Archive for June 3rd, 2008

One Night in Bangkok

It was a long flight from Tokyo, and I arrived tired and late at night. So instead of going into the heart of town after midnight to look for a place to stay (none of the flea pit places I tried would let me reserve since I was coming in so late). So I took a recommendation from some fellow travelers and stayed at a place by the airport. When I woke up I was surprised to find this out my window: 


Not exactly teh non-descript airport location I was expecting. Ok, I am definitely not in Kansas anymore – not even Japan for that matter. Instead of the efficient politeness I came to expect in Japan, now I had to fight the sweltering heat (even at midnight) and the many taxi drivers hounding me allong with plain old scam artists.

So I am still suffering a little culture shock. On the other hand things are cheap! As soon as I got settled into my new (and cheaper) digs in what I call the backpacker’s ghetto, I went out on the street and got me some Pad Thai from this lady.


So for 25 bhat (85 cents) I had lunch. Of course I could have tried the octopus.


But I didn’t.

This place is big – some 6 million fry here – and even if I stayed a full week, I would only be scratching the surface. So suffice it to say, what you see here is nothing. This was a slow day for me, an adjust to a new culture and a new city. Now I must be on my guard. People are out for my money in a big way. In Japan, they didn’t care, they already had plenty of money. But in a place like this, my money is big money to them.

The first place to start is the Grand Palace and Wat Po, not too far a walk from where I am staying.


These are Buddhist temples of distinctly Thai design. Things always seem weird on the other side of the planet.


And if you think the Brits take their royalty seriously, you should see this place. The king and queen are everywhere.


And of course so are street vendors. And speaking of streets, where the Japanese would not cross a street even if there wasn’t a car for miles without a green light, here you just walk into traffic and pray to Buddha!


And what better way to end the night than with an anti-government protest Thai style. We should have more of these in the US!


And for those of you who were hoping I could get a glimpse of mount Fuji in Japan, this is the best I could do in the few seconds the mountain was visible through the clouds.


That was two days ago – it seems like last year. And it’s only been one night in Bangkok.