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A graduate of Sports Studies at Paisley University, which is about as rewarding as being the best dancer in the Spinal Unit.

Thursday, 11 August 2011


I've been to Thailand before, on a family holiday when I was 14. We were living in the middle east at the time where nudity and sex of any kind in media is censored. Movies were screened and edited before they came into the country and magazines like FHM came with all cleavage blacked out with (a surprising resilient) paint. So, boobs were something of an enigma to me.
This all changed when Dad helpfully took us to a transvestite caberet show in which my first real memories of tits were sullied by the fact they were grafted on to twelve ladyboys doing the can-can.

The Bangkok airport was the first stop post-India and it really hit me about how much I appreciated the simple things again. Walking down the supposedly chaotic Khao San road where all the backpackers stay, seemed serene to me compared to any street over the last five weeks.
One thing I didn't see in the whole time in India were cockroaches, and in Bangkok they seem to be like mints on the pillow or tea and coffee making facilities: standard in every room.
After a couple days milling around, I headed West to Tiger Temple. For a price, they lead you around a ground of sleeping tigers where you can pose holding thier heads and whatnot. Well recommended.
The trip was made more enjoyable by guy called Arthur (divorced, dad of three) I had to share the truck there with. In the 45 minutes it took to get there, he covered every homophobic and racial slur invented before dropping in, "Oive bin shaggin' moi gaelfrend for a year and a harf, and oi STILL don't knows if she's male or female! Doesn't bovver me oi suppose."
I couldn't help feel just a little bit sorry for a guy whose standards had slipped so drastically that it didn't matter if they previously sported a penis.

Another two days back in the capital and sleeping in a bunk next to a Korean guy who spent half the night snoring and half grinding his teeth, making a sound like a puppy getting kicked to death. Other than that, there was just a couple of people from England complaining that the lady from the ping pong show they saw the night before was stern faced and unenthusiastic throughout. To be fair, Id be pretty sombre too if i had to shoot sports equipment from my vagina for a living.

I decided to instead try out a thai boxing training session. The first signs of issue came within the fifteen minute skipping warm up, where I was so shattered id have happily left and felt like id gotten my moneys worth. We all had our hands wrapped and gloved, before going through striking techniques (punches, kicks, elbows and knees), combinations and pad work in the ring. Two hours of that and I limped back to my hostel utterly destroyed.

The next morning feeling spritely in no way whatsoever, I boarded a bus to Khaon Kaen to see my friend Cara.
Having moved out to Thailand four and a half years ago, Cara is the kind of person that, after one conversation, can make you feel like you've completely wasted your life. Her and her boyfriend Mon (an ex pro-bmx rider. God, im pathetic.) welcomed me into their home for a few days and introduced me to a variety of Thai foods, (including beetles, crickets, grubs and locusts), a local rapper called Fukking Hero and most importantly, thier three dogs, Wii, the notorious b.o.b and a gay one that I never remember the name of. For all of that and their company, im hugely grateful.

So on Cara's recommendation I headed to Krabi to see the beaches and islands. It was pissing rain as I boarded the bus and as i moved up the aisle, I took the only seat free. It was next to a rejected Jermaine Jackson Bo Selecta character, who seemed harmless enough. She was in her late thirties and immediately asked if I had a girlfriend. I replied yes, and that we had been together for four and a half years. This seemed to piss her off somewhat and she went on a mumbling rant about her several boyfriends back in Israel and how when she comes on these trips, shes free and easy. After a few minutes more of her rambling, i realised I had managed to sit next to an actual lunatic. Faced with listening to this yakking for hours or simply pretending to be asleep, I decided on the latter. The lights went down and that is when the problems started.

First she (I say "she", but really, Christ knows) started playing with my hair while I was fake-asleep, then promptly spooned me and put her hand round my waist. I fake-woke up and acted a little surprised at her position.

"Are you embarrassed?", she asked.

I placed her hand back on her lap and replied, "Unfortunately, i've got a girlfriend. But thanks.", which caused her to grumpily thrash around in her seat.
Christ almighty. I looked around desperately and realised there wasn't a single other seat to escape to, so I just went back to being fake asleep. And what do you know, twenty minutes later she starts spooning me again, to which I am much more specific.
"Hey, listen. Im flattered and if I was single i'd totally go for it but UNFORTUNATELY, IM NOT."
This was all said in a rasping whisper as to not draw attention from the rest of the packed bus. She responded by saying brattily, "I CAN'T HELP IT."
Brilliant. I was pining for the good old days when my bus journeys consisted of simply vomiting uncontrollably.
I spent the rest of the trip trying to sleep in a kung-fu stance.

Despite the previous twelve hours, it doesn't take away anything from Krabi. Its probably the most beautiful place ive ever seen. I stayed in a wooden hut where I had to dust ants off my bed nightly like breadcrumbs (the little bastards, I discovered, ended up nested in my bag), toured the islands, including Maya Bay where The Beach was filmed, snorkled, rockclimbed and sunbathed, all of which was surreal. White sands, surrounded by dense jungle and warm green ocean. 

You can't truly appreciate this unless, like me, your childhood summers consisted at some point of a day trip to Largs. If you haven't been, it's like holidaying in the future, after the nuclear holocaust.


Anonymous said...

I am trying to read this without laughing but have managed to splutter most of my sandwich onto my now disgusting keyboard in an effort to keep quiet. Good stuff, just one thing, I was in Largs last week and it was really quite nice if you can ignore the fact that the average age of the resident there is about 90 trying to act about 17, not a pretty sight. Happy travels, Aud and PS< got your card, thanks a mill and yes, we will catch up in Oz :-) x

Anonymous said...

a great read again jamie! anyone who travels can sort of relate to your stories which makes them great, and they never fail to make me laugh out loud, literally out loud! keep doing it and stay safe bro
with love from barcelona x