Queen Sirikit’s Birthday Weekend – Thursday

I am lying in bed, sick.

It’s pretty much the same illness my baby sister had when she came back from Ibiza – inflamed white tonsils, fever etc.  She had taken her suitcase to Pacha (a nightclub) and then at 7am after dancing all night, went straight to the airport. So we can understand how her immune system might have been a bit tired and run down. I know some people (cough*mummy*cough*) will suggest I am sick for the same reason, however my finger of blame is pointing straight at Jay, Sam and Joey (Ok so maybe not Jay, but def Sam and Joey). However, since you do not yet know who they are, I will rewind to the very beginning. Thursday, the day after I went searching through threads…

On Thursday I had originally planned to finally go to see the Royal Palace and Wat Arun (I still haven’t made it there), and then in the evening meet up with my cousin who was passing through Bangkok on her way to Chiang Mai. However, when I still hadn’t heard from her that morning, I realised I was going to need to be close to the internet to see what our plans were to be. So instead I decided to visit the Jim Thompson house which is literally 1 Soi down from me. Jim Thompson was an American, an ex-architect, a retired army officer, a one-time spy, a silk merchant and a renowned collector of antiques. He revitalised the Thai silk industry – inventing the jewel tones and dramatic colour combinations associated with Thai silk as well as raising thousands of Thailand’s poorest people out of poverty. His house on the Khlong is considered the pinnacle of his architectural achievement, designed to showcase the objets d’art he had amassed. Thompson mysteriously disappeared while out on a walk in Malaysia’s Cameron Highlands and though there has been intense speculation, no one has ever found out what became of him! His house was interesting, I especially liked the intricately carved wooden mouse maze. Apparently in the days before television, men would keep themselves entertained by putting mice in the maze and placing bets on which mouse would find it’s way out first! The only way to go around the house was to go on a guided tour and one member of our tour group was a guy around my age. It quickly transpired that he hadn’t actually bought a ticket and had snuck into the house on the tails of our group. I think he started talking to me to make it seem as if he was with someone in the group! It turned out that Horst was from Köln in Germany and had just finished his masters in finance (why is it always finance?) and was about to begin work as an accountant. He would have fit in at LSE! However if I ignore the fact that he did finance he was actually really nice – the absolute opposite of me with my hour-by-hour plans and maps. He was spontaneous and mischievous and made me laugh – it seems I had finally found a friend. We wandered around the gardens after the tour – it was my sort of paradise. Thick and leafy, plants with flamboyant waxy leaves, not the dry crispness of western plants. Vivid dashes of bright colours were dashed around the jungle-esque garden, as if someone had let a slightly insane painter loose with some primary colours. As I walked around I let my hand trail over the soft petals of the orchids, unable to resist touching everything like a little child. Apparently this greatly amused Horst.

Just as we were leaving the house, it started to pour  – I didn’t fancy getting soaked, but we had to leave as we were both starving and everyone knows how tetchy I can get when I’m hungry. Horst managed to convince me that it would be a good idea to ‘borrow’ one of the umbrellas belonging to the house (I reasoned that I could always return it later given that I live on the next street). So we scuttled down the street under the giant umbrella, with me giggling like a little kid. After a while we noticed that a man with a similar umbrella to ours was following us – turns out he had been sent to recover it when we didn’t need it anymore! Feeling quite bad, I persuaded Horst to hand over the stolen item, which happened to luckily coincide with the end of the rain. After a quick and simple meal by the side of the road, we went back to my home so I could check to see whether Katherine had been in contact… No news. I was ready to spend the rest of the evening sitting by the computer waiting for her to message me, but Horst (being somewhat more practical than me) suggested that I leave her my local phone number and that we get the hell out of there! His aim was to get lost in the narrow cluttered streets of Siam Square and that is exactly what we did, with a pit stop to get our feet nibbled by tiny fishies and some time spent wandering around a mall where we signed a big birthday book for Queen Sirikit – her birthday (and mothers day) was the following day. Finally, a few hours later we made our way back to my room.

My plan for Friday was to go and visit the Tiger Temple near Kanchanaburi – I had a map and a little schedule of bus times and train times all planned out in my journal and I asked my new friend Horst if he cared to join me – he did! So we parted with plans to meet at mine at 8.00am the following morning…

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