Bangkok: Not my friend

Ade & Jos Adventure Continues: Not my friend

Happy new year! I’ve seen lots of social media posts today with folks saying they’re glad to see the back of 2018… For me personally 2018 was an amazing year, I visited lots of different places, had some amazing holidays, spent some awesome time with my family, watched some amazing movies, enjoyed some amazing live performances from some brilliant bands… Including ELO and Queen! I got to leave a job that in honesty i’ve not enjoyed doing since I started it, I finally came to some decisions regarding aspects of my life that had not been making me happy for a very long time.. And I moved to Bangkok.

2018 you were amazing, 2019 you have a lot to live up to.

Christmas was an odd one this year, we knew we’d struggle being away from the family, our son (Kai) came over from England on Christmas eve which was nice.. but I have to admit that even on Christmas day, I never actually felt like it was Christmas… Just another day.. But with a decorated tree in the room.

On Boxing day (actually may have been Christmas day) we went out to do a spot of shopping and to watch a film, we took Kai out to the Terminal 21 mall… The mall management had gone all out to make it feel like Christmas, there was a small orchestra playing classical music and Christmas songs (I have to admit that at this point I did get a bit emotional and actually felt a little Christmassy) Santa was walking around with two scantily clad and very attractive elves handing out sweets to the kids… And a 6ft teddy bear was doing a strange pelvic thrusting dance on the escalator.. Merry Christmas! We had a nice time at the mall, watched Bumblebee (which was brilliant).. Visiting the cinema in Bangkok really is an experience.

We did an awful lot of drinking over the Christmas period… A ridiculous amount if I be honest.. So much drinking that I have to say i’ve totally lost track of what I did and on what day I did it.. Shocking I know.

At some point over Christmas we decided it was time I visited a proper Doctor to get my leg examined, since having a massage a week or so ago I no longer have any back pain, however the pain in my leg has gotten worse and I have to admit i’m now struggling… Worryingly the symptoms and the timing of the pain starting (pretty much as soon as I stepped off the plane nine weeks ago) has got us both worried that I may have a DVT (Deep vein thrombosis) so.. Off to the hospital and an appointment with a doctor..

On arrival at the hospital I had to fill in a a registration form, anyone that knows me will know that me and handwriting have never been the best of friends, in fact there are time i’ve written something down and even I have struggled to work out what I have written (god bless computers and word processors ) So this coupled with the fact I don’t speak Thai made for an interesting experience…After the mess that was me filling in a form I made my way to the doctors waiting area, instead of going straight in to see a doctor i was taken into a small room to be examined by a nurse… A nurse who had decided I’d hurt my foot despite me telling her i’d got leg pain…

“Pain in foot?”

“No.. My leg and knee”

“Not foot?”

“No, leg”

She starts looking at my foot.

“No. It’s my leg”

“Not foot?”

“No… LEG”

“Ok you see doctor”

Then she points back to waiting area and buggers off, thankfully at this point Jo arrived at the hospital for moral support… Jo at this point finds that she’s left her bank card in an ATM at her work building, she’s in a panic but I tell her to call her office and see if one of the people in her office can go to the ATM in hope that her card is there.. Turns out some honest soul had found her card and handed it in at reception.. This would NOT happen in Britain… Bank card issue resolved we go in to see a doctor, we explain my issue and about the plane flight and he sends me off for an ultrasound examination…

A short time later i’m laying on a bed wearing nothing but my boxer shorts and a gown, two Thai ladies (one nurse and one doctor) are rubbing cold gel on my legs and doing an ultrasound exam on me.. At various points the nurse pushes down on my leg and the ultrasound machine makes a strange blood pumping noise.. Later on she pushes my leg again and the machine makes no noise.. I decide i’ve got a DVT.. Within a minute i’ve decided I’ll end up having an operation… A minor panic sets in….. The doctor puts the ultrasound machine, gives me a smile and says “No DVT no clot”.. Huge sigh of relief from me….And then back to see the doctor, the doctor gives me some strong pain killers and sends me off home, l get home and take the pain killers… The rest of the night is a blur… Next day I decide that I can’t function on the tablets so will only take them before I go to bed.

Next day i’m in agony. Jo decides to give me a massage, during which she finds i’ve knotted a muscle in the back of my knee.. So a massage and a heat pad later and I can actually walk without a limp… It’s not perfect, but it seems to be getting better.. Slowly.

Amongst taking pain killers and drinking way too much “Black Cock Whiskey” the days are all a bit of a blur… I know what I did.. Just not what days I did it on… My internal calendar is a mess. Jo went back to work and me and Kai went off for a bit of a tourist day in Bangkok, I took him a couple of temples and boat ride.. We then went to the Mega plaza mall to look at toys and collectables… Despite saying I wouldn’t be buying any collectables on this trip I ended up walking away with a brilliant (and cheap) spiderman figure… Awesome.

It’s been nice having Kai around, I think he liked Bangkok but he can’t handle the temperature here…. Sadly it was soon time to take him to the airport ready for him to fly back home.

New years eve…. Jo has booked tickets for a river boat trip for new years eve, i’ve got to be honest and say I wasn’t too thrilled about having a boat trip… But with the options being limited and every option being expensive I just went with the flow.. So we get a taxi to the Asiatique complex to get on our boat… The taxi ride was brilliant, our driver spoke really good English, we had a really good chat about all manner of things, him going from Buddhist to atheist, his love of stand up comedy and brexit. Our boat arrived at 8pm and we got on board, our table was right at the front where the entertainment was, the buffet opened and the bar was pre paid with our ticket.. Free flowing beer, wine and whiskey… The entertainment was a bit hit and miss, but I have to say I actually like it when entertainment doesn’t exactly go as planned… I find it quite funny… Cute in fact…So when the keyboard player was obviously playing “islands in the stream” by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton but insisted on singing “can’t help falling in love” by Elvis over it, I was in “hit and miss entertainment” heaven.. The drinks were indeed flowing… And hour in and i’d drunk about four or five large whisky and cokes… I’d balanced the drinks by having one whiskey and one glass of water (this did not last all night)… The singer announced that there would be some traditional Thai dancing.. The dancers appeared in traditional Thai dress and danced for us.. I personally thought it was brilliant.. Then back to the singing… The track listing was weird from the start.. Some truly odd song choices… For instance, lots of songs that referenced trips in America… Route 66 and so on… Jo went for a wander around the boat leaving me to my new best friend.. Whiskey. As the singer began to sing “My heart will go on” from the movie Titanic, which I thought an odd choice to sing on a boat… I looked around for Jo, she was chatting to a couple at the front of the boat, the way they were chatting I presumed she knew them from work.. She called me over and introduced me to them, turns out she’d just met them.. An American woman named Melodee and her husband Lee from Blackpool, Mel works for a computer company and her husband is ex navy, they’ve lived all over the world but have been in Thailand for the past five years, We’re all by now pretty drunk… The party on the boat is in full flow and 12 O’clock is fast approaching…. Jo and Mel are dancing, Me and Lee are chatting about life in Bangkok, it’s actually a really good night, Me and Mel have a conversation about politics which I managed to get through without offending anyone.. Yay me!

2018 ended and fireworks lit up the sky… I love fireworks… I’ve seen lots of displays but i’ve never seen a display as amazing as the one that begun 2019 in Bangkok.. Truly astounding.

The fireworks end and the boat heads back to the dock… Mel and Jo are now chatting to a couple on the table behind us, The girl is Thai and her boyfriend is from Peru.. They seem like a nice couple so when the boat docks we all head off to find another bar to carry on drinking, we find a bar… The Thai girl “Kat” is opinionated, bossy and brilliant, she takes charge when we’re ordering drinks, which we all find funny as she’s bossing some poor waiter around, we have a chat about her being bossy which she finds funny, its a multinational table, English, American, Thai, Peruvian and we’re all chatting, drinking laughing, enjoying each others company… A table next to us is full of young Thai lads drinking beer, they have lots of beer and are offering us drinks, Jo being Jo ends up having a speed drinking contest with one of the lads… One pint each to drink as fast as you can.. Jo wins. Obviously.

At 3am we say our goodbyes…. Handshakes, hugs and promises to keep in touch.. A new year and new friends.

A mad tuk tuk ride and we arrive back home… We drunkenly video call my mom and then head off for bed.

Whiskey is not my friend. I awake with an awful hangover… Do I promise to never drink again? No… I just may be a little less excessive next time…..

So… Until next time……

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Ade Cox

A working-class man from The Black Country, plucked from the factory and now living the best life in Bangkok