Today was my first day with you, and I wasn’t sure what to expect. When I got off the plane, I could immediately feel the heat and humidity. I had heard that it would be hot as balls here, and coming from Chicago, I knew it would be a bit of an adjustment. I wasn’t prepared for drinking two huge bottles of water and still not peeing clear!
After landing, we went through customs, which was a breeze. They didn’t even charge me the $50 for my visa! I picked up my bag in your huuuuuge airport and immediately changed into shorts. Whew, such relief.
Coming from the airport, I took a metered Taxi cab. He had some trouble finding my hostel. We ended up asking two homeless guys in the area and they were incredibly nice and helpful to him and directed us to the proper area. I paid 300 Baht for the ride – so cheap! That’s about $7-9 USD for those of you back home in the states. In Chicago, I’ve never paid less than $30 to a cab driver for an airport run.
Arriving at the hostel, I was struck by it’s beauty. It was back off the road a ways (which is the way you seem to like it) in our own little alcove. I was happy to see that there was a local dog hanging around the area whom I sat and pet for a bit. He was dirty and boney.
I checked in and was kindly directed to my room on the 3rd floor. Apparently I just like to torture myself with rooms on higher floors.
My room is quaint, simple, and suits my needs perfectly. $18 for 4 nights, is a steal! Well played Bangkok. I immediately crashed from the 15 hours of flying and woke up at 6 am.
Coming back to the lobby, I charged my phone and had breakfast.
Then I went exploring.
My dog friend from the hostel followed me. I liked it – I thought maybe the love I’d given him meant we had a bond. We walked for a few miles and came across a street food vender selling some grilled chicken (it’s all chicken, right Bangkok?) and the dog started crying. Bless his soul he was hungry and wanted me to buy him food.
I didn’t. In fact, I immediately hailed a tuk tuk and zipped off with me crying a little because I felt like a horrible person. In my head I know I can’t save them all – or even one.
I had the tuk tuk take me to the skytrain where I boarded to visit Chatachuk market. I met a Swedish lady who doesn’t like Chinese people while waiting for the train. I almost got on the wrong one until a Thai man grabbed me and said “this train doesn’t go to market!”. He had heard me talked to the Swedish lady. He was heading to Chatachuk as well where he owns a shop. We traveled together the whole way and then parted. We did a Wai together and I began my task of exploring the market.
Here I tried to avoid the “pet” section. I did come across it temporarily but had to leave when I saw dogs in cages that were no more than 2 ft hight. The dogs couldn’t even stand. No pictures of this because I want to forget it. I want to forget the caged animals and baby turtles locked alive in necklaces that will one day be their coffins. Bangkok, I heard that the market is sometimes used for selling illegally imported animals and cock fights, I wish I could convenience you there was a better way.
The market was an interesting experience for sure. It really was the biggest thing I’ve ever been to! So far, this is the only part of your city I think my mother would like. I was offered many 1 hour massages for 250 Baht ($8 USD) which I will be doing!
I had fun bartering with a shop owner for a pair of swishy pants I thought would fit me. They do around the waist…just not the thighs. Bangkok, do you have a butt? Apparently you, nor any of your citizens, do!
Oh your citizens. Bangkok, your people are so nice. You should be proud. All of the Thai women smile at me and then men wave respectfully. They are incredibly kind and helpful. I have asked many for directions and they all try to help me. One of them even helped teach me some basic Thai. I’m focusing on thank you – “Kop Khun Kai” and I try to say it often. Your citizens are so surprised and tickled when I say it.
In the US we are told as children to go to police officers if you need help. I got very lost earlier today and with the sun beating down on me, I asked a policeman for directions. He pointed me in the right direction but told me it was a very, very long walk from where we were.
I went to a nearby street and hailed a tuk tuk and showed him on the map where I wanted to go. The policeman saw me talking with the tuk tuk driver and came over and explained to the driver in Thai how to get where I wanted to go.
Bangkok, for having so many tuk tuks and taxis, they are surprisingly confused about navigating the city – Chicago cabbies shame them.
The policeman and the tuk tuk driver talked for a bit, and the policeman give me the thumbs up to get in the tuk tuk. Feeling confident, we zoomed back to the hostel (no, that’s not how I got my name)!
I learned yesterday that the Skytrain will sometimes stop to make sure it is not above the royal family if the King is traveling on the ground.
I admire and commend the pride that you take in your King. I have never felt prideful about my president. It’s cool we have an African-American president – that’s a big step for the United States as a whole, but that’s what I’m taking pride in…not Obama himself.
Bangkok, your city is beautiful. While the homes can sometimes look a..uh, bit…dilapidated, everyone seems very happy in them.
I love how much you love pink.
The monks here are also extremely kind. I ran into several while out and about today. I can tell that they are honored wherever they go. I think if I were in trouble, hungry, or homeless I would go to a temple and feel comfortable seeking help from the monks – even though I struggle sometimes asking for help.
After the market and some random exploring, I returned home to the hostel to take a nap. I woke up at midnight which is when I’m writing this post. I’m getting hungry! I’m going to go back to bed for a bit and get ready to take on another day. I’ll be having Durian today (on camera), along with some sushi. I can’t wait! Bangkok, I don’t know how to tell you this, but you smell of delicious food!
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