Bangkok

Bangkok Travel Blog

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Spring 2006

I arrived in Don Muang airport (the old one) Bangkok. The first thing to do was get some change. I called the cell number of Kristy, a woman working at the center I was going to work for. She said her husband was waiting for me in the lobby of the Amari hotel, “He’s a tall large Swede with a beard”, she said. By the time I crossed the overpass to the hotel I was dripping in sweat, that’s Bangkok humidity for you.

I scanned the people in the lobby trying to guess which one was Peter. I finally found him and followed him to the parking lot. There was a van parked horizontally across the other cars so before we could get to his car we had to push it out of way.

It was not a problem as the van was in neutral this must be the Thai way of parking, as I’ve never seen it done before. We got in and headed out to Minburi a northeast suburb of Bangkok where their center is.

 On the way I asked questions about Thailand. Peter had been in Thailand for over a decade and was fluent in Thai he was a wealth of knowledge about the culture and people. I had gotten in touch with the Central Thailand Mission that he and his wife ran when I was applying for a post. The center I was to live and work in is a branch of an international NGO run by full-time volunteers. As a member of this organization I had access to the network and easily found this staff position.

The streets were crowded with pickups converted to minibuses (song-teow), buses, vans, and Japanese utility vehicles, motor scooters whizzed by the drivers looked like a football practice team with their bright coloured numbered vests. The sidewalks were full of school children in khaki shorts and white shirts, university students in tight black mini-skirts, civil servants in bright yellow polo shirts (king shirts), the people have dark features and chocolate colour skin. Thailand didn’t seem foreign to me at all in fact it was all rather nostalgic. It seemed so much like the south of Taiwan (Kaoshiung) were I spent my childhood days. The steamy swamps, the thick jungles of vines and elephant grass, the spiders and snakes, the monks and stray dogs, the shrines and smoking incense it all seemed so familiar to me. As we passed barefoot children in the alleys (soi) I remembered the days spent with my brothers running through the cane fields and lychee orchards our skin bronzed by the sun. I was still busy reminiscing when we pulled in to their driveway. 

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Bangkok
photo by: Deats