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Written by Peter Smith   
Monday, 20 April 2009 18:53
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Day 53: Monday 13th November - Bangkok


After a really good nights sleep, so much so that we missed breakfast which was served until 10.00am, we decided to split the rest of the day into checking our email etc and heading for central Bangkok to check the prices of electrical goods. I am seriously thinking about buying a laptop to improve our internet access. It took two hours to check our mail on the hotel's network which was reasonably fast and even longer to find our way downtown thanks to the transport system.

We decided it would be good to catch the river bus and then take the skytrain in to the centre. Our first mistake was trusting a tuk tuk driver to take us to the river. Instead of taking us to the main waterway on our map he dropped us off on a canal which had river boats but not going our way. Whilst jumping up and down cursing him (tuk tuk driver long gone with money) I made my second and by far biggest mistake I allowed another driver to take us to our destination which was now further away than when we set out. This clown had no intention of taking us anywhere other to see Lucky Buddha, only opened once a year (lie!), the Government Jewellery Factory (just to look (lie!) and some stadium to collect his petrol tokens (true). We were told by a Malaysian who lived in London, as we stared at Lucky Buddha, it was actually opened once every month and the driver was working a scan. After another bout of arguing with the driver he promised to take us to the city centre and set off to the factory. After another more heated argument at the factory we agreed, no pressure to buy, to look round quickly and, therefore, get him his petrol coupon. We left him smiling at the door. When we returned ten minutes later empty handed, after being set upon inside by two women who looked like Imelda Marcos and could sell snow to Eskimos, he lost his smile. After the third and most heated exchange we parted company, him no richer than when we met and us lost in Bangkok even further away from our destination than ever. This little episode took over two hours of sitting in the worse congestion I have ever seen and destroyed our itinerary.

Eventually found a taxis driver who took us where we wanted to go. The Siam Paragon makes Meadowhall look like a rundown old fashioned shopping mall. The place was just wall to wall glass, lights and enormous screens. There was a bookshop which had some bookshelves and books but mainly consisted of workstations with monitors positioned at different angles from the roof. It looked more like a super modern internet café than Waterstones. The centre had all the latest stores but only two computer shops selling Apples and Toshiba's and these were no cheaper than in the UK. On checking out more IT shops we were directed to another shopping centre just a few blocks away but this was unwalkable because the area between was a no go area. The next taxis driver thought nothing of taking us the few blocks and sure enough the four story centre consisted of hundreds of IT stores. It was now 8.00pm and the centre was shutting but managed to buy another battery for the camera - the one I bought in Kathmandu doesn't charge up and so is useless - an 8 gig USB drive and a card reader that gives me an electrical shock each time I use it. All in all a pretty useless day. We didn't use the riverbus or the skytrain and the new battery is no better than the last one.

Last Updated on Monday, 20 April 2009 19:22