From one experience to the other. Life`s rich tapestry. I guess I`ve just walked into the Bangkok underground scene. Even the relatively short journey from Phaya Thai to another suburb in Bangkok was an unforgettable experience. But I`ll tell you about that in a moment.
A couple of the girls at the very homely hostel I`ve just vacated smiled when I told them I was going to The Overstay (alternative, art space hostel) and informed me it was probably best described as a squat rather than a hostel. But they added it was an interesting environment and I would probably enjoy it. If I didn`t mind the noise and the cats. They`d both been to The Overstay recently.
To be honest, I don`t mind either. The cats preferable to the noise. But for only a week I`d be willing to put up with the noise too. Especially as I`d been offered free accommodation in return for making a video or two about the place.
So yes, with the comment from the girls and my prior research into the place, I knew that this was going to be no ordinary experience. And so when my tuk tuk driver eventually found the place, it came as no surprise that the guy in charge behind the bar couldn`t locate my booking.
First of all , It wasn`t a booking as such. It was a voluntary agreement with the owner through the workaway website. And secondly, the guy in charge behind the bar, or any of the other bar staff for that matter, had no idea who I was talking about when I asked for 'Da'. That`s the name of the guy I`d been in contact with. Eventually all was sorted out when, 15 minutes later, Da (the owner) appeared and explained to the guys that he was also known as Da. All was very friendly and the bar staff , including the guy in charge behind the bar and a couple of regulars and I chatted about being in Bangkok and I just took it all my stride.
Just to digress for a moment. Right now, as I`m writing this, about 6 hours after I arrived this afternoon, there`s a guitarist and drummer on the stage playing what sounds to me like a loud rock type jam. Sounds pretty good.
Now, back to the tuk tuk. I got in a taxi first but the driver drove me a 100 yards up the road, stopped to ask someone if they could read the address I had which was written in English, failed to get it translated and said sorry but he had no idea where he was going. No sooner had I alighted the taxi when a tuk tuk driver appeared out of nowhere and said he could take me. He looked at the address I had on the piece of paper in my hand and said, no problem. I`d had an experience with a tuk tuk driver on my last visit and so knew that I had to haggle with him for the cost of the journey or face being well and truly ripped off. 400 Baht (£8) he said. 100 Baht (£2) I said, knowing that a taxi on the meter in Bangkok would cost me no more than this, probably much less. We agreed on 200 Baht (£4), a rip off for sure, but I needed to get to The Overstay.
Between the dozen or so stops we had on the way to The Overstay to ask people to translate the address for him and give him directions, you know, the address he said he knew, he kept saying, "It`s a long way. I like 400 Baht." I kept saying, "It`s not a long way. I like 200 Baht." And so it went on all the damn way, probably less that a mile which, because of all the incessant stops to ask for directions, took around half an hour instead of 10 minutes.
The Overstay Bar is pretty dark and dingy but there are some impressive street art type drawings on the walls and other artistic pieces spread around the room. There`s also lots of art space upstairs. And I have to say, having now met another of the bosses here, Kelvin , a young, very tall and thin German guy, I think I may have found a little alternative hub that will possibly help me to think a little more creatively when it comes to video. Kelvin mention something to do with time and space as a premise for a video production about The Overstay. I`ve no idea what the heck he`s talking about (at the moment) but there`s a meeting tomorrow with him, the other boss, and I to discuss.
That`s if I make it through the night without being smothered by a cat, clawed to death by one of the many kittens or deafened by the noise.