Tuesday, November 9, 2010

One night in Bangkok

I seem to have transitioned well. I woke up at 8am this morning feeling pretty good. It's just after 8pm an I'm just now getting sleepy.
Today was a logistics day. My pan was to head toward Laos, if possible. let's just say I'm slightly closer to Laos but may change plans. My western thinking was that train is faster than but ans that i could either get a sleeper car if necessary or just tough it out if necessary. Besides, I don't have a shoulder to sleep on if I take the bus. Let's just make this simple. Train is not faster than a bus. However, the buses are notorious for adding imagined fees at critical points during your trip, or so I hear.

I met a 23 year old guy, Tim, from Germany who speaks English with a slight British accent. He's been traveling S.E.A. for "5 month" now and flies home or somewhere tomorrow (or so he says. Don't you love how trusting I am?) Anyway, he did have some good tips and as neither the train nor the bus I wanted-all the way to Laos-was leaving anytime soon, I hoped a train at least getting me out of Bangkok. Note to anyone traveling this way: Get out of Bangkok as soon as possible! That place is a mess in every way imaginable.

Tim got on the train as well. Most guest houses (something akin to a hostel but usually you have your own room, and unless you got 4-5 star full blown hotel, it's what you'll find here) "cheap rooms" were full except the one Tim had rated as a "5 cockroach" hotels opposed to the 2 cockroach guest house I'd asked him to show me too. It's nice enough, but after taking the train for 3.5 hours (supposed to be 1.5 hrs, and it left 1.5 hours late) and seeing how many of the Thai people live, I feel pretty good about it. Hmmm...perspective. Funny how it changes.

The train ride here was actually quite pleasant due to the 2 wonderful women and a 12 year girl (one of the women's daughter), who immediately skootched over and invited me to sit with them, despite all my cumbersome luggage. As I've run into at nearly every turn, Thailand deserves it's time of "Land of a Thousand Smiles". I've been here less than 24 hours and I've already seen at least that many.

The beautiful 12 year old girl starting sharing the love with this:

Yep, seaweed-flavored pringles.

Now most of you know, I don't do seafood, or seaweed, of ANY kind. The smell alone gets to me in a big way. I simply don't do edible sea anything (no, not even fresh water fish...no fishy fishy.) But...when in Rome...or in this case, when a 12 year old Thai girl offers you a chance to try something new and make a new friend, suck it up and accept the adventure. I smiled through choking it down as they continued to help me learn my numbers in Thai. (Tim started this, they, and several others around us joined it :).) The next opportunity for "adventure" reared it's ugly head when the woman next to me offered me some of her chicken. Or was it fish? We couldn't seem to get the translation quite right. I thought I did o.k. smiling through this one too, but apparently not evidenced both by Tim (who also doesn't do seafood) mercifully eating the other have of my bite and secondly by the sweet smile of the fish-offering woman handing some Dentyne.

I'm glad she did. I shared this with Tim as well. I'm such a giver ;). Guess my face still is pretty telling. Oh well, we all had a warm-hearted laugh at my expense. I, in turn, shared the love with my honey graham gold fish.
Off the train tot he aforementioned, "cheap room" guesthouse. Part of me is glad to know of such heap rooms, 150 baht (about $4.50), instead of the $10-20 ones I had mostly heard of and intended on staying at but the snob in me thinks I'll splurge sometimes for ease (you gotta know where these places are already, methinks), safety and amenities. Amenities such as my own bathroom to shower and do laundry in as well as a little bit more privacy and of course a western-style toilet.

You guessed it. Tonight I ran into my first one of these:

Growing up a girl in the sticks and camping, I've got the squatting posture down pretty good as far how to keep it clean goes. That doesn't mean it's what I would choose. And fortunately, I knew to bring my own toilet paper. It wasn't too bad but I still prefer the sit down option.

Good night for now.. I really hope the bed bugs don't bite. Cause it's a huge possibility.

Oh quick pic of my first meal in Thailand.

It's Yum Tom (aka "spicy soup", although I found it quite tasty, it wasn't very spicy). Full of delicious fresh basil and other Thai spice magic. I wasn't quite ready to try the street hawker stuff despite my fortuitous, generally cast iron stomach.

For dinner I did have pad Thai (a noodle dish) from a street hawker in Ayuthaya (the city I fled from Bangkok to by train) and it was quite tasty as well. Yum yum yum.

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