back in Bangkok

Posted from Bangkok, Bangkok, Thailand.

It took three hours in Bangkok for a bird to poop on me. People say it’s a good sign, but I think the people who say this saw Under the Tuscan Sun and have never been shit on by a pigeon. I tried to brush it off, literally, with a tissue, but later found myself soaking my white shirt in the sink at my friends’ Asoke apartment: somehow it got me on both shoulders.

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My journey from Stockholm on Norwegian Air took 11-hours and felt like a lifetime. I opted not to pay for seat selection, so I got a middle seat in the middle row. This meant constant adjustments, spinal twisting, near-miss nod-offs and having to annoy the guy next to me every time I had to pee. The Dreamliner was a nice plane, though. My only issue with Norwegian is every thing has a cost; they don’t even offer water. Zip. No peanuts. Nothing. I had a bottle of water, but I killed it before the end of the flight. My feet swelled up despite my compression socks, and by the time I got to Bangkok I was dying of dehydration. Honestly. At least offer people some water for free. (Bottled water was $4 for 500mL.)

The flight landed 20mins late, which from what I’ve heard is exceptional for Norwegian. I got through immigration easily as I had opted to get a two-month visa from the Royal Thai Embassy in Stockholm before I left. I really didn’t want the hassle of having to exit Thailand after 30 days to obtain another visitor visa. Then I picked up a 30-day sim card for 850baht (about $28.)

I took the Airport Link during morning rush-hour to Makkasan station and walked about 1km with my luggage to my friend’s apartment. It’s nice to have friends all over the world. My phone said it felt like 38℃. The city was ripe. The kids were on their way to school, and I was back in the throes of scooters, taxis, horn-honking and the general hectic poetry that is Bangkok’s city streets.

I really do love Bangkok. I know many travellers balk at big cities saying they maintain none of the charm of the rustic, back-country small villages that provide more cultural experiences, but I have to disagree. I think it provides a different cultural experience – one you have to look for.

I did all this last time, though. (See these posts.)

The inside of MBK is a labyrinth of escalators, stalls and aisles. But the deals are awesome.

The inside of MBK is a labyrinth of escalators, stalls and aisles. But the deals are awesome.

My stay in Bangkok this time is short-lived, but I am also wiser this go-around. I came armed with some spending money to get myself the things I could not afford last time (as I had no idea how long I would be traveling.) But I’m still pacing myself as I just got here and I don’t leave to New Zealand for another 45 days. So, I thought of the essentials. I went looking for shorts at MBK, a large indoor and air-conditioned market near National Stadium BTS, and wound up buying myself some new Replay Jeans, which I’m sure are knock-offs. But damn do they look good for $25. I plan on buying some more new clothes for myself before I leave, it’s just tricky finding sizes that aren’t for miniature people.

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The hunt for a beautiful silk scarf for my mother is a bit more tricky. There are plenty of stalls at MBK that claim their scarves are Thai silk, and they probably are, but it’s difficult to choose what quality of neck-warmer would best suit the woman who gave birth to me. The one’s at Jim Thompson’s House, at least the ones I looked at, ranged from $50 to $250. The ones at MBK were $10 to $15. What does one do? Spring for a brand name or get more for your buck? A little help here, mom.

MBK is wonderful though. You can get anything you desire there. It’s a lot like Chatuchak Market  only not outside. Think of it like a Thai Walmart, only way cheaper, more diverse and a lot more fun. Plus there’s a cinema and a food court. We had Vietnamese for lunch.

Police cleared the streets so the princess, as my friend assumed, could drive by unhindered.

Police cleared the streets so the princess, as my friend assumed, could drive by unhindered.

On our way to MBK we witnessed a member of the royal family driving by. Police officers blocked off the overhead walkways and cleared the streets. I would’ve taken pictures, but the young man with the gun told me I wasn’t allowed. Pity.

On our way home we opted to take the khlong boat along the Saen Saep Canal. It costed 18Baht to get to Asok when the BTS costed 31 Baht. That’s a difference of nearly $0.50. The only downside of taking canal boats is sometimes there’s a bit of backsplash from passing boats, which would be fine if the water wasn’t black, nasty and atrociously polluted. The very feeling of a drop can make one cringe with despair. When it started to rain many passengers were visibly freaked – thinking they had just been sprayed with the disgusting river water.

A boatman collects fares for the journey.

A boatman collects fares for the journey.

Yes. It rains in Thailand.

My mission tomorrow is to make my way to the train station in the morning to try and get a second-class sleeper car to Chumphon on the #85 night train. The train arrives after 4:20 a.m. (probably later, as nothing is ever on time) and from there I can hopefully buy a ticket and get a free transfer to the pier to get to Koh Tao. It’s time to get back underwater!

 

One Response to back in Bangkok

  1. Have a blast – always love following you around the world 🙂

    Kolla October 5, 2014 at 4:37 pm Reply

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