First Two days in Bangkok

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canal.jpg

OK I am back. I passed out for about 11 hours - probably a mix of jet lag and a 6 hour bike ride. Lets see what have I done.

I arrived two nights ago into the craziness that is Khao San Road, I think I read in a number of guidebooks that this area is seen quite a bit in the movie the beach. Maybe today I will pretend I am Leonardo DeCaprio while I am walking around.

Asia is a welcome change from the prices in Denmark - the first night I made the following purchases:

"Diesel" watch $3.00
Travel alarm $1.50 (sorry Mom I forgot the nice one you gave me)
Plate of Pad Thai w/egg $.50

The next morning I woke up to take my bike tour which was really cool. I took a cab across the city for about 45 minutes which costs $5US. On the tour they took us all around various parts of Bangkok outside the main city where most tourists don't go. It was a good introduction to the city and I learned alot about how to order different food/fruit from the vendors so that I no longer have to guess what stuff is. We also took our bikes on a longboat across a river which was quite interesting.

So far I have learned a little Thai as well, have no idea what the words look like so I just say what it sounds like, phonetically the words appear to be:

long dong - some sort of small fruit you peel, tastes like grapefruit
Carp koon crab - thank you
sawadee crab - hello

I hope to improve my vocabulary today.

They took a lot of pictures during the trip and have already posted them online, they look pretty good http://www.realasia.net

The way home was also interesting, Brendan (the tall guy in the pictures - from Ireland) recommended I take one of the canal boats home. Now I could have taken a cab or tuk-tuk (small motorcycle style cab, like a motorized rickshaw) which most of the tourists do, but the canal boat sounded like fun. It was also cheap (about 30 cents) and part of the fun of being in Asia is seeing how little you can spend on things, its very addictive when you get here to see how cheaply you can live - I think I could easily get by on about $4 a day here if you only walked or used public transport (one stop on the metro cost me $.25), stayed in a slightly cheaper place, and ate vendor food.

The canal boat was the craziest part of the trip yet (and the first time I feared for my life). You start by going to the canal on a floating dock (pictured) then when the boat pulls up they draw it close to the dock for roughly 10 seconds everyone pushes into the boat and off it goes. Then you motor down the canal, and yesterday it was raining really hard and the waves were high enough we were catching air when going up the stream. I could barely see a thing because they had drawn up the tarps on the sides to stop the water from coming in. At some point a guy tapped me to pay, I handed him some coins (about $.50) and he handed me back some other coins and a paper ticket - I have no idea when I was supposed to get off. After a couple of smaller stops there was a mandatory stop and everyone got off. At that point you have to catch another boat by hopping off and waiting at the dock again for the next boat. Of course the entire time on this trip I was the only white person getting on and off these boats, although I hardly felt like people were staring like I do in some other countries. In case anyone wants to look it up the name of the canal is Kiong San Sap. I have also added a picture of the boat so you can get an idea (another one I didn't take).

On a general note the Thais are very nice. Thailand is known as the "land of smiles" (yes I know some of you may think of something else when you think of Thailand) and they really live up to it. When I was biking back on the trip a young guy directing traffic smiled at me and I smiled back - As I biked by he tapped my arm with his traffic signal, just to say hello in way. It was very nice and the Thai people are very welcoming in general. I also spoke to an older gentleman who was well educated (He knew more about the US government than me and was excited to show off his talent to me, by telling me about the house or representatives, congress, etc..) I spoke to him about the Thai and US economies for about 30 minutes and learned quite a bit. Of course there are still a million people trying to sell you things and get you to ride in their cabs, etc.. but the touts have not been as bad as I thought they would be.

Tonight Brendan and I are going to a Muay Thai fight at Lumphini stadium which should be pretty cool, I am excited about it.

OK that is all my updates for the time being more in the next couple of days...

1 Comments

Nice how you managed to get into nearly every picture...ya tourist! Nah, looks pretty cool--have fun!

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