The following was written 6-29, in Bangkok
8:30AM BK Time The plane ride to Bangkok was uneventful. I slept all of the way. We arrived a little early. 11:30PM, I think. After going through Passport Control, I went to collect my backpack — which, thankfully, made it through unscathed. On my way out of the airport terminal, lots of private taxi companies tried to give me a ride to the red light district. I ignored them, and went out to wait for the Airport Bus, which is supposed to run every 30 minutes till 00:30 (I have to get used to 24-hr time. Everyone uses it here), but the bus never came. So I walked over to get a meter taxi.
Of course, I luck out and get the taxi driver who keeps moaning like he’s going to pass out right there and keeps an empty cigarette box next to him that he spits in every few minutes. His English was more or less limited to “Name hotel?” and even after I gave him the direction card to the hostel, the best he could do was get me to the right street. Not the best experience, and I’ve been avoiding taxis since.
After wandering around the Soi (side street) for a while, a taxi driver and two different tuk-tuk drivers helped me find where I was supposed to go. Their friendliness made up for the taxi ride. So after walking around for about 20 minutes at 1AM, I arrive at the hostel, dripping sweat.
After checking in, I drop dead on the first empty bed in the dorm that I see.
I woke up the next day around 8AM — in time for the hostels free breakfast of bread and fruit. Quite tasty, especially after airplane food. After that, I ventured out and explored most all of the areas that the Skytrain went to (it’s cheap and air-conditioned). Plenty of people tried to sell me cheap tours and prostitutes, which got annoying after a while. Around 2PM I cam back to the air-conditioned dorm room, figuring I’d read a little and maybe take a nap. As soon as I got on the bed I was out.
I woke up around 8PM, but it was dark out and, for some reason, I wasn’t hungry, so I just thought “screw it” and went back to sleep. Not exactly smart, as sleeping half the day isn’t going to help me get over jet lag. Though I think my exhaustion is more from heat than the time zone. I woke up this morning at 7AM, took a cold shower and washed my shirt, underwear, and socks. Then I went down to breakfast, and now I sit on my bed, writing this.
I’m not looking forward to going out again today, but know I should (and stay out — all day). Bangkok is chaotic, hot, and smells worse than Tacoma. Which isn’t to say it’s all bad, but I’m looking forward to moving on. I suppose today I should go out and do all the tourist stuff. The Skytrain is really limited and only takes you around “new” Bangkok. All the tourist stuff is near the river in “old” Bangkok, so I don’t know how I’ll get there. An air-con taxi sounds nice, but is probably the most expensive option. Perhaps I should figure out how the bus system works.
It’s going to be hot. It’s probably about 75-80F here in the air-conditioned room — about the top of my comfort level. And it’s only 9AM. It rained a little yesterday, but that didn’t help it cool down any. Well, I guess I’ll go brave the streets. Wish me luck. I need to get to an ATM, too.
10:00AM BK Time You haven’t lived till you’ve risked life and limb, weaving in and out of the streets of Bangkok on the back of a motorcycle. (They should make a Fast and the Furious movie here.) I was worried the driver wouldn’t take me to the right place, but he did. 150 Baht later, I’m at the Grand Palace. IT’d be nice to get a tour guide to tell me what I’m looking at, but I’m to cheap for that.
There’s hundreds of people here. White is still a minority.
Aah, a breeze…
I wonder if I got lice from that motorcycle helmet.
1:35PM Bangkok Time I’m at Wat Pho now. Home of the giant Reclining Buddha and the Thai Massage School. I think next I’ll go to the National Museum, which is probably air-conditioned. By the way, I’ve devised a new system to find one’s way around Bangkok. I found Wat Pho by walking in the general direction and waiting for someone to approach me and tell me the Wat was closed today. If I stopped hearing that, I picked another direction to walk in. And it worked! After all, here I am.
I find Thais are much more friendly here in the tourist part of town. I’m not topped every block by a tuk-tuk driver offering me a tour, because I’m already here.
Though I love the Suk 11, I wish it was in a better location.
Oh, I have plans for tonight: an air-con movie theatre! There’s a couple in Siam Square and from there I can Skytrain back to the Suk.
A cat just jumped on the bench with me. There are a lot of stray cats and dogs around Bangkok.
There’s lots of school groups the Wats, too. The little girls all get really excited if you wave and say hello. It’s funny. I kinda feel sorry for them in their uniforms. Must be hot.