Bangkok River Cruise

csc_0155

dsc_0128

After exploring the enormous and contemplative temple of the 43m Reclining Buddha at Wat Pho:

dsc_0174

dsc_0163

dsc_0160

 

An old man asked us if we wanted to take a river cruise. I had done some research on them, and most visited the floating markets and old houses of the “Venice of the East.” It wasn’t a top priority, but sounded fun, and had a reasonable price of 1,000 baht (30US$) for an hour tour. We had an entire longtail boat all to ourselves. First, we passed the famous temple of Wat Arun:

Image

dsc_0211

Then, we moved into the mysterious flooded alleys in the heart of the city.

Image

dsc_0181

All the houses were built on these seemingly shoddy stilts. Laundry is usually visible outside the clapboard walls.

Image

dsc_0202

dsc_0186

dsc_0191

Image

This was a huge surprise. Water monitors, an aquatic scavenger, have taken up residence in the populated waterways. There have been reports of them walking into residents’ houses.

dsc_0207

 

Locals on the dock, partying, was a common sight during the trip.

Image

Time for the daily hookah.

dsc_0218

We were far too late in the day for the floating markets, so this is as close as I got. A lady in a boat selling grilled chicken. Overall, it was a pleasant diversion from the penetrating heat of the sidewalks. And more overall, I wasn’t a big fan of Bangkok. The public transit (ie: subway/elevated train) drastically underserves the city. Khao San Rd. was more pleasant than I thought, but it was just a place to get a crappy kebab, cold beer and shop while being hassled by everyone to buy their stuff. The tuktuks are a constant rip-off and taxis that don’t use meters rarely know where you want to go. Even trying to go to one of the famous Ping Pong shows becomes an issue if you are concerned with prix fixe quotes before entering (1000 baht per person?). The combined price of the famous Emerald Buddha and National Palace cost 500 baht (15US$) to enter. I might pay that kind of price to see a museum with something to learn or admire, but 15 dollars to see another Buddha and gawk at the pictures of the beloved King’s dogs. No thanks. Then, when I remarked to the guard that it was expensive, he told me, “We can charge 1,000 baht and people still come. It not expensive, good price.” That rubbed me the wrong way, and I was finished with Bangkok temples. Chinatown seemed cool at night, with cooked ducks and cheap gold for sale while strange faces peek out from among the windows and doors. It was a big city with too much personality for a week. It’s actually the kind of place where it’s NOT nice to visit, but living there would probably be easier as you learned the rules and became accustomed to the insanity. The day we left, one of the many military coups of the past half century was occurring. Curfew, albeit lax, came into effect. Armed men seemed to be on every corner. The TV’s stopped showing programming on most channels and were replaced by a blue screen of military insignia’s. I’ve been to big cities that treated me better, so I feel like Bangkok is summed up by the classic, trite line of: “I’ve had better.”

Clean Street Food in Bangkok

It was a small silver food cart, cooking for about twenty tables down a narrow alley off Silom St. Their operation was spotless, and people hunched over their food protectively.

Image

Papaya Salad–Spicy and crunchy, probably healthy until all the sauce gets involved.

Image

Tom Yum Soup– It’s spicy as hell, rice is necessary, a few tasty prawns and a lot of lemongrass.

2aa2ecb5-49f4-4148-bcf5-5671b7e2bc18

We hit up our daily hookah afterwards.

Image

Fried Chicken in Bangkok

Fried Chicken in Bangkok

It’s a frequent sight along the streets crowded with roaches and masquerading men. Crispy fried chicken and a greasy work station. I must have eaten about ten chicken legs and a few more chicken wings in my week in Thailand’s capital. They are cheap and smell great. The skin is so crispy, and doesn’t fall off in one piece like KFC or any of the other fast food joints that specialize in processed yardbird.

Bangkok ~ Taling Pling

It was recommended by TripAdvisor and Lonely Planet. It turned out to be a Thai fusion place that was disappointing. At least the crab was real. The food was good, but nothing special. Salt or MSG was the main ingredient.

Image

Crab Curry–decent.

Image

Fried fish and sweet onions with lemongrass–good, but overwhelming with the lemongrass after a few bites.

Image

Pad Thai with Crab–a staple, and more pleasing to the eye than mouth.

dsc_0097

dsc_0098

Jordyn was feeling like a mimic parrot.

Walkabout in Bangkok

The city is big. I wasn’t sure how far I’d get, but starting from my hostel near Sukhumvit, heading slightly aimlessly south and west. It was around noon on a Friday. People were out and about, cars paced the streets, dogs and cats patrolled their corners, cockroaches hid in the shadows awaiting their time to shine–nighttime. Stuck on a main thoroughfare with poisonous traffic fumes all around, I made my way into the alleys.

Image

I found some friendly uniformed men who wanted to talk to me despite their lack of English.

Image

Sorry, it’s the wrong side of the road. Nobody wants to shift gears with their left hand. There’s a reason we drive on the “right” side.

Image

Classic!

Image

He wanted to talk, but moved away when I went to pet him. Cute.

dsc_0028

dsc_0035

Image

These guys were drinking whiskey. I opted for soda water and greatly disappointed them. But they had fun posing.

Image

She was so scared and happy to see me. She wavered between this face and a heartwarming smile.

Image

They were waiting for something or someone, and the old man laughed heartily when he saw his picture.

Image

Strawberries on clothes? Only when you’re little and cute.

Image

This was some terrible Thai drama being filmed. The boy and girl saw me and smirked. The director (multi-colored hat) called some phrases, then the Thai word for “ACTION” and the camera rolled down the track. There were no words spoken. The girl just looked deeply into the boy’s eyes and then ran away with arms flailing and feigned tears. They broke set and the actors walked away without a word to each other.

Image

Trash encroaching upon the reflection.

dsc_0077

dsc_0094

Image

The day ended with me being accosted by ladyboys on Sukhumvit soi 4–a notorious spot for hawking flesh. Bangkok.