Wheels on fire, Bangkok.

 

“Its gonna take us ages to get through this lot”, Hannah remarks looking into the mass of drunk in front of us.

She shifts awkwardly in her wheelchair.

I take the initiative and grab the handles tilting her backwards in one swift motion.

We burn the street and bark at the rabble to announce our arrival.  Moses parts the red sea cackling into the night and joining in the fun.

Letting off steam

Two weeks after Hannah fractured her foot we decide we’ve had enough resting and it’s time to get back on the move.

We fly to Bangkok and despite the fact that the crutches make getting around with all our gear a lot harder, we’re determined to make it work.

Apprehensive at first because of our recent hermit existence, we decide to check into a home stay a little distance from the craziness of Khaosan Road.

An over familiar check in experience and cat litter box in the shared shower room were enough to tell us we’d made a mistake.

The next morning we sharply left and checked into a budget (but clean) guest house a couple of streets down from Khaosan Road. A much better choice as there were plenty of bars and restaurants reachable on the crutches.

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Standard dinner of Thai salad, noodle dish and Singha beer

On our first night we made friends with a young Dutch couple. Their first night away on a month long trip.

Within the hour we were amongst the whords on Bangkok’s busiest party street. The discarded buckets and party debris lined the pavement.

We threw ourselves in headfirst. We were back! We needed this.

At 4am the party was over and our hangovers began. After a snooze we levelled our heads with bloody Mary’s and decided the sensible thing to find a place to hire a wheelchair. A few hours later we return from Bangkok’s Mission Hospital with rented wheels. At 500baht (£10) a day it was well worth it.

Over the next few days we hit some of Bangkok’s famous sites.

Art attack

Taxis are cheap in the city if your driver will take you on the metres. Most were happy to oblige and helped us fold Hannah’s wheels into the boots of their cabs.

We took in some of Thailands oldest, Buddhist artefacts at the National Museum. It was interesting no doubt but the cobbled pavement on the sprawling grounds made the movement particularly bumpy and jolting.

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The remains of an ancient Buddha sculpture at the National Museum

We scorched ourselves in the heat at the world famous Chatuchak Weekend Market. South East Asia’s biggest market and a surprisingly easy terrain to cruise through.

Without doubt though the highlight was a day trip to MOCA (the museum of contemporary art).

Like most modern art buildings from the outside MOCA looks menacing and harsh. It’s sharpe angles and edges dig into the skyline.

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Hannah sitting with her new wheels at MOCA

Inside the space is vast, open and cool. With 4 floors displaying some of Thailands (and in fact the worlds) most prominent and exciting works it is a joy. A lift made getting between floors really easy and for the whole day we felt at ease.

Displaying the work of Thawan Duchanee, the top floor captivated us the most.  His raw, animalistic, bold paintings jumped out at you but didn’t overwhelm and the whole floor seemed to fit together like a beautiful red and black puzzle.

Although we’re hopeful that Hannah’s injury won’t cause long term damage, even in this short time we’re seeing the world differently.

Navigating new and strange cities without being able to walk is hard. The heat makes using crutches exhausting and many places just aren’t accessible with a wheelchair.

A lot of the time though, gaining the motivation to push yourself into a situation can be the most difficult thing.

Bangkok proved to us that it is doable. Let’s see how things go in Cambodia.

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