Bangkok was so hot that it took too much energy to reach into my pocket to grab my camera to take pictures.
Plus I wasn’t very inspired. (I swear I’m going to get some Bangkok pics, it has it’s interesting aspects, and I’ll be back there in a week or so)
Hottest I’ve been yet I think. Both days were about 100 degrees plus humidity so I think the heat index was 110. I started off on the wrong foot and paid a taxi driver way too much money to drive me 2 blocks. Lesson learned that was already learned 6 weeks ago!
I struggled to find anything appealing to do in Bangkok. My hotel was decent, centrally located, and pretty quiet. I had heard about Khao San Rd, which was one block from where I was staying, so I walked up and down that street. Wow! Talk about a disappointment. It’s kind of just a backpacker ghetto. Lots of shops selling t-shirts and trinkets. Nothing new really!
My second night there I met up with my friend Masa from http://masafumimatsumoto.com/
We took the subway to meet “a friend of a friend” of his to have dinner at an Italian place, Big Mamas.
When we got there, we were standing near the entrance looking for our contact. I noticed a table full of people looking at us, and laughing. There were two guys and two girls. We found Masa’s friend & got our seats but my curiosity was killing me, so I went back to that table and asked them what they were laughing about. What proceeded was an awkward conversation! So one of the guys starts laughing, and one of the girls goes “I was saying he should give his number to you…”
So the guy stood up and came over and shook my hand. I was kind of just frozen! I can’t say I’ve ever been hit on by a guy before. I was partly flattered and partly disappointed! I chit chatted with him a bit, and he asked me to dinner, and handed me a piece of paper with his number. I kind of felt bad for the guy so I just took it and walked away.
Anyway, the dinner was really good, and after we went to a wine bar with the group. The girl Masa knew is married to an American guy who’s lived there 3 years. She’s from there and we had a fun time talking about all the funny things about Thailand. They both seem ready to leave and head to the US somewhere soon. The weather, the taxi drivers, lazy people, sidewalks that look like something out of a war zone…all of it starts to get to you after a while. But, they apparently have a really nice condo close to everything and only pay $500/month!
The next day was kind of a waste. I booked a train leaving at 6pm to Chiang Mai. So, I had to figure out what to do with myself in Bangkok in 100 degree heat for a whole day. Walking was not appealing, neither was shopping. So I bounced from one airconditioned spot to another, and did a tiny bit of shopping, lunch, tea, buying snacks…before long it was 5pm and time to hit the train station.
I booked a 2nd class ticket with A/C to Chiang Mai. It’s supposed to be a 12 hour trip. I got the upper bed. I shared a section with an Australian family, a 20-something guy and his parents. I think I connected most with the mom, who was pretty jovial the whole trip.
Food was good. Temperature was too cold. I probably would have slept okay, but they left the lights on the whole night! I swear I’m like the only person I know who actually wants it to be dark and quiet when I sleep. Nobody else seems to care! And the lights are those bright florescent ones, kinda tough to block out. I have these weak blinders that helped a bit.
So, it seemed that about half the train was awake and talking by about 5:30 am. It wasn’t a party train, but people just get up early and make lots of noise.
So the train was not horrible, but not an amazing experience either.
We got in nearly 3 hours late. Apparently, this is normal for Thai trains.
I’m in Chiang Mai (northern mountain region) now and it’s incredibly nice compared to Bangkok. Tomorrow, I’m heading on a 2-day trekking/elephant riding/white water rafting trip, where I’ll have some pictures for sure!
Last night I had a room in a 4-start hotel for $23. Thank you, agoda.com! Site is awesome. I needed the luxury room to get the wifi in room with privacy so I could skype. Plus I loved paying that amount and getting the royal treatment- they basically have a welcoming committee, and EVERYONE in the hotel greets you with a smile and a bow and a “sawasdeekop!” (hello in Thai), it was a real pleasure!
Tonight I’m staying at a couch surfer’s place. Her name is Mah, and she has a 4BR place in town that’s also a guest house. But, couch surfers get to stay free the first night! After that it’s only 12 bucks. Pretty ideal!
Great quote from Erwan Le Corre of movnat.com:
“I refuse to live in a world where people won’t be able to move anymore, because movement is the most natural and primary form of freedom. Show me how you move, and I’ll tell you how free you are.”
Update: Video added for “Kuta!” http://www.freedomlovin.com/2012/04/02/kuta/