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Finding the Hotel (aka Sharon might be right)

August 4th, 2007 · 1 Comment

A friend found us some accommodation in Bangkok after we left Chiang Mai. It was centrally located and the price was more or less right. We flew into

Bangkok went to the taxi stand, explained where we were staying. Since it’s not a well known hotel, we told the taxi stand operator what the nearest landmark was conveniently, called the Landmark Hotel. It’s a huge hotel that been in Bangkok for years, located in the largest street in

Bangkok and really, really hard to miss.

In our previous 3 days in

Bangkok, I learned where the hotel was so: The theory is that you explain where you are trying to go and they explain to the cab driver in Thai the location and the driver takes you. Very simple, worked for us before and ensured you didn’t get taken at the airport by crooked cab drivers. We all know that cab drivers are honest people that would never take advantage of tourists.

As per SOP (standard operating procedure), we negotiated the price before getting into the cab and headed off.

Sharon doesn’t trust cab drivers and is convinced they are always trying to rip us off which is mostly true. Her favourite trick is to decide that they are going the wrong way, based on her built-in sense of direction in cities we have never visited. Then she will turn to me and say he’s going the wrong way and expect me to do something about it. My options at this point are somewhat limited:

  1. I can leap into the front seat, pummel the driver into submission, take control of the vehicle and start going in the direction that Sharon feels is correct. Of course this needs to be done while he’s on the highway driving at speed so I need to be lightening quick so we don’t kill ourselves and Thais are smaller and faster than me… A few minutes of careful planning indicates that this is a poor course of action as my James Bond days are sadly limited to birdwatching (how many of you actually get this joke?)
  2. The 2nd and more painful option for me personally is to point out to Sharon that her sense of direction isn’t that great and then brace for the storm.

    Sharon gets really pissed off and we have a mini-fight as the driver winds his way towards the destination. If I time it right, I can usually distract

    Sharon for long enough that we get to the destination and she’s none the wiser. Since we don’t have make-up sex when we fight there really isn’t that much to lose.
  3. The 3rd option is to ignore her. Problem with this option is that Sharon will start to get questioning with the driver and since I’m the one that will likely have to get into it with the driver and I’m a large chicken, I don’t like this option either. Better to distract her with something shiny.

I bravely decided for option 2 and off we went bickering back and forth like an old married couple which, sigh, we are. Everything was going to plan until the driver turned around and asked for 150 THB for the tolls on the highway. Since the entire cost of the fare should have been around 200 THB including tolls, this seemed like an unreasonable request and leant some credence to

Sharon’s concern that we were being ripped off. It also stopped the fight in mid-sentence since

Sharon clearly had the upper hand.

We approached the toll both and

Sharon scanned the sign. We need to come up with about 30 THB which

Sharon pulled from her wallet and handed to the driver. The driver peered back and noticed that it wasn’t 150 THB like he expected but kept driving. We came up to the 2nd toll and it was around the same price so it seemed that the cab driver was trying to screw us.

Sharon was right. Yes, I said it in writing. Even

Sharon gets lucky sometimes.

As we approached our destination, the driver did some weird stuff and appeared to be going in the wrong direction. The fare kept going up and up. We finally arrived in the right area, he pulled over to the side and pointed outside. No Landmark Hotel was in sight and I wondered why he stopped. I got out and looked around, no landmarks of any kind but I knew we were close to the main intersections. I said Landmark Hotel a little louder. As everybody well knows, if the locals don’t understand the first try, try, try again only raise the volume on each iteration.

We moved forwarded a few more metres then tried again hopefully pointing outside again. No luck. Landmark Hotel, Volume 5. We kept going for about 3 more tries until the Volume was at level “Pound his head in” when he finally conceded defeat and asked for directions from another cab driver. A flurry of Thai was exchanged. A lady that we met, who spoke 11 languages (that annoyed Sharon) said that Thais talking to each other sounded like screeching cats. In a hot and aggravated state, I tended to agree with her and I had yet to deal with the wrath of Sharon who was going to point out she was right and why did I bother to question her rightness.

We took off with determination this time and sped along Soi Nana, the 2nd largest hooker street in Bangkok (keep this in mind). The driver turned down an alley and started executing a complicated series of turns. In the back of mind I was thinking that I had pushed him too far with Volume 8 and we were being delivered to the Thai Mafia for summary theft and what ever else they do with foreigners. I clutched my camera bag a little closer judging I could at least do some serious damage by using it as a flail.

After about 5 minutes of back alleys in Bangkok, a tiny little sign in English appeared for the Landmark Hotel. I wasn’t about to question the wisdom of putting such a sign in this location because as far as I could tell cab drivers didn’t read English very well. We executed two more very sharp corners and there we were, 500m from our original starting point outside the Landmark Hotel.

We paid the driver exactly on the meter, strapped our backpacks on surveyed the wonders of

Bangkok in 34C. A trickle of sweat was already forming in places sweat has no right to be. Since I had talked with the person arranging the accommodation, it was up to me to lead in the correct direction. I looked around and couldn’t see the hotel sign and so opted to walk left.

Sharon, just to be contrary, started to walk right convinced that it was in the other direction.

Another pleasant exchange of words amplified by the heat, noise and cabs of Bangkok about directions ensued. I won’t bore you with details but suffice to say I did what men having been doing since the beginning of time, I caved and followed

Sharon.

A few minutes later we found the hotel but the entrance was a little perplexing. After a few misses in surrounding businesses, we discovered that the entrance was actually in a tailor shop owned by the same family and we had to take the stairs to up to get to reception. Up the stairs we lurched and arrived at a lobby that looked more like a food counter than a hotel lobby. Off to the left was “in-house” massage rooms and I started to worry just a teeny bit about the character of this place. The person at reception greeted us and I said we had a reservation under Lion (it was actually under Lionel but they can’t wrap their language around Lionel so he used Lion).

Sharon said she wanted to see the room as per SOP and I guarded the bags and waited for the judgment. I wasn’t doing well today, I had been verifiably wrong at least twice today and was hoping that the room passed muster.

Fortunately Lady Luck felt that I had repented enough and that the room was adequate so off we went. The room was fine and was pleased to see that it backed on Soi Nana where the evening entertainment would be watching the hookers and johns ply their trade.

We went off for a while and came back around 10 PM and went up to the room. I was exhausted for some reason but checked out the window just in case. I then felt, rather than heard, the bass beat coming from a go-go club about 750m from the window. I felt that the AC would drown out the noise and vibration. I went back to bed, read for a bit and tried to fall asleep.

No go. The rhythmic pounding of the bass beat mixed with Bangkok traffic, AC noise, Sharon snoring and a few other choice noises were not going to let me sleep. I suffered through a long night and when

Sharon woke up fresh as a daisy, announced we were going to leave and find alternate accommodation.We did find alternate accommodation, a fine little place called Cozy on Ten with a 5 floor walk-up. It was quiet, cheap and clean.

The moral of the story is that Sharon is always right. I swear that she isn’t standing over me with a knife making me write this. Do I get sex tonight dear?

Tags: Bangkok · Blogroll · Togetherness · Travel

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 yvonne shamash // Aug 4, 2007 at 10:55 am

    Jacques

    Never, never, never admit that Sharon is always right IN WRITING. Poor, poor Jacques….hope the sex was good:)
    Yvonne

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