The weigh-in went pretty smooth, I came in at just over 54kg and my opponent came in at 56kg. Mr. Thakoon was in Japan with Rungravee so his brother
Torsak was looking after us. It really tickled him that I’d come in so light for the fight but I wasn’t that bothered as I’ve given weight away in every fight I’ve had this year so it wasn’t anything new.
After we’d finished up P’Torsak told us that we’d be leaving for the fights no later than 4.30pm the next day. I knew there was no way we would be leaving at 4.30pm though; Thais have their own sense of time that seems to differ from everyone else’s.
A few years ago I was fighting in Phuket while I was staying in Bangkok, we were told we would be leaving at 6pm so had to be at the gym for 5.30pm…..we left Bangkok close to 10pm.
This year’s event wasn’t held at the usual place due to the major flooding that Thailand had experienced this year. It was in the same area in Sanamluang but was held at the Bangkok horse racing course.
We started to stroll to Sasiprapa at about 4.30pm; I got a call asking where I was. “Oh we must be leaving on time” I hurried up getting there at 4.35pm… We didn’t leave till 5.45pm.
The traffic would have been horrendous so we were told that we’d have to catch a boat down the river to the event. This is actually one of the best ways to travel if you want to miss the Bangkok traffic.
P’Jeab was our chaperone and would show us what boats to get. We would have to travel so far on one boat then get off to catch another.
So P’Jeab trotted off with two other Thais and about 10 westerners following him. It was quite a nice atmosphere, everyone was laughing and joking on the way to the river and all those fighting seemed relaxed.
We waited by the river for about 10 minutes until the first boat came, it cost 20 baht per person (just under 40p) to travel any distance along the river.
P’Jeab was talking to another Thai on the boat and after a while of him jibbering away he turned to us all and told us that the river was too low where we needed to get the second boat so we’d have to get the bus the rest of the way.
Public buses are certainly an experience in Bangkok, extremely over crowed, no air conditioning and the floor is wooden; a complete death trap! I figured it would be fun.
We got off the boat at Prathumnam and headed to the roads to catch the bus.
We stood at a bus stop for some time, P’Jeab looking a little confused. Thais think a little differently to way most westerners do. He had no clue as to what bus to catch to the event but to save face he kept quiet and tried to figure out what to do.
If you ask for directions in Thailand and the person you ask doesn’t know where the place is, it is quite common for them to still give you directions, not out of malice but to save face so they don’t look stupid.
We all knew he didn’t know what bus to get but none of us said anything. After a while he turned and said that we would get a taxi instead.
He flagged down a taxi and gave the driver the instructions on where to go. The driver declined to take us. It is also very common in Thailand for taxi drivers to turn down custom if they believe the traffic to be too bad.
P’Jeab kind of flipped and started saying to the driver “why are you a taxi driver if you don’t want to take people to where they wanted to go.” This was all said in Thai obviously but this was something I’d always wanted to say to a taxi driver in Bangkok. It can get very frustrating when all you want to do is get home and you’ve asked about 10 taxis to take you.
The taxi drove away from P’Jeab but it didn’t get very far because of the traffic, P’Jeab followed the taxi with a stern look on his face. We all thought he was going to drag the driver out the car but he was just heading to a tuk tuk in front of the car.
The tuk tuk driver was willing to take us. We had to get four tuk tuks in total to get everyone there.
We pulled into the car park of the race course and the tuk tuk drivers wished us luck as we got off.
As I walked in I could see the ring and the stage, I suddenly got a wave of excitement shoot through my body.
This was something I’d wanted to do since I’d started fighting and it was finally happening.