As we arrived in Bangkok Mel and I came reached a decision. We decided to split up.
Maybe it was over 3 months of being in each others company 24 hours a day. Most likely it was the arrival of some of my pals from back home - hell bent on partying away their 2 weeks annual leave. Mel rather sensibly opted to head south to Ko Pha Ngan where we plan on meeting up again in a couple of weeks time.
The break started in worrying, albeit not unexpected, fashion. Within the first 24 hours one of our number had a drunken fall that would leave him with back pain for the rest of the trip, while another managed to incurr the kind of sunburn you normally only see on lobsters after a few minutes in the pot.
About the only cultural thing we managed to do in Bangkok was visit the house of the American silk trader Jim Thompson - now a museum dedicated to good causes after his mysterious disappearance in the Cameron Highlands of Malaysia.
It was an interesting visit, however as the Chang Beer* took hold that evening in the bars along Khao San Road, the legendary figure we recounted to Chris who'd just arrived on a later flight from Dubai may have been just slightly exaggerated.
Just like our casualty list, the Jim Thompson legend continued to grow over the next 11 days as we too headed southward ...
* Never, ever drink Chang was the resolution I made last time I was in Thailand. It tastes fine, but at 6.4% it's just one step too close to Special Brew for my liking - it's one of those drinks that causes you to forget who you are, then makes you pay for the privilege all the next day. In Bangkok, faced with a bar selling only Chang Beer (and an immovable group of Chang novices) I was forced to break my resolution - but I haven't changed my mind ...