Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Insane market in Bankok's Chinatown

When you arrive in a new place at such an early time in the a.m., your dreams tend to be inundated with questions of the unknown. What's this place like? Will I get sick? Will I get wicked lost? As a typically ill-informed American tourist (shocking right?) The facts I had were few. Bankok is densely populated. Stuff is wicked cheap. Thai food is dynamite. It only took a short few hours to confirm the aforementioned.

Bankok, a city of 8 million people, sits not far from the equator. As such, the climate can be most easily compared to somewhere between the heat of a hot muffler and your balls after basketball practice. Seriously, it's hot here. The night might get down to 75; the days anywhere between 88 and 94. We're in the winter here folks. I can't imagine what the summer would feel like.

The "tuk-tuk" - the even more affordable taxi alternative

The air thick from dense humidity and the harsh pollutants of buzzing two-stroke engines, we weave our way through the streets. Used to the picturesque characters of both the Korean and Japanese languages, Thai looks more Arabic then anything else. Though this matters not because I'm illiterate in all three. First task of the day; food. Not one to linger in terms of cultural immersion, I jump right in.

Breakfast - red curry, shrimp and coconut milk over jasmine rice

After breakfast, we make our way down to Chinatown area for some sightseeing and shopping. The temples are spectacular so much so that all one can think about is the countless number of people that have tithed in order to erect them. The shopping you ask, well now I know where Walmart Inc. does their wholesaling at. There is everything a guy or gal could want down here. Since we were wearing shorts because it was 90 some degrees we had to purchase pants to enter the temple. 2.75 cents later we were in the temple. Light airy shirts to combat the stifling heat; 3 USD. It's all here and available for a price, actually it's available for a mutually agreed price that you and the person in which you are bartering/charading to agree on. As far as food goes, we dined on a fantastic little concoction called "noodle soup" to the tune of 22 baht, or 66 cents.

Noodle soup - The poorman's Japanese tongkatsu ramien

This cat dined along side of us

After we were shopped out and saw the sights in which we need to see, we headed back to base camp in East Bankok. East Bankok provides no glitz and glamor of the down town district. Besides Sputnick at my side, we saw one other tourist. It's dirty, it's gritty, it's fucking real. I've been to several Asian cities with over 4 million people and, well, Bankok definitely has some personality. Seoul wants to be Tokyo, Tokyo wants to be the moon, but Bankok doesn't care. Bankok is Bankok . Scooters sift their way through traffic at stop lights and cabbies drive with surgeon-esque precision amd a monk-like zen to get you to your destination at a price about 4 dollars per half hour. Business suits? Well I have yet to see any and that's just fine with me. There isn't any pushing and there isn't any shoving. Today at the insanely busy Chinatown district we likely encountered 20,000 people within a three feet distance. I was bumped into or shoved exactly zero times. Had I been in the same situation in Korea, I'd have to ice my bruised shoulders. It's a delicate symphony of harmonious anarchy and I'm enjoying every note of it.


Phil W. said...

Nice work, homies. Enjoy Bankok, those ping-pong "matches" are supposed to equal the Beijing Summer Olympics opening ceremony in wow-factor. Also, watch out for David Carradine's alleged killer ninjas. Real dangerous. Especially when it comes to suffocation.

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