view from viengtai hotel
Wow. One word doesnâ€™t really sum up the energy of this place, but its the best I can do at this point in time. Im still reeling from our taxi ride back from the Jatuchak Markets... I donâ€™t think there are speed limits in Bangkok
, and if there are, the taxis drivers dont seem to know about them! What a city!
We barely got to scratch the surface but so far, this stinky, dirty, crazy home to 16 million people has made a very distinct impression. I think it is safe to say I am experiencing some serious culture shock, but in a good way (I think). The streets of Bangkok are filled with life and vibrant energy, and although it is humble, everything seems to be so much more intense here. The colours that paint this city are of an electric rainbow pallette, covering everything from the taxis to the houses and the billboards. Colour is a big part of the Thai culture, and everyday of the week it is used to honour something different, for example, today is tuesday and many thai people will wear pink to represent respect for the King. (Apparently pink was chosen as a colour as the King fell very ill in January this year and when he came out of hospital, he was wearing a pink shirt).
Only our first day and I am already exhausted! I think it is going to be quite some time before we get used to this fastpace, in-your-face city....
After the most vomit inducing turbulence Ive ever experienced, I was exceptionally glad to have my feet back on terra firma. Jet lagged and slightly emotionally numb, we dropped our backpacks off and headed straight down pitt street to check out the harbour and the The Rocks. A nice little ferry ride over to Manly woke proved to be a good energy boost, even if it was just for a short while. (I must make mention of the most deliciously good hot chocolate store that we stumbled upon at the ferry terminal... Max Brenner i think its called.... I had the coconut hot chocolate. Absolute heaven.!) We were so exhausted after being up for 30-odd hours we were walking around all zombified, so we didnt waste our time getting back to the hotel to catch up on some sleep.
.. The coming days were undoubtedly going to be action packed so we planned on getting as much sleep as possible! In fact we ended up sleeping nearly 15 hours all up. Well rested, we got up early the next day and headed back down to The Rocks for the saturday morning markets and breakfast. (Where I was so involved in my camera and checking my photos that I walked straight into a pole! Luckily unnoticed..). To be honest, Sydney is not my favorite city. In all honesty, Sydney was boring us. Tara and I just wanted to escape Australia and start our real adventure, with foreign cultures and new smells and tastes. We arrived at the airport a bundle of nerves (well I was at least, this being the first time I had travelled internationally) only to find that our flight had been cancelled until 9am the next day!! What a perfect start to our big adventure.
.. Fortunately they managed to put us on another flight that night, but Ill admit I was slightly disappointed when we were told we had almost been compensated with a night at the Hilton in the City with dinner and phone calls paid for! Straight on to the Duty Free, where I finally took the plunge and bought an SLR. A Nikon D40.. simple and amatuer, exactly what I was after. Then the flight.... 7 hours, I was not going to make that sober. And I can never sleep on planes, so I took good advantage of the free Scotch and coke that dear old British Airways were so kind to be offering. Halfway through the flight, and by this stage rather tipsy, the air hostess handed me a letter from an anonymous sender.. â€śCoffee, Bangkok?â€ť. Sinking back the last of my scotch I gathered enough confidence to glance behind me, to see an older man (think early 60â€™s, grey, bearded, kinda weedy) leering at me with a salicious smile.
I couldnâ€™t believe this guys bravado! I kindly refused the offer, mentioning I was taken and snuck it back on his tray as he pretended to sleep. Half an hour later, he taps me on the shoulder and hands me back the note, this time saying â€śsorry, coffee was not my offer! Im ditto, but good luck in thailand, have fun!â€ť in very different handwriting. How. Freaking. Embarrassment. It was the wrong guy. Very awkward moment I can tell you! But funny nonetheless. I never found out who the real sender was. Shame. One crazy taxi ride later and we had arrived at our (very westernised) Hotel in Banglamphoo at a little bit past 12am. Yay! We actually made it! After all the months of planning and sweating it out in the field, we are finally here. Bangkok.... I can hardly wait to see this city in the daylight.