Monday, April 14, 2008

Thailand day 5- Chaing Mai to Bangkok

March 27
Early flight to Bangkok. Arrived late morning at the Convention Hotel a half hour taxi ride from the center of Bangkok. This hotel was really big, stately, mainly catering to business people. Not chick or gemütlich or as friendly as our last hotel but the breakfast was good. We stayed here because this is where the wedding took place and we didn't feel like schlepping from hotel to hotel for the 4 days we were in Bangkok.

Our hotel room was number 1116. I think this must have been a sign because our last hotel room was number 911. If you turn 1116 upside down, what do you get? That's right 9111. Its a sign. I don't know what kind of sign or if it has any lasting significance but its a sign!

After sleeping all afternoon (Jurij was still a little sick and my nose was now running!) we took a taxi- which here in Thailand are Toyota Corollas! Yes they know a good car, just like my ol TC back home except with a steering wheel on the opposite side- to the Sky Train (sounds really exciting and the guide books say not to miss a ride on one but its just the elevated part of the subway system. Not that it would make any sense given the large population in Bangkok but I imagined some sort of gondola ride above the city like at some zoos or amusement parks. I was a little disappointed....but then amazed that the subway/sky train was so clean and air conditioned. There were flat screened tvs showing advertisements in the train and a soothing automated voice in Thai and in English announcing each station. It was 100 degrees outside we were smooshed together like a bowl of Thai noodles and yet no one smelled and all were quiet.

I am constantly amazed how every other city in the world has a more modern and clean subway system that in NYC. Why is that? Thailand is a 3rd world country for god's sakes!

We walked around Siam square, a shoppers paradise, our nightmare. Basically in Siam square you are either walking around a large block of shopping mall that connects to another large shopping mall block via a skinny enclosed walkway and you cant find your way out or you have found your way out and are now standing in the middle of a hot smoky congested highway wanting to get back in.

Amazingly we found our way to the neighborhood of Bangalapoo. You could say that its an artsy hip neighborhood or you could say its a place were burned out western hippies congregate and old white men walk hand in hand with very young Thai girls. They did have a cool market but Jurij wasn't about to be dragged around shopping for very long on an empty stomach.

We had dinner in a hole in the wall family run restaurant. The kitchen was outside the restaurant on a wagon! But we ate very well for very cheap. In Thailand the more expensive your food is and the nicer the restaurant, the lower in quality your food will be. There is no gormet food here. What the common person eats is what the king eats. If your food is expensive you're only being ripped off.

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