Saturday June 16th : Bangkok

Bangkok Travel Blog

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My 1st impression of Bangkok - or the City of Angels - as the locals so affectionately call their city, isn't the most flattering kind. Along the runway I see nothing but plain flat land, looking grim underneath the cloudy sky. The airport is sterile clean and chilly and before we know it we stand into the arrival hall next to the little tanned man holding the ECU-travel sign, waiting for the others of our group to join. 

Leaving the artificial coolness of the airport, a sticky heat engulfs me completely, taking my breath walking into a hot and steamy Turkish hamam. And that while it is only about 7 AM local time! " Why on earth did I let myself talk into this', I can't stop thinking, as I drowsily accept the orchid flower necklace and get onto the tour bus. This is gonna be a real touristy type of thing...while independent discovery is more my cup of the way, I am allergic to tour guides, and now we will be stuck with one for at least 10 days...."Make the most of it"' I keep on repeating to myself... You know I am a natural born doom-thinker but despite that, things usually turn out for the better :) 

On the way to the hotel we pass only big sky-scraper buildings and grey back alleys, dotted here and there with some gilded rooftop of one or another temple. The city seems too large scaled to recall the ultimate " Wow-Erlebnis"-feeling like when Ils and I were nearing central St Petersburg. Perhaps our mistake is that we are too prepared... seen too many movies, read too many books... the city doesn't seem to have any mysteries in store...

Our hotel turned out to be a 20 storey monster, but at 1st look very clean and convenient. Thank goodness we had some free time until lunch because I fought against Mr Sandman, but the little bastard won.  There was still "sand" in my eyes when my alarm clock went off a little before lunching hour; but my hungry stomach was convincing enough to drag me down: fried rice, boiled rice, rice noodles, rice pudding... it all looked very appealing. Little did I know that this would be my only staple  for the next two weeks!

After lunch, the sight-seeing race already kicked off full speed. I do admit I rather would have returned to bed, but that soon changed as we got on the boat thru the clongs or small canals of the city. It felt like a completely different world. Only meters away from the big hotels and shopping malls, there are pole houses... women doing their laundry, children playing in the water, fishermen, boat vendors... and the enchanting architecture of the numerous temples in the background.  The time difference, the long tiring journey and the sticky heat was still doing wreckage on my system, so I got thru the afternoon like one lived thru one large  surreal dream; as if I were watching all from a distance, without being really there. Ils and Nancy weren't feeling too alive either so we decided to postpone Bangkok's night life for tomorrow night and hit the sack early...
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photo by: halilee