Posted by: Richard | November 11, 2009

Hot and Sweaty in Bangkok

Well, I’ve seen hot and I’ve seen hot, but it is really too hot here in BKK.  To quote a Good Morning Vietnam line “it’s hot and wet.  that’s nice if you’re with a lady, ain’t no good if you’re in the jungle”…..

Bangkok is a giant city, with lovely palaces, vibrant streets and great food.  It also has to have the highest numbers of dirty old men I’ve yet seen.  Our first night here, near Jim Thompson’s silk factory, we stopped for a beer on a patio and watched the parade of old white (nay, pink) men waddling down the street.  The fanny pack (hip pack to UK guests) was prominent, as was a giant gut on most of these tourists. 

Onto more pressing matters…the food is incredible.  Although right now at breakfast, lynn is making bad faces at the hotel pad thai she is pushing to the edge of her plate.  We’ve found an old popular vegetarian restaurant (Mai Kaydee’s) off Khao San road.  Oh boy oh boy oh boy.  It is good.  No A/C, so we pay for the palate pleasing pleasure we are perusing through sweat.  We went for lunch yesterday and then in a unanimous vote, we decided to return for dinner.  My favorite was the Tom Yom soup (so spicy) though the curry and pad thai were also good.  Just thinking of the food right now makes me hungry. Not really, as we just had an enormous breakfast.  I get plain noodles and add crushed peanuts, a ton of greenery (herbs and onions etc), an assortment of sauces and some sliced chili’s.  Good stuff.

Back to Khao San road.  It is a very cool area (much cooler than where we are staying – more on that later).  In the daytime, full of thai people it looks very cool.  In the evening, it is 90% foreigner….No, not the band, the people (though I did hear a cover version of hot blooded).  It is fun and vibrant but a bit like West Edmonton Mall’s bourbon street.  Not entirely real, but not necessarily bad (though truth be told, I don’t remember West Ed to be that good).

Onto our hotel, we booked a very nice hotel on tripadvisor.  Why? I don’t know.  It’s easy might be the only reason.  It is rated high and is very nice.  The problem, it is in the business district and there is nothing nearby to do.   This means travel. We have been advised that the best way to travel is via the skytrain as it is cheap and quick.  For two days, I believed this, but last night I gave up, and we took a taxi.  As reference, the skytrain/boat combo cost $3.20 and took 75 minutes. The taxi cost $2.25 and took 15 minutes.  I need to stop listening to people about this.  While the hotel is poorly located, after a day of walking in 35 degree heat, the huge outdoor pool is heavenly…, now that we know about taxis maybe the location isn’t that bad.

Highlights so far:

  • Seeing a giant rat walking down an outdoor market
  • The strange sensation of being served by a ladyboy (truth be told, more man than either lady or boy)
  • All the glorious outdoor markets, which are almost completely full of brand new crap that do not interest either lynn nor myself
  • Swimming in the cold pool
  • Eating at Mai Kaydee’s
  • Taking the water taxi along the river (we were sitting right beside the driver and got the full experience)
  • 60 minute thai massage with yellow herbs in the famous massage school in Wat Po (note that although Lynn’s massage was the best of her life, my massage was rather bland)
  • People constantly trying to swindle us
  • Watching a fellow (a loaded aussie actually) eat a scorpion from the man with the beetle cart.

Tomorrow we leave for Luang Prabang in Laos.  I’m very excited to get out of the city and LP looks very nice.  We want to be pretend Mahout’s (elephant trainers) for a day or two and soak up the atmosphere.  From LP, we make our trip down towards the capital of Ventiane and then to Angkor Wat (where we have been instructed by cheezer and Shauna Mac that we must, Must, MUST go here).  So, being compliant and agreeable people, we are going there.

Finally, still loving the netbook, but my fingers are getting bigger or the keys smaller as typing is tougher….

PS – Lynn thinks that we should change a previous title in Hong Kong to “Sweet and Sour in Hong Kong”

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