10.12.2010 - 12.12.2010
Well not really much to report about Bangkok, just another city really...SIKE!!
If I had to sum up my impression of BK in one word i'd use SEEDY! Its smelly, in a good way and a bad. You'll be smelling deliscious street cart food one second then the next a swift kick in the nose from the sewer. Its dirty and grimy and hot as hell. Also if your a westerner hold onto your wallet because everyone is trying to get your dollar! Ran into a couple of scams already mostly from the tuk tuk drivers and taxis. One popular scam is to give you a free ride or a very cheap 10Baht ride to all your desired destinations then all of a sudden when your ready to go home they start taking you to these tailor shops and jewelery shops hoping to get you to buy over priced goods. I obliged once since that man got a free petrol card out of it, then when he tried to take me to more I refused to get out of the tuk tuk until he took me home. No real harm done though, one of the more minor scams you see out here.
Anyway, my second night here I ran into this Brit named Angelo; really cool chap He calls me Fran because he was amazed that I lived close to San Francisco, and I call him Mank since he's from Manchester. We got to talking, he's out here on his own as well and seeing how it was my second night and his first night I was showing him the ropes (aka the one street I knew). We were less than impressed with the famous Khao San Rd to say the least. Khao San is basically the backpacker ghetto of BK. All the budget travellers, including me, head here for cheap accomodations but it is probably the least Thai place in the whole city. Similar to the Wharf I'd say. After one look, we decided to ditch KS and we ventured off. We stumbled upon some pretty dirty back streets with locals congregating under these little pop up tents. It seemed like they were local dive bars or just hangouts (can't really call it a bar if there's no building can you?). So we stopped in this one where they were singing kareoke songs in Thai. After the initial shock of our skin color, everyone welcomed us with open arms. After a few songs, a few rounds, and one trip to the disgusting thing they call a toilet (I have video that I will post later that might curl some of your toes), we were off and sure not to overstay our welcome.
Yesterday we went to the weekend market. Wow!! Sure put anything we have to shame. Just to give you a little background on how big this thing is, they have entire guide books on how to navigate this beast. Everything from squirrels and owls down to the kitchen sink are sold here! Yes thats right, I saw legit owls and squirrels in cages being sold. After a good look around we started to get the feeling that you've seen it once you've seen it all.
Today I'm going to venture into Chinatown, see if it rivals the one in SF. Then tonight Angelo and I will catch the night train to Chang Mai, Northern Thailand. A 15 hr train ride in a second class sleeper. I'm deviating from the route that I posted on my first blog, its nice to have that sort of freedom. So Chang Mai and surrounding areas are more like the hill and mountain regions of Thailand. We're planning on going trekking and rafting in hopes to encounter some local hill tribe villages. Bangkok hasn't given us the culture we're looking for; however, Chang Mai sounds more promising.
Bangkok is def a crazy city, you can find just about anything here, from live shows in their red light district (they call it "ping-pong show") to high end shopping in their massive shopping malls. I think the trick to BK is to go into it with no expectations, and you won't be taken aback by what it throws at you.
Look for pictures and video on subsequent posts.
PS. Please overlook the errors in my posts, with internet running 10Baht/10 mins I'm trying to be quick about it.