I set off from Kathmandu at 10am to Delhi. Surprise, surprise the flight was running late, but luckily my connecting flight wasn’t for a couple of hours. Then Delhi to Bangkok, arriving about 8pm. Prepaid taxi to the hotel. The driver was lovely, although he didn’t speak any English. I arrived at the hotel, and thought I was in heaven. Hot showers with plenty of pressure that didn’t spray everywhere on the floor. Clean, crisp white sheets without stains. Comfy bed, and room service. No honking horns outside the windows. I ordered room service for dinner – fish cakes and duck red curry. The fish cakes were a little oily and anaemic, but the flavour was so good in both. The next day, complimentary breakfast buffet – 4 star hotel style. I had pancakes, fruit, eggs and toast and a hot chocolate from a Nescafé machine that was pretty damn good. I had to change rooms at midday to move into the twin room I’d be sharing with a tour buddy. After that I took the subway to a shopping centre. I asked to concierge for directions and they explained it so casually that I thought it would be easy to figure out, and I glossed over the details. Hmm, not so much. The system seemed similar to the Japanese system, so I knew how to work the ticket machines, but I couldn’t work out which station I was supposed to get off at. Luckily the guy in the ticket booths was really helpful and I got there no problem, even changing from subway to above ground train lines. The MBK shopping centre was huge. It reminded me of Shenzhen, with random assortments of shops squeezed into small spaces, and varying product displays – from glass cases showcasing items laid on velvet, to racks of sunglasses and watches hung from hooks in the ceiling, and rails on the walls. I bought some new earrings, a necklace, some leather wrist bands and then sat down for a mocha. I then tried to find out how much it would be to send a package of souvenirs home. The price was far too high, so I decided to leave a small backpack at the hotel instead. I got back to the room in mid afternoon. My roomie arrived shortly after (another Pom!), and we chatted for a little while before our meeting downstairs. Our group consisted of 3 boys from WA, a Canadian girl from Hong Kong, a German girl living in Switzerland and another from Iceland. Our tour leader is softly spoken, and seemed to take it upon himself to quash our expectations of this tour. No drugs, no prostitutes, be careful of your bags, because there are snatchings, lock up valuables even in your room because you won’t get it back if it goes missing, don’t get aggressive with the locals because they will get their friends, don’t go anywhere alone or you might be mugged. It was a combination of Duh and What Kind of People Do You Think We Are… (Or what kind of people come on this tour). We went to dinner together, and with some people’s first taste of Thai food. I had phad see ew, which was delicious but small. So I had dessert too – longan and nut in cold sugar syrup. Unusual taste, but tasty. Not many longan in it though – disappointing. It started pouring while we ate (with lightning – yay!), so we stuck around for a bit waiting for it to subside. Back in the room, I watched the lightning show as I went to sleep.