The first time I visited Bangkok was about 12 years ago. We spent 4 days there, traipsing around the enormous city checking out Wats, markets and other sites. I didn’t really care for Bangkok then – it was hot, dirty, busy and overwhelming. I couldn’t wait to leave. This time around, we spent about 4 days here checking out various sites and what-not. The town was hot, dirty, busy and overwhelming. I loved it. I’m not too sure what the difference was – maybe I knew what I was getting into? Maybe it was the location – we were near, but far enough away, from the famed Khaosan Road? Maybe we didn’t try to see too much, just more or less hung out? Or maybe it I knew we were in for a special time when our cab driver, Mr. Pin, honked at a legless guy in a wheelchair to get out of the way. (Note – always get the cab drivers in Bangkok to use the meter or they will try to rip you off at every chance – only took us three rides to figure this out)
Much of the pleasure derived from this visit was to be had pulling up a chair on Khoasan Road, sipping a cold, cheap Singha beer and watching the weird parade of humanity saunter past. Such a diverse crowd; miserable-looking dead-eyed hippies, frat boys with their stupid backwards baseball caps and over-sized tank tops where the arm-droop goes all the way down to their waist making it look as if they were wearing a large, upside-down diaper (I just wanted to tell them that it looked like they were wearing garbage. Stop wearing garbage, frat-boys!), folks who came to Bangkok and never left and were now old and grizzled (been here forever was our codeword – BHF – I imagine they all had a story to tell), Australians wearing those baggy Thai pants with elephants on them and a conical hat slug over their shoulders who may who ate mushrooms for the first time the previous night, sad old fat guys looking for something best not mentioned or thought of, self-important dudes with man-buns (man bun alert or MBA was our code-word) – some tried to spruce them up a bit by shoving a chopstick through it, folks selling all manner of things from trinkets to fried scorpions on a stick, families exposing their kids to all of this diversity and so much more. Bangkok is great. We hardly even scratched the surface and we hope to return to do some more scratching. One can get almost anything you can think of here. It seems that trouble, good and bad, is just around every corner.
We did actually make it out to see some sights. Wat Pho and the Grand Palace were pretty cool. Even it was about 35 degrees out. Gross.
Oh and did I mention the food? Well, as you can imagine it is amazing. So many delicious things passed through my mouth, down my esophagus, into my stomach..well you get the picture. Great curries, pad thai, tasty meats on sticks from street vendors, fried noodles, sweet little taco like things filled with cocount, spring rolls, and so much more I can’t even remember…