We started our third day in Bangkok. Wyn wanted something simple for breakfast so had a pancake at the Lamphu Guesthouse. I went back up the road to the el-cheapo muesli place. Here I met a young guy from Palmy North who had cycled through Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia. And back to Bangkok. Now that’s keen. We checked out of the Lamphu where we couldn’t stay any longer and took a taxi to Wendy House. Which is run by a wonderful woman called Wendy. She is a real treasure who devotes a lot of energy to making sure everything is right for her guests. We were close to Siam Square which is Shopping Central. We found our way down the street and over the road to the MBK complex. Complex it is. 7 levels. And who knows how many atriums. We kept getting lost – it claims to have thousands of shops and we must have seen at least 570 of them by the time we got tired out and retreated. It rained heavily in the evening.
Friday 12th and Wyn had tummy trouble and wasn’t in any state to be heading off that night in a train. So I taxied to the station and was able to change our tickets for Saturday night. And bonus – I was able to upgrade to a 2nd class sleeper. We’ve come to like 2nd class sleeper trains with quite a passion. You can sleep on them for a start. I felt quite the traveler exiting from the station and brushing past the touts and getting my own taxi and reminding him to use the meter. All credit to Bangkok. They have a good proportion of taxis that operate on meters which means you pay what it is supposed to be and don’t feel ripped off. Most other places let their taxi and tuk-tuk drivers prey on trusting tourists. Which doesn’t do them any favours in the long run – you just end up walking or not going places. Back at the guest house we were able to extend our stay so all was well. I had a good read of the Bangkok Post. Any paper with that many comic strips is worth a read. Wizard of Id, Garfield, Peanuts. Best of all – Blondie and Andy Capp. I thought Dagwood and Andy were dead. If they’d included Calvin and Hobbes I might have had to subscribe. It rained heavily in the evening – again.
Saturday Wyn wasn’t feeling a lot better. The ever-kind Wendy suggested a checkout by a doctor before departing for the north. She suggested the BNH Hospital – BNH being short for Bangkok Nursing Home. Wow! What an impressive place that is. We taxied there, and both taxi doors were opened for us when we pulled up. It was more like a futuristic hotel on the inside. We were soon at the new arrivals desk where Wyn was processed and photoed. And sent up the escalator to the Gasto Department on the next floor. With an admission sheet that included her photo – now there’s a smart patient ID system. The Gastro Department was super efficient and it wasn’t long before she got to see a doctor. She thought it was likely to be a simple infection but was keen to be sure and wanted a sample. She prescribed some medications and we went back downstairs to pay – somewhere less than $100 including lab tests. We then went to the adjacent Pharmacy counter where they already had the prescriptions all made up. It was all very very impressive. It was a very interesting contrast with our NZ health system and in many ways was far superior.
We still had the use of our room until the evening – for a fee – so Wyn was able to rest some more. Eventually it was time to check out and we got a taxi to the railway station via the hospital to drop off Wyn’s sample. The station was busy with lots waiting for night trains. Ours was waiting already and we boarded early and made ourselves comfortable. It left right on time and we headed north into the night. It wasn’t long before our bunk beds were made up and we were able to lie down and sleep.