Day 177 – Bangkok, the never-ending city

Yeah, that's how it looks like

Yeah, that’s how it looks like

Today didn’t start so well. It might all sound very petty in the beginning but it started to add up over the course of the day. Our lovely hotel at the airport had a small cafe/restaurant attached to it. Flo had seen the menu last night, said it looked nice and wanted, at last, to have a nice breakfast there. However, it turned out to be not that nice. You could only order American breakfast which we did. We ordered it without the sausages and bacon which didn’t happen. When she brought us the tray and realized the mistake, we were handed the plates after she’d removed the meat. Thus, for the price of 120 baht PER PERSON, we now had two half-cooked fried eggs, one slice of toast with jam, an orange juice and bad tea and coffee.

This was the first time today, we regretted spending money on something.

New screw is used and just needs to be shortened

New screw is used and just needs to be shortened

As you might recall from yesterday’s post, we had fixed two problems and had created two problems. First, one of these things on the front wheelΒ was now broken. Given that we are planning to ride into Cambodia, we rather wanted it to be fixed here. Waranyu, who was so super helpful yesterday, had sent us GPS coordinates of a workshop where we could get it fixed.

The mechanics were very helpful and within 1 1/2 hours they had gotten out the part that was broken off and replaced it with a screw. The screw was too long so they sheered off the part that was too long as well. Flo could definitely do a better job of describing it but you have the pictures to understand what I’m trying to say. πŸ˜‰

So the first of our new problems was taken care of. The second problem were Flo’s gloves. Since we had left his broken ones at Touratech yesterday, he was riding without gloves. Well, he used his workshop gloves but they were no good. No real protection and the synthetic made his hands sweat a lot. So we stopped at the roadside and bought a pair of super-basic bike gloves for $10. While we were on the way to the motorbike shop to look for real touring gloves. *facepalm* In this synchronized moment of stupid, we needlessly spent more money than we needed to. Another regret.

PANDARIDER!

PANDARIDER!

Of course, pandarider had gloves. A lot of the selection was leather which is too hot for this weather but Flo found a pair of light summer gloves that he thought were okay. Note, he didn’t like them much but they were okay. Also, he had to buy them in XXL because he is a freakishly tall European with giant hands. *lol*

With all of our problems fixed, we now “only” had to leave Bangkok and ride to Chanthaburi, our last stop before Cambodia. But Bangkok didn’t want to let us go. Traffic was horrendous again and we were still in the city for a long while. Already not feeling too perky due to much money spent on things unnecessarily, we stopped at a huge mall to stock up on sunscreen and on cash. While I bought the sunscreen we’ve been looking for for a while, Flo had a disaster at the ATM. See, we have to pay fees every time we withdraw cash. Thus, we generally withdraw the largest amount possible so we only have to withdraw once or twice in each country. In this transaction now, Flo accidentally pressed “use local conversion rate” instead of “charge credit card with foreign currency”. This sounds like a pretentious thing to do but it actually makes a very big difference. Our credit card uses a good exchange rate while the local one is usually worse. And of course, using the local rate resulted in us loosing $100 worth of NZ money. Which means the money was charged to our credit card but we got not enough Thai baht out of the ATM for it. Bad rate. Now feeling utterly defeated for today, we had a cry and then lunch at McDonald’s.

Waiting for our fate next to the toll gates...

Waiting for our fate next to the toll gates…

Still, the city was not ready to let us leave. Navigating the traffic and the many, many streets, we ended up on the motorway. The “no motorbikes allowed” sigh was half-way up the ramp so we saw it too late and then there was no way to turn back anymore. So we reached the toll gate and were waved to the side, made to stop and a lot of “culprit” pictures were taken of us. Communication was impossible as no one seemed to speak English. So the man in the uniform with the strict face made us get off the bike and wait for our doom. I was certain we were going to be fined for using the motorway as motorcycles are not allowed on it and nearly cried again. Flo was very worked up but had to restrain himself as you don’t want to insult any officials. So we sat around. The man then told us in very broken English that we needed to get off the motorway. Sure, we knew that. So we had to wait for a car to arrive which could accompany us to the exit. It would take about 15 min.

After 30min, the car arrived. More pictures of us were taken. But they also let us know that we were free to leave with this car, without paying a fine. What a relief! So we rode behind the car…for a whole 50 meters as this is where the next exit was. Really? You made us wait so we wouldn’t ride 50 meters without company? Anyhow, super relieved, we finally, finally left Bangkok behind.

Lovely hostel, away from Bangkok ;)

Lovely hostel, away from Bangkok πŸ˜‰

Things started to improve. First of all, the traffic was waaaaay lighter so we made good speed. Second, Flo actually enjoyed riding the bike while listening to an audio book. Third, we had a lovely coffee stop with iced coffee and iced chocolate to lighten our mood. Fourth, though with all the delays we had to ride till sunset, we found a lovely, cheap place to stay. It was in an old hospital, now refurbished as a hostel, opened only in 2014 and cost all of NZ$18 for the night. AND there was a food market nearby so Flo volunteered to buy dinner there which resulted in an amazing mix. Salad as a starter, dumplings as a main and nuts-honey-coconut mix for dessert.