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Lady Gaga: Hot and Sticky, Bangkok-Style

G and I have the same fearful vision in our heads: we get on these bikes, are taken for a ride and I am kidnapped, disappearing into Bangkok forever.

Let’s have a word about Bangkok. Living on Khao San Road is really cheap but kind of a pain in the rear. It’s not connected to the metro lines, forcing you to go by tuk-tuk or taxi and god willing I will never have to take another tuk-tuk.

It’s 4:30 on concert day and we decide that we should get going. We’d like to sit at a restaurant, food stand, whatever and have dinner and beers  before the show. We figure we will take a taxi, plus rush hour on a Friday evening is just about to start. Fretfully we approach the line of taxis. We engage one and then crap, G forgot the 7/11 Gaga receipt. Run back to hostel and fetch it. Back to the taxi line. The taxi actually waited for us. 300 baht and he will take us there. We want the meter rather than a flat fare and we know that it is about 350-400 baht to get right across Bangkok by taxi. The stadium is about halfway in between, which would make a pretty good fare for this guy. We finally agree with the driver, shake hands on the price and take off. Half an hour later he deposits us at the National Stadium. I knew that there was an old stadium that was serviced by the metro and asked the driver again, ‘Rajamangala Stadium, yes?’ He answered in the affirmative, that little [EXPLETIVE]. He dropped us off at the old one. 5:30pm. Whelp, let’s jump on the metro line. I vaguely remembered reading that the Rajamanagala Stadium is serviced by the airport line. So shuffling among the evening commuters we spend another hour navigating the short distance between the metro line and the airport line. I’m starting to sweat in the sticky Bangkok air. Finally, we get to the airport line and are one stop from the stadium. So close. It’s already 6:30pm. We patiently stand in line. I would estimate about 30 people were in front of us. The train arrives and it is packed. 5 people are able to squish on. Ugggggggh. Another train arrives. It collects another 5. We are going nowhere fast.  This is beginning to feel like Mission Impossible. We amend our plan, we will grab another taxi to get from the skytrain to the stadium. As we leave we walk with another disgruntled fan and he suggests motorcycle taxis because the congestion out front of the stadium will be mental.

We get to the street and there’s not a taxi in sight. Signage in the station reads ‘Beware of unlicensed taxis.’ This isn’t your typical Sky Train station. It’s dark and vacant. Under the skytrain overpass a small crowd of motorcycle taxis in reflective orange vests are vying for our business. ‘Lady Gaga concert?’ they pedal. I look and G and we can not believe that we are going to get onto motorcycle taxis in Bangkok. If we take these taxis we will be split up, each of us on separate bikes. I explain very simply, ‘We stay together. I do not have any money on me. He will pay. So we need to end up together.’ G and I have the same fearful vision in our heads: we get on these bikes, are taken for a ride and I am kidnapped, disappearing into Bangkok forever. Okay that’s a little ridiculous, I am a grown woman. We wind in and out of traffic, under dark overpasses and in all sorts of directions. G twists around to try and find me in the traffic every 30 seconds or so. His face is so concerned, like the good Dad Pants boyfriend he is, and it is totally endearing. We arrive at Rajamangala Stadium around 7:30pm, a good three hours after we left Khao San Road. But we arrived in total Bangkok style. So much for a nice dinner and beer -what were we thinking?! We scramble to find the Thai Ticket Major stand so we can collect our tickets and then have to deposit our camera. At this point neither one of us has eaten anything since 11:00am (good thing it was Subway), nor have had anything to drink. My basic needs are so not being met at the moment which means a bad attitude is impending. We file through the crowd to get some water and beer. There are so many Lady Gagas running around in carefully crafted costumes. We squeeze into the stadium which is actually an open air structure.

The show itself was amazing. We were a little far from the stage due to our tardy arrival but the set was impressive. Gaga really is just that, Gaga. She is so strange. Not bad strange by any means, but she is certainly living on a different planet than I am. This was the Born This Way Ball and all I can say is that she has mixed a whole lot of sexuality (read: humping and thongage) with a lot of Jesus. No wonder governments are losing their shit over the show. Anyway, her vocals were flawless, costumes were stunning and she showed loads of personality. Kudos Lady Gaga.

The show finished and of course it wouldn’t be Bangkok if it wasn’t a total pain in the ass getting home too. We spent a good hour and a half finding a taxi. We were so relieved to no longer be aimlessly wandering about and it cost a mere 120 baht to get home (compared to getting there: 700 or so baht!).

So all in all, the show was amazing, however it took like five hours in traffic to get there and back while the show was maybe two hours long. Kind of took the piss out of it. Whatever, I saw Lady Gaga in Bangkok.

I think you can sense my growing dislike for Bangkok…time to get out.

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