Day 1: The cab ride from hell and the meetup that almost wasn't!
Bangkok Travel Blog› entry 1 of 4 › view all entries
The day of our departure for Bangkok couldn't have arrived any sooner! My friend, Joann and I were so looking forward to our maiden trip to the City of Angels, as Bangkok is known in it's native language.
I spent the night at Joann's apartment, since we decided to share a cab for the airport the next morning. Joann's flight was scheduled to depart at 1030am, while mine was to leave an hour later. We booked different flights out as Joann couldn't decide if she wanted to join me on this trip, which I paid nothing for (except for airport tax) departing KL.
We were up at 7am, and had some time for a quick breakfast of mum's shepherd's pie from the night before.
So we decided to wait out at the lobby and ten minutes later, there was still no sign of our cab. I began to feel nervous, as I didn't want us running late for check-in, so I called the cab company again, and they assured me that our cabbie was 60 seconds away, and just as I hung up, I heard our cab fly over two speed bumps to get to us. After an apology for being late having been caught in rush hour traffic, he bundled our bags (and us) in the cab and we were headed for the Low Cost Carrier Terminal of the KL International Airport
Our trip to the airport was not without incident.
Finally relieved to have made it to the airport, we made our way to the check-in counter and grabbed a coke from McDonald's before heading for the boarding gates.
Then half an hour before Joann's flight was due to take off, we find out that the flight's been delayed by an hour! I wondered if my flight would be delayed as well. So we make our respective phone calls to inform our families when ten minutes later, another announcement is made for the first 45 passengers to board an early flight to Bangkok. I rush Joann to take that flight, not knowing that the rest of the passengers on her supposedly delayed flight would be bummed to the one that I was to be on.
Thankfully, my flight departed on time, and two hours later, I arrived in Bangkok. After going through customs, I walk out and Joann was waiting for me. We decided to take a shuttle to our hotel near the famed Kao San road, instead of our initial plan to take a taxi there.
We arrived near Kao San Road an hour later, and made our way to our hotel. It amazed me how similar the area was to Chinatown in Kuala Lumpur. Streets were bustling with vendors and shops selling all kinds of souvenirs, jewelry, funky tee shirts and street food, among other things.
Having arrived at our hotel, Cordel, a TB from the UK who had been in Thailand weeks earlier, greeted us as we made our way to check in to our room. We got our key and made our way to the 5th floor where our room was, and after freshening up with a change of clothes, we headed back down to use the cheapest net service in Bangkok, beamed Cordel! 10Bht for 20 mins, not a bad deal.
I thought I'd try the fried rice with shrimp and Cordel went for a BMT sandwich (not very adventurous!), while Joann - who had a bite to eat at the airport - settled for a Chang beer. It wasn't quite as tasty as I hoped it'd be, and so I decided to try something else on the menu if we decided to eat there again on our trip. After lunch, it was time to explore Kao San Road. Cordel gave us the low down on street food and how to bargain for a deal when shopping in the area. I was just thrilled to be there, and tagged along as we explored shops and stalls, while looking for the Starbucks that we had planned to have our Bangkok meetup at that evening.
Then I took out my camera to start shooting my Kao San Road experience, and the first shot I took of the street came out white! Not sure if there was something wrong with the exposure or if my sister had messed with the aperture, I checked the setup again and took another shot.... and there was nothing! No colour on the shot! WTF??? I couldn't believe it. I'd purchased a 2GB memory card and enough batteries to capture as much of Bangkok's colours and now my cam was dead! I told myself that there has to be some way to fix this, so left the photoshooting to Joann while taking in the sights, sounds and smells of Kao San Road.
After almost an hour of walking around, we decided to take a breather and headed to McDonald's, partly to check out its menu. I was thrilled to see that they served pork burgers!! Yes, as lame as this sounds, the McDonald's in Malaysia serves only kosher burgers and meals.
As amazed as I was, I decided not to have anything non-local in Bangkok, and opted for a coke float, which came with ice cubes in the coke! The ever hungry Cordel had a burger meal and Joann was happy with bottled water. Half an hour later, it was onward to explore more of Kao San Road until it was time for our planned meetup. We sat outside Starbucks, not knowing that we were actually in the shared vicinity of the Sunset Bar, which we had realized after being handed menus by a waiter not garbed in a Starbucks apron!
Being typically English, Cordel ordered a cup of tea, while I went for a glass of the iced version and Joann stayed stuck to her untouched bottle of water, as she indulged in a styrofoam container of Phad Thai, which is stir fried noodles with egg and veges.
After walking for what seemed like an eternity, we found a street food diner called Panee's and settled there for dinner. Dinner was not too bad, except for the banana mango shake that Cordel ordered which tasted more like banana pineapple (yuck!) shake. The prices were a little steep by my standards, at least, especially for street food. I realized then that this was more for the tourists, as we were certain that we'd find much better local food at local prices. Joann and I were determined to find better street food the next day.
Once dinner was done, we walked back to Kao San to find a bar to hang out in. I was already exhausted by this time, as my knee decided to act out and the stress levels due to the increasing pain, had me perspiring and dying to sit down.
We walked back to our hotel, where I couldn't wait to crash after my scalding hot shower (to help ease the pain in my knee). I was so looking forward to the next day, and our visit to the temples.