July 27th, 2006

Bangkok Day 2

Day two in Bangkok was good, but uneventful. We started the day with business. I had to send some documents to the US and Mateo had to apply for a foreign visa, so we went about town doing that most of the morning. In Japan I can use my Japanese to communicate with others in at least a rudimentary way, but here in Thailand I do not have that ability. This morning when I was sending my documents to the US I had to communicate without using language since, although there are many Thais that can speak English, many cannot speak well. It was a very new experience to me and made me really feel like a tourist. I don't know if I like feeling like a tourist, but there it is, nonetheless.

Around evening time we decided to start planning a little bit of our trip. You see, we hadn't planned anything at all, really. We didn't even have any maps or guides. So we bought a few maps and a small guide to neighboring Cambodia and started to plan the next week. The day after tomorrow we will be traveling to Cambodia to visit Angor Wat, a very large and famous Buddhist temple for 3 or 4 days. Then we will be going to the capital for a couple nights and deciding what to do from there.

The best part of my day was this evening. While in search of a movie theater we didn't find, we ran across the parts of Bangkok that the tourists don't travel to. There was a large supermarket that looked a lot like a K-mart, and another store that seemed to be the Thai equivalent of Ikea. It was really nice to see a Thailand that is not kowtowing to the tourism bug, and so close to the very tourist areas. We saw no foreigners at all in those areas.

In contract, the tourist areas are very weird. The taxi and tuk tuk (3-wheeled open-air taxi) drivers constantly beg for you to ride with them and old men walk up to you with postcards of nude women begoning you to have a massage (with release) or two. We went down one street in particular that was insane, with place names like "Supergirls," "Beaver," and "Super Pussy." That is not to mention the onslaught of cheap trinkets available on the street. The sensory overlaod has made me really good at ignoring others, not a skill I should be priding myself on.

The food is great, though. I have to say, the best (and least expensive) we have had are from street vendors. We got a nice filling meal on the street for about 40 baht (around $1.20). Although it is easy to spend more. With this concern in mind, starting tomorrow we are planning to record each purchase we make to detect patterns and improve on our spending habits. Wish us luck!

  • Current Mood