phi, we knew that this would set us back financially and neither of us wanted to begin our journey back to Bangkok broke or in debt.

I have no doubt that Phuket is an amazing holiday destination for those who can afford to stay in a resort with a private beach or for those who enjoy the idea of getting lost on Bungalow Road but we were not exposed to such luxury or lure. I do hope to go back to the province before we leave Thailand (preferably with a little bit more money and time) as I am sure there is plenty to see and do which does not relate to crowds and over capacitated shore lines. The northern beaches look unbelievably beautiful and when we return, I will be sure to explore the island and places we did not get to experience – which I’m sure will alter our perception of Phuket! :) Our feelings further proved what we have discovered since being in Thailand – you need to get off the main roads and find untouched spots which, with a little bit of effort, are actually in abundance.

Bangkok

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The last 3 days have been filled with many emotions and the thought of going home to beautiful, clean and cool Cape Town has crossed my mind many times… Readjusting to the smells, stagnant puddles, dense air, cockroaches and traffic takes some time! Kyle and I really did not want to be in Bangkok and the fact that we are now here searching for jobs has made us feel rather defeated. We spent Saturday walking the streets in blistering heat in search of a suitable apartment but nothing sufficed. Keeping in mind that the only guidance we were given was to “look up and go to the tallest, apartment-looking buildings”. So yes, we walked around sweating with our heads tilted upwards walking in the direction of what we thought looked like an apartment building! :)

To top off our day, no taxi driver knew where our hotel was. So for two hours, we were lost. Until this incredibly sweet young Thai couple stopped to help us. The strange thing about traveling is that you meet some of the most wonderful people whom you will never see again. I swore never to do this in Bangkok, but our only way back to the hotel was on the back of a motor cycle… By this stage I didn’t care about hugging a Thai motor cycle driver for 5km, sweating like I had just done a 90 minute Bikram yoga class. I jumped on, with Kyle clutching his own driver close behind.

We went to bed on the verge of packing our bags and, I will be honest, I shed my first set of uncontrollable tears! :) But, guess what? The sun rose on Sunday morning and we were forced to get up and accept that no one ever said this was going to be easy! Our petty little melt down about living in the Big City is pretty insignificant in the whole scheme of life. So up we got and off we went to begin round two of the apartment hunt. Without going into boring detail, the Universe works in weird ways – and we were once again reminded that everything happens for a reason. We were shown a one bedroom, furnished apartment which adores all the luxuries of a swimming pool, gym, restaurant and a 5 minute walk from our potential job. Renting such an apartment in Bangkok equals around R3800 a month (ridiculously cheap for what you are getting!) and when you come over as a couple/pair, earning two salaries makes rent a minor part of your monthly expenditure. Although we have had to do what we really did not want to do – borrow money from home – we are feeling far more at peace about our decision to come to Bangkok. The borrowed money is solely to cover the two months deposit and one months rental to secure the contract. If all goes to plan, we will sign the contracts and move in this week. Moving in actually only involves taking our bags in the elevator to the 26th floor, where they will be promptly unpacked and placed out of sight for a while!

We met two stunning girls from Cape Town who have been teaching and living in Bangkok since January. They laughed when we told them about how miserable we were on Saturday – reassuring us that they cried every day when they first arrived – now they just laugh! :) They have shown us around, included us in their plans and reassured us that we are in actual fact normal for feeling so down and that this too shall pass.

Bangkok by night.

If you have read any of my previous posts, you will know that we have been on a red-meat-quest. Last night, we ventured to Fire House – the nicest, home made burger restaurant on Soi 11 in Sukhimvit. We splurged 170 Baht each on a burger and it was worth every cent! Being with people who have lived in the city for some time, means that we have gotten an insiders taste to what to do/where to go. In all honesty, seeing this part of Bangkok made me feel like I was in London again! (Minus the heat, duh).

Bangkok has two sides – day and night. The City comes alive at night and if you know which areas to be in, you are more than likely to be pleasantly surprised by what you see around you. Bars, restaurants and night clubs are bustling with tourists, locals and expats alike – all sharing banter and soaking up the evening life. During the day, streets are bare but at night, every corner is filled with street food vendors and caravan-converted bars.

I know that we are going to settle in and have an amazing time here. We are in no way ready to pack up and leave. When we stop laughing hysterically, when all we want to do is cry, then it will be time to leave. But for now, I find myself bizarrely amused at this fascinating culture where stick on braces can be bought in a variety of colors (fashionable?), Hello Kitty is still the best thing ever, hats with cat-ears are remarkably popular and it isn’t strange to buy second hand underwear (double ??). Although Thailand is still developing, I love the fact that the difficulty of some things, is balanced out with the simplicity of others. The transport system in Bangkok allows one to go all over the city, day and night – exactly the same as in a developed, first world country like London. Nope, it hasn’t been an easy ride, but I can’t wait get to know Bangkok and familiarize myself with the City we will call home for a while…

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3 Responses to “Big City Life.”

  1. Caleigh April 3, 2013 at 3:36 pm #

    You will love BKK Katie! It is amazing – and your writing has just made me miss it more! Wish more than anything I was there with you guys! xx

    • katekingsley89 April 3, 2013 at 8:34 pm #

      Thanks monks! Miss you so much! Wish you were here. Starting to really enjoy it here! :) come visit! xxxx

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