The inimitable Marco Polo once said “to walk amongst the travelers is to be but a fleeting breeze in an Afghan storm”. With this prose resonating around us, the Southerners 2006 Khao San Torrrr was underway. We were the fleeting breeze and that road, that travelers Mecca that is Khao San, was our Afghan storm. We were going to walk amongst the travelers.

Actually I made that quote up. Our Afghan storm began at the Robin Hood in grand style. Never has a more motley, and let’s face it, brave, accumulation of individuals gathered for what really is a rather parlous adventure into the depths of backpacker culture than on this day. There was Brown looking like Pele after 20 years in Jamaica, Jacques in a tea cosy, Steel with unspeakable hair for which he was fined and a Goa inspired headband, Ham looking like Chopper’s younger English cousin, the usual array of Red Bull singlets, wrist bands, fishermans pants and headscarves, and Fatty and Fabio featuring their normal dress complete with bags that could fit a house strapped to their backs.

So off we traipsed to the BTS. Happily, for the second year in a row no one was pushed on to the tracks so there were no delays. We alight at National Stadium and like true travelers, haggle with the tuk tuk boys for a 5 baht discount and settle in for the ride. Races are on and at least 3 make it on 2 wheels.

First stop is Gullivers. There’s not much happening so we create some action. Drinks are ordered and the court is in session. As per the Rules of the Tour, no imported drinks are allowed. We are backpackers and too poor for that. This is fine when you are drinking Singha beers but when it comes to fines of Sangsom, its hardly ideal and visions of a dog show begin to take shape. Notable fines include Maddern who bought his full outfit 2 minutes earlier on the street, Steel for his terrible hair, youngsters, Fabio and Fatty, just for being youngsters and the French boys for being French. After a few good ones we emerge onto the street for some real atmosphere. Its at
this point we begin to realize we are nothing but a bunch of epigones. We cannot match the authentic backpacker for style and grace. No amount of fake tattoos and fisherman’s pants will do it. But we get stuck in.

Bar #2 was a street side thing. Memory is hazy but one doesn’t forget the Cheers Beer chick who reached her monthly quota in the two hours we were there. Like any traveler we know a special when we see it and two large bottle for 10 cents or whatever it was needed to be dominated. The more you drink the more you save. Indeed. We saved a lot. Tarryn left her mark here with 16 orders of tequila and Linda joined us at this point in a top that wasn’t to stay on long.

Warmed and lubricated and attracting our fair share of stares we launched an assault on a rather upmarket bar across the road whose name escapes me right now. Now this is where things get really hazy, especially for the author who pretty soon got horizontal and at one stage almost fell over the balcony. The party raged on despite him.

Well the memory well and truly runs out now but the evidence suggests we made it the Irish bar upstairs where the usual theatrics took place. Basically we gave it stick. The court was out of session completely by this stage so there was nothing stopping us. On on…

See photos for more info. The author regrets that he can’t write on. Shakes brought on by ‘The Fear’ which was the result of that night and disturbing flashbacks spell the end.

But all in it was an absolute cracker. A slightly different crowd with some ring-ins (and one baby) provided a buzzing dynamic and once again, the Southerners Khao San Tour was a raging success.

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