Bangkok on a wing and a prayer

Trip Start Jun 15, 2010
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Trip End Dec 15, 2010


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Where I stayed
MOM's guesthouse, Khao San Road

Flag of Thailand  , Bangkok,
Thursday, August 26, 2010

Yesterday, I got to BHSOH only to find out that there was no school until Sunday due to a Karen/Burmese tradition of bracelet tying. I am a bit disappointed that I wasn't able to join my students in Burma for this trip as discussed and as Skylar had the chance to last year, but it was just too dangerous with all the current violence, so they didn’t want to chance it. I’d rather be safe and enjoy a trip there later anyhow then be worried the whole time. So on my bike ride home, I was thinking about what I could do with all this time off. I’d wanted to make a trip to Bangkok sometime in the next couple of weeks but really didn’t like the idea of taking time off school to go on a vacation. The timing was just too perfect. So I spent the afternoon flipping through copies of Lonely Planet and looking things up online, and the next thing I knew, I was calling a Tuk Tuk to pick me up at the house and take me to the bus station.

About 10 minutes before the tuk tuk was supposed to come, the power went out. Everywhere. It was such a cool sight because no one has generators or backup lights, so the city was just pitch black. I really enjoyed this. The minute the tuk tuk came to our house the power came back on. I took it as a sign. When I got to the bus station I thought I’d maybe have to buy VIP tickets due to the hour, which cost about 800 Baht. Something I was willing to pay considering I’d be sleeping overnight on the bus, and well, hey, I’m on vacation. Luckily though, I was able to purchase 1st class seats, which are, in my opinion, just as good for half the price. The trip was comfortable and pleasant. The police checks were a lot more thorough, but they usually love Canadians and this time held no exception… man we’re lucky to be Canadian. I arrived in Bangkok at 4:15am, tired, groggy and with no plans. Super cool feeling.

First thing I did was hop in a taxi and get myself to Khao San road; the famous spot for backpackers and young locals who like an exciting scene. The taxi, as I was forewarned, cost nearly the same amount as my bus ticket to Bangkok. 300 Baht!!! When I got here, I walked up and down the street, super intimidated. It was 5:15 and the bars were still bustling, buskers were chilling with their friends on the side of the road, alchies and druggies alike slurring their speech and movements, and of course, annoying taxi drivers demanding WHERE YOU GO! I learned quickly that the street is quite short and found a sign saying: MOM guesthouse. I went in, got a room for 250 Baht (right in the middle of my price range) and checked out my room. Kind of looks like a prison cell, but it’s clean and cheap and that’s all I really require of these places. I decided to sleep for a couple hours before venturing out and figured it’d be much safer to explore in the sunlight anyhow. So that’s what I did.

I woke up at about 10am (by choice) and put on makeup, shorts and a tank top… because I can wear these things here. You can in Mae Sot too… but it’s not very comfortable actually and there’s really no point. One thing I discovered? I really prefer how I look without makeup. I look like a doll with it on and I don’t know. Maybe I’ve been here too long, but I don’t miss the look of it and probably won’t wear it tomorrow. I then found a cute little coffee shop that served peach tea (awesome!) and warm croissants. That’s right, I ate western food. Do I care? No! The only "Thai" food that I’ve really seen anywhere so far has been very westernized anyhow, so I don’t figure I’m missing out on much. After I ate, I found a travel and tour agency to set something up for the week. I had a couple things in mind that I wanted to do and the prices here were right. The tour I ended up choosing was to go to Ayutthaya kingdom to see the ancient ruins, temples and giant reclining Buddha. The tour picks me right up at my guesthouse at 7am, takes me all around and on boat rides etc, includes lunch, and drops me back off at 5pm for 600 Baht. I really wanted to spend a day doing Elephant rides or something, but they were all a bit pricey and included so much other stuff… though I may change my mind tomorrow and splurge to go on another tour that includes that for Saturday. It really depends on my mood here.



One of the most wonderful things about traveling by yourself as I discovered in Germany last year, is that you can do whatever you want, whenever you want. Even when you’re with your best friend or sister, there’s usually something they want to do that’s different than you and you need to compromise. Well, you never need to compromise with yourself. So today, I walked over to the Grand Palace and temples, didn’t go inside, but rather took a tuk tuk all around Bangkok, saw the giant golden Buddha and headed home. Tuk Tuks really are annoying here. The only reason why I took one was because it only cost me 10 baht for the whole trip, but they really are as bad as they say. I think they get some kind of gas ticket deal if you go into the really expensive places and just “look around” because he kept taking me to places I didn’t want to go to, like silk factories or jewelry stores…all had excellent prices compared to Canada, but I’m on a budget here. This little trip alone is costing me about 5000 Baht. The last stop at the silk store really killed my buzz as the seller was a complete asshole to me, demanding I put a deposit down on a scarf because I said “I’d think about it”. He wouldn’t let me leave the store until I promised him I’d come back, and he almost tried to go with me to the guesthouse to “get money” and come back and buy it. Well, I was pretty pissed so I just left the store and asked the tuk tuk to take me back to Khao San Road.

Anyone who’s talked to me recently knows that the one thing I’ve been craving from home has been Subway sandwiches. Well, they’ve got 'em here and they either taste just like home or my standards have been lowered. Either way, I chose to eat it for both lunch and supper and was completely happy doing so. Once I’d gotten home from the tuk tuk fiasco, I realized that I had a kind of sun rash on my arms, neck and face. I don’t know if it’s an allergic reaction to the sunscreen (because I haven’t really warn it much here until today) or if it was just too much sun, but I was tired and hot so I crashed for the afternoon. Yes, I slept all afternoon, and you know what? I’m allowed. Cuz I’m here by myself and no one can say anything otherwise. I woke up feeling a bit better though I’ve still got the dark red spots on my shoulders and arms… hopefully it’s nothing and will be gone by morning.

Khao San road is bumping right now. It simultaneously makes me feel at home and very much alone with all the music I’m familiar to (and very VERY good techno and trance), busyness of Montreal and heavily saturated with foreigners. Across the street from my guesthouse is a 711, and there was a fairly large couple sitting there with 2 large things of coke telling a Thai woman trying to sell headdresses to F*** off.. I wanted to say something but just walked away. People like that don’t care what you think anyhow and better not to get into a confrontation with two people 3 times your size..

The shopping is great, though I only bought one tank top (because I only have one here) and some flag patches to stitch onto my bag when I get home. I dunno, I just don’t feel like I need any of the stuff. If I meet some people and decide to go out tomorrow night then maybe I’ll buy one of the really nice dresses I saw, but otherwise, I’d have no purpose for it here for the next 3 and a half months and it can wait until our trip right before heading home. I’m really looking forward to the tour tomorrow and really hope to meet some people so I can join in on all this fun. It’s not quite like Germany here, I don’t feel as safe or comfortable just walking up to people and introducing myself. Everyone’s in couples or very large groups and it just kind of seems awkward. However, that being said, I’m really enjoying being alone. One of the sellers on the street today told me I had “love-sick” eyes. Haha maybe I am homesick? I doubt it… more updates to come tomorrow :)



P.s. I think Michele Morningstar is the only one who will fully appreciate and understand the meaning of my title for this blog. Good book Mich <3
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Comments

Rachel on

You are absolutely right:
If I was with you, a definitely would have bugged you to go inside the temples, and to do things in the city instead of napping! :P
But the subway sandwich meals remind me of London....
So glad to hear you're having fun!

Michele on

Haha Christine! I totally saw the title and laughed! And then I saw you mentioned the book at the end so it wasn't just a coincidence!! &lt;3

I was going to comment on something other than the title though: you look like you are having so much fun! I just saw your pictures on FB as well and I am beyond jealous of your impromptu trip! As you say, you can do whatever you want, whenever you want, without justifying anything to anyone! That goes for your readers too... ;-) Whether you eat Subway every day while you're in Bangkok or not is totally up to you and no one should judge you for it! ;-) Enjoy it and have fun, love you and miss you loads!! xo

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