15/1/2015 …when you accidentally pick the wrong place to stay: an anecdote

Geographically I live on the gulf of Thailand – not far far south – but 3 hours from Bangkok. Because I’m studying Computer Science – I travel to Bangkok once a week – due to the confusing utter bullshit make up of my University. I made the decision when I knew I had to be in Bangkok one morning a week that I would come by van the night before and stay at a hotel or hostel each night rather than renting an entire apartment when I only needed lodging for one night a week. That being said – for 150-180TBH or approx.. $6-$8 I take a van from where I live (Hua Hin) to Bangkok. Currently as I am typing I am sitting in one of these vans. The van is of similar makeup to a Chevy Astrovan and seats 14 plus a driver – but just know when I say 14 people – I do not mean comfortably. This three hour van ride consists of stale circulating air that smells like pork on a stick, seats so crammed together you forget your legs are actually attached to your body, Thai country music blasting (proof country music is equally complete shit in every language), and a driver either texting, cleaning coffee stains off his shirt, or on a specific version of meth popular to this region of the world – or if you’re lucky – the driver will be doing all three of these things at once. Thai driving is some of the most unsafe driving I’ve ever witnessed – the scary part is – a typical Seattle driver is shitty because he/she has a coffee in hand, a dog in lap, a cigarette in the mouth, and a phone on the shoulder connecting it to the ear…. Why must I bring this up? Because a majority of drivers here USUALLY have none of those things as distractions – they just consciously don’t use lanes, drive whatever speed limit feels comfortable, tailgate to the point of no return, and drive on the opposite side of the road. I must digress on this point, so let me continue. Last Thursday night I booked a room through Airbnb in Bangkok – after a lovely, safe, and truly special and memorable van ride from Hua Hin to Bangkok. Once I got to the Bangkok bus station I made my way to the sky train, as my host Justin, messages me where I am… I keep thinking to myself “I’ve never used Airbnb does it have some sort of etiquette?” I felt awkward to say the least. I told Justin I was on my way, he sent me directions – and I got lost. To give myself some credit (although I probably don’t deserve it) directions consist of “Get off on Sala Daeng BTS, walk to Sala Daeng, get a motorbike from 7/11, the motorbike guy will know.” The problem with these directions is my embarrassing Thai – and the inability for me to explain to a motorbike driver an address that I myself cannot comprehend. The streets here are labeled by numbers but then the street numbers have extensions. For example you could live on “Soi 88” but the next street may not be “Soi 89” it might be “Soi 88/1” and the one after is “Soi 88/2” and I still have not figured out the logic behind that system…. So 45 minutes later, after wandering down the same street on 1% iPhone battery, I arrive at Justin’s hostel. His hostel, titled, “Simple Rest,” would’ve been easier to find in the daylight – and when I find it – the entrance is closed (and by closed I mean barricaded by an 8ft foot gate) and there is simply a phone number posted outside the gate followed by one sentence written in Thai. As my anxiety climbs and exceeds all expectations – Justin answers my phone call and the conversation makes no sense. You know when you walk away from a conversation having no idea what the hell just happened? That was my conversation with Justin. His accent was not completely hard to understand but his English was. Eventually Justin opens the door to the four story compound hidden in an ally and greets me. He greets me with a beautiful kind smile, high cheek bones, and thin ken Barbie-esque physique (think Asian Ken Barbie – I’m picturing a Japanese Olympic gymnast). He offers me water and a locker – neither of which I want – and leads me up the stairs. The stairs were narrow, extremely narrow…. I walk up three stories and Justin leads me on the third floor – maybe 250 sq. feet – divided into at least 8-10 rooms which were all equipped with one massage table and one over head light – with a red light bulb. Justin led me into the bathroom – very 70s looking – with a bathtub and a shower hose and a toilet – all light brown – and a crystal chandelier hanging from the ceiling. It was an odd establishment – but it was late – I was tired, and figured a bed is a bed. Just because Justin’s house full of massage tables obviously had another purpose – there was no one there – and it was too late to turn back now. There were a few mosquitos flying around my “room” aka “massage table” biting my arms but I made sure to sleep in pants and keep the blankets over my body because I didn’t want to leave the compound after it was such a pain in the ass finding the place. Unfortunately my idea of sleeping in pants and using blankets wasn’t a thorough plan. I woke up shortly after I had fallen asleep and noticed mosquitos flying around my head. I slept like Frankenstien, on my back, on a starch hard massage table, so uncomfortable. I woke up with at least 30 mosquito bites – but the most disturbing part – was the amount of bites on my face. There were 5 bites on my chin, 2 on my cheek, and 1 on my eyebrow. I’m still trying to figure out the “romantic” vibe of “Simple rest” but I guess the purpose of this compound was unlikely an overnight stay. I woke up before my alarm, didn’t shower in the chandeliered tub, and departed before Justin could send me off. Unfortunately – or fortunately – I will never have the chance to see lovely Justin again – although Airbnb keeps reminding me I only have 9 days left to leave Justin a review. As I get to Bangkok tonight, I’m staying at a cute little place (that’s not a massage parlor) at Thong Lor – and am going to pass on leaving Justin a review. Sayonara Justin, thanks for leaving me with a bunch of bumps on my face, xox 😉

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2 thoughts on “15/1/2015 …when you accidentally pick the wrong place to stay: an anecdote

  1. Tay, this is the ADVENTURE phase of your journey😜😳 Keep writing and smile. Always keep smiling😜love you!!to the moon and back!

    Like

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