Thailand: Bangkok

We’re here at the Lub D in central Bangkok, a cute 4 story hostel, with a bar and internet cafe on the main floor. As usual, we’re on the top floor … buns ‘o steel. Since we were both very tired after our bout with food poisoning, we initially decided to have a quiet day in the nearby Lumphini Park. It is a small green space in the midst of this enormous grey, conrete, filthy city. From what I’ve seen of Bangkok so far, it isn’t a very attractive city – all the buildings are pretty dirty with vehicle exhaust. Tuk-tuk and taxi drivers constantly pester us to take rides – they wait outside the hostel every morning, looking for likely victims. I feel somewhat like a minnow circled by sharks.

After watching the balaclava-clad cyclists in the park for a while, we decided that we had enough energy to hit Chinatown. We took the subway to the end of the line and, eventually, found Chinatown after circling around its industrial outskirts for a while. Chinatown is quite overwhelming – small, narrow roads and warrens of tiny paths through four and five story buildings, with vendors selling everything everywhere. All the coloured plastic shoes can be found in one section, all the bags in another, and acres and acres of hair doodads and cheap jewellery proliferate. Shrines of gold and red, with blinking lights, can be seen in the back of almost every shop.

There seems to be a hierarchy of vendors here; first, those who have an actual store; then those who operate out of mobile carts; then those who sit in front of the mobile cars and try to sell plastic doilies and tablecloths; then those who carry their wears on bamboo poles … When we were ready to go home, no tuk-tuk could be found. Each one we flagged down said our hotel was too far away. We finally found one to take us back to the subway, and from there we transferred to the skytrain back to the ol’ Lub D. Later on, we had a light Italian food dinner on Si Lom Boulevard where 3 young guys brought around a small elephant that they were trying to persuade us to feed with scraps they had in a bag. The poor elephant uttered a little scream periodically and each time it did, I felt like kicking those guys.

See pictures here.

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