Bangkok: Soggy

Wed, 14 May 2008 12:21:04 +0000

Hat Yai Day 2 Index Skim-Reading Bangkok

We were woken up surprisingly early, around 6:30, so they could reset the bunks to seats. This is also about when they served breakfast: it may be second class, and you might have to pay for food, but you do get served at your seat. In my case I paid 90 baht for some prawn congee. It was pretty basic, but a reasonable breakfast. The "fruit" promised by the menu turned out to be a single limp slice of pineapple, but it'll do.

The train arrived at Bangkok a little late, around quarter past ten. But there's no problem navigating the metro system. I'm glad I read up on the peculiarities of Bangkok addresses, with their numbered side-streets. That allowed me to find the hostel pretty painlessly. I couldn't check in straight away, so I went to get some lunch. I tracked down a thai-looking diner, where I got some beef noodle soup by pointing at the poster on the wall. Not bad, although not brilliant either. Just a cheap meal. I also bought an odd tropical fruit thing from a vendor, this one soaked in an interesting sauce that turned out to be a spicy savoury thing. Not sure I really liked it, but I guess it's vitamins.

So after checking into the hostel (and chatting to a guy from Los Angeles who's apparently considering moving to Perth), I went out to make a token effort to explore the city. I'm planning to be in Bangkok two more days after this, so there's no need to rush on my first day. I decided to take a river boat up to the temple district and just wander around for a bit. There are several varieties of ferry, and this was the tourist version with a commentary. Unfortunately, I couldn't understand a word of it. Never mind.

Getting off the ferry, I found myself in a market full of fun things to eat. I only actually bought one thing, which I can best describe as a sweet taco. A nice snack. There are plenty of temple complexes around, and at present I have no idea what's what (note: an early draft of this blog entry made a pun around the word "wat", but I thought better of it). I wasn't planning to really visit anything, so instead I made for the democracy monument, just to have a target. Here it is: a monument to Thai democracy. May it last another six months!

And then the rain started. It's only just occurred to me that I haven't had to deal with rain once on this trip so far. I got soaked today though. It rained for several hours straight in the afternoon, and there was precious little shelter. My tracksuit pants dry out pretty quickly, and I did have my umbrella, so it wasn't too bad. But I didn't feel like doing any more touristing, and made my way back to the hostel. Nevertheless, here's a photo of one of the many temples I passed. I believe this is Wat Suthat:

For dinner I felt like going to a more civilised restaurant, and ended up at a place in the basement of a shopping centre. I was a little confused as to what to order: what was entree and what was main. I ordered "larb gai", which seemed to be a minced pork salad as far as I can tell. Not bad, spicy and sour like most Thai food. Also there was raw beans and cabbage, similar to what I had in Hat Yai. Those were surprisingly refreshing.

So now I'm back in the hostel, and I've just had my first shower for too long. Again, the toilet's in the shower, but the shower is hot, so things are looking up.

Hat Yai Day 2 Index Skim-Reading Bangkok