After a night at the expensive sky bar we packed our bags and headed to backpacker heaven. Khao San is a tiny road that has long been the lighthouse for tourists coming to Thailand and for good reason: you can buy anything you want there. I myself was quite tempted to pick up a degree from Harvard for my next round of grad school apps. Drugs, booze and women can all be bought or rented for the evening. Food vendors roam the streets with noodles, rice, odd fish and there was one that made banana pancakes. Catcalls of scam artists and sellers ring in your ears. A man in the center of the street was throwing a glowing propeller up in the air for your viewing pleasure. A magician had a large crowd at the end of the street. “Friendly Strangers” appear out of nowhere to try and lead you to a waiting Tuk-Tuk. And there are languages of all kind; Thai, English, Israeli, German, French and Swedish could all be heard. There was a stench in the air of the unkempt and un-showered. Everyone had a smile on their face. In many ways, it reminds me of Beale St. in Memphis but with horrible music. The social hierarchy of Thailand goes as follow: 1) Buddha, 2) The King and Queen, 3) Lady Gaga. The love affair the Thais have for that skinny queen of dance pop will most likely outlive Lady Gaga herself. I wouldn’t be shocked if they were creating a monument in her honor and celebrating her birthday as a national holiday. In any case, Lady Gaga songs were played on repeat through the street all night long.We managed to find a little bar on the third floor of some building overlooking the whole road where the guitar player could play anything from Mariah Carey to Eric Clapton. Sadly, Journey was not within his abilities. We even found a pathetic haunted house at the end of the road that we got into for free.
Drinks were still a bit pricey but the real reason from coming to Khao San is the people. After dark the locals come out and it can take a while but sometimes they will mingle with the tourists. I made friends with two Israelis who had just flown in from India. They had some great stories and, so they said, “zhe beest hashish of India.” Don’t worry, Mom, I said no.