Well I made it to Bangkok and found myself a place to stay. First thought on entering the room: prison cell. First thought on sitting on the bed: brick. First thought on seeing the price: fantastic! About four pounds (don't ask me to try and find the pound sterling key on this thai keyboard).
I'm staying in tourist central - Khao San Road. It's bearable, but I've spent as little time in this area as possible. I've managed to cram in a fair amount of tourism- the highlight being the gold reclining buddha at Wat Pho. I've been hanging about with a fantastic young woman I bumped into on the river boat on the first day, and after we were both exhausted with Wats (temples) we did loads of random wanderings and shopping. The shopping is amazing here. Chinatown has been my favourite - miles of alleyways crammed with crazy little stalls dedicated to selling the most random stuff - coat hangers, giant stuffed toys, pencils, stickers. And so many food stalls selling unrecognisable stuff.
Yesterday after some touristy stuff in the morning we went to the main shopping district, but not before finding a fantastic little alleyway full of delicious food vendors. the food here is incredible - so cheap (about 40 pence for a dish of curry with rice) and so tasty. I'm eating really well. The shopping mall we went to was vast - millions of small shops selling DVDs, belts, bags, jeans, mobiles, cameras, t shirts, shoes, suits, sunglasses, etc. etc. ad nauseum. It was great fun, but extremely frustrating because I couldn't buy anything - I have to carry all my stuff around the country for the next five weeks on the back of my bike.
After the mall we went to the night market at Patpong- which was more of the same, but with fake designer brands and even more ludicrous bartering. One belt that Ashna was looking at started off at 1200 Baht, and ended at 200.
So now I'm about to leave all this behind. I've got to brave the manic Bangkok traffic to get across town to the station, then I'll get the train about 70km to thewest to Samut Songkhram, and then start cycling southaround the gulf of Thailand. I'm pretty nervous again - the traffic, the heat, etc. And I hope I've not left it too late in the day with all this messing around on the internet. But it will be nice to get out of the city - it's so polluted here - I'm coughing far too much!
I've put a dozen of my photos of hong kong and bangkok online on my flickr account - http://www.flickr.com/photos/80637765@N00/sets/1769827/
Bye for now,