Bopping with Niall JP O'Leary

Niall O'Leary insists on sharing his hare-brained notions and hysterical emotions. Personal obsessions with cinema, literature, food and alcohol feature regularly.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Drunken Ramble on Khao San

Khao San is a silly, lively place full of bars, restaurants and all sorts of other places. It's all lit up nice and bright so you can't miss it, and of course in the process you do. Blinded by the light you might be mistaken for not seeing it as the empty road it is. Anyhow for once the guide books got something right. They suggested a restaurant just off the street, on the Sunrise exit, called Sunset, and it was just quiet enough (a jazz band played from the adjacent bar), and the food was just good enough, to make eating there pleasurable. Unfortunately they had no large bottles of Chang, just a 1 litre jug of draught, so I had to make do.

This is the first time in months that I have been on my own and with the culture shock, it would be a lie to say it isn't a little disconcerting. No one speaks the language and nowhere can be found. The essence of travelling lies in getting hold of a place, finding out just enough and using your knowledge enough to show you can have an effect, that you are not just flotsam and jetsam on the messy tide of an unknown shore. You have to make your presence felt. This is easier when you are with others. They may not be part of the location, but they give the soul just enough purchase to make that climb to comfort easier. Anyhow I am getting there. With tooth and nail I make my way forward. I feel a lot better now than I did when I arrived. I found a restaurant.

It's actually a lot more familiar here than I thought initially. At least Khao San is. This is Tenerife. Ibiza. That road in Albufera the English all drink on. Sure the faces are different, the language has changed, but this is a tourist 'mecca'. Not where you might want to end up, you might say, but to those of us looking for direction it is sadly, but funnily, a welcome signpost.

There is a woman beside me looking up elephant trails. No doubt that will be me in a day or two. I was reading earlier about Phang Nga. My idyllic beachfront bungalow looks set to turn into a party pad, although I think I have just missed the full moon party for February.


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