Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Saturday in Bangkok

Wednesday and Thursday: Days one and two – a blur of jetlag, air conditioned high rises, indecipherable UN jargon, taxi cabs, and room service.

Friday: Day three –I finally shook off the jet lag funk and decided to explore and have a thrilling adventure! I took a water taxi home with two Finnish ladies from my office who showed me the way – we paid 8 baht (the euro is currently at 1 = 41 baht so approximately 20 euro cents or a quarter in the US) and rode a speedy motorized canal boat under bridges and through the canals that hide inside Bangkok. I got off a short walk from my hotel, headed into a seven-eleven, bought some milk, beer and snacks and tried to see what was going on around me. I went into the mall across the street which was chock-a-block crowded with trendy little dress and t-shirt shops with names like Gin/Tonic, Vodka, and Buttermilk. Everything looked doll-sized. I felt like a tall Irish milkmaid awash on the shores of a manga cartoon.

On the Saturday morning, I got up, organized my crazed hotel room (big suitcases everywhere that spewed my belongings form where I had rifled through them trying to find things to wear in this tropical environment). After a dip in the pool, I headed to the sky train. There is a very efficient (although not very big) metro system here in Bangkok. The Sky train is an elevated train system that is incredibly easy to use – it cost about 20 baht to move from one part of town to the other. The stops are clearly marked in English and Thai and its air-conditioned and quick. I headed towards a part of town called Sukhamvit between the Nana and Asok stops to look at the neighborhoods in anticipation of moving to the area. It’s a very expat friendly area but also quite business-y. There were Au Bon Pains, Dunkin’ Donuts, McDonalds, and shopping malls everywhere but also street vendors selling squid on a stick, noodle soups, and sweets. It’s also the home of the infamous Soi Cowboy – a Vietnam war left-over strip of go-go bars, sleazy drinking establishments and yes – even a Dutch bar that sells bitterballen and Frikandel. I can’t get away from that food!

I went to get a massage at a lovely spa called Divana – a small garden house at the end of one of a soi (Soi means alley or lane). It was so luxurious – I chose which massage oil I wanted to have and the ladies lead me to the room where I was asked to change into mandatory provided disposable underwear (size XL for the large American posterior, of course). After 70 minutes of being climbed on, prodded, kneaded, and tugged – the knots and tension from the moving process dissolved. I felt completely zoned out. That blissful feeling was quickly undone by my next stop – the Consumerist paradise known as the Siam Paragon mall (Siam Paragon Food Hall.) It was overwhelming!

I had so much to choose from that I had to be really strict with myself and force myself to choose the first thing I saw that I wanted. Otherwise, I would have been crippled with indecision! So I had Hainanese Chicken and Rice (which I discovered in Singapore) which was delicious. Its so simple but so good that I learned how to make it at home just so I could have it again! I washed it down with some Thai Iced Tea (so sweet it made my teeth hurt) and to counter balance the sweetness of the Thai Iced Tea, for dessert I decided to have Green Papaya Salad which they prepared right in front of me.

After I fed the beast within, I wandered through the food court looking at everything for offer just for future reference. Next time - I can choose between the Pad Thai stand, the noodle soup stand, the curry stand, the sushi bar, the satay bar or if I want to wander away from Thai food, I can have noodles from Vietnam, Japan, China, Singapore, or even Italy! And for the more discerning palate, there is McDonalds, Burger King, and Dunkin Donuts!

I love food and I love choices in food and I love trying things that I have never had before. This is the sad thing about traveling alone.

I had big intentions of going to a movie that night. Since Thailand has a thriving bootleg DVD business, I had read that all the big movies air here at the same time as Hollywood releases them so as to cut down on having them bootlegged. The Fighter, an Oscar nominated film, was playing at the posh theatre but the air conditioning ws so cold that I didn’t think I could hack 2 hours sitting in a sundress. Just like Holland, I’m going to have to learn to carry a sweater with me everywhere I go! So I skipped the movie and headed home to the hotel to watch a mawkish Richard Gere and his dog movie while chatting with friends in the US over the internet. The good thing about this move is that it has made it easier to communicate with my friends from the US but now I’m 6 hours ahead of Europe and can’t seem to get in sync with anyone there. Hello- friends from Europe! Email me when you are up so I can call you!

Next up – a Sunday at the weekend market….

1 comment:

  1. Hey Sarah,
    you've been in Bangkok for nearly a month. Are you close to settling in? Do you miss Amsterdam or at least your friends in A'dam? We miss you...