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Dear readers,

I have passed an eventful few days in Sydney kindly being hosted by my friend Erik near Darling Harbour and am now in Bangkok sweltering in 35 deg heat.

Goodbyes. Twas a great farewell for me I think – quick like a band aid from Mum, Dad and sis’. I often think that long, drawn out affairs don’t really add anything to the parting. You will no doubt be emailing and phoning the instant you touch down anyway (unless you are¬†a degenerate son like me). If you wait until the hour before you leave to say all the things you meant to say over the preceding week you’re only letting yourself in for waterworks ūüôā

Sydney.What can I say but had a blast – Erik and the international crew squatting at his swank inner-city executive apartment kick ass! Had some bizarre moments with Tristan and his mate Peter – drunkenly inquiring of some girls from Ireland whether they knew how to make Molotov cocktails not my finest hour to be sure, to be sure, diddly, diddly. Went swimming on Bondi Beach as can by proven by the below photo. Tristan made the most of it by spewing out both rings for a night. Not something to inspire confidence when flying into Bangkok…

Bangkok. Dirty old Bangkok. A great place to work out whether you are ready to get chug down that cup of hard and buckle down as a traveller or are in fact a sheep ready to be shorn by sharp-eyed touts.

Julian and Tristan’s Guide to Bangkok:

Accommodation: Get shafted and pay a little¬†too much in order to feel safe and protected amongst similar backpacking fish. Peter’s suggestion was great however for our midnight arrival – just too tired to care really. Rooftop pool with scantily clad Scandanavians¬†and a comp breakfast. Alternatively sort it out via recommendations from experienced travellers and book ahead.

Locals: Every guide book you read, and associate you speak to, has horror stories of getting ripped off, how everyone who speaks to you is in for a buck and how the best thing about Bangkok is leaving it. Despite appearances to the contrary, in one day we encountered two random Thais (a professional and a teacher) who offered unprompted advice on what to see, warned us of dangers and generally enjoyed practicing their English on us. Closing your mind to the possibility of positive experiences will always reduce the likelihood of those experiences occurring. That said, the one thing I am not enjoying so much is the need to constantly be on your guard to prevent getting taken advantage of. Oh NZ is a sheltered place! 

Food. No bad experiences as yet. Had a faux ‘western’ breakfast which was interesting and a chicken and egg Pad Thai from a street vendor for 40 baht ($2). Thai green curry for dinner. Many western options with food but I am attempting to eat only hot Thai food with meat and drinks¬†with ice¬†to maximise my chances of acquiring stomachs cramps and unstoppable waves of diarrhoea. I will keep you informed as to progress.

Stupas. The Thai word for temple. Lots of them. See one and you’ve seen them all according to some. We were even¬†invited to a funeral for a local CEO when entering one today! In any case, see a couple early.

Tailors. Got ferried to one by our local Tuk-tuk driver. He was a delightful fellow who informed us he got a fuel voucher for 5 litres of petrol to deliver us to one. Once inside I did my best to appear informed as to cut of cloth, the drape, pleats, cuffs, cashmere, 180s fine, thread and most importantly the cost. In the end (three complimentary beers down) I demurred and said I wanted to compare prices. His offer: 1 suit, 2 trousers, 3 shirts for 15,000 baht. In any case, now doing internet research and I may be better off getting something made in Shanghai. 

More adventures will be forthcoming – only been here for one day and I’m already feeling the vibe! 6am start tomorrow…