10 February 2013
Grand Hyatt Erawan, Bangkok
That is what my friend Kaitlin called it when she travelled alone here back in 2010. Stepping out tonight confirmed it. I was amazed how dead Bangkok appeared on my way from the airport. Express line to Makkasan, 3 people on train. No one on platform at Makkasan. Transferred to Phaya Thai and it came alive. Total chaos to switch to the BTS skytrain at Phaya. Thais, Chinese, backpackers. Humidity.
It began pouring rain as I rode into Makkasan station. I had planned on visiting a wide selection of temples today. Tomorrow to fill in any gaps that I missed. Take the river cruise owned by Trish's dad. The rain threw that out the window. I managed to find my hotel without any maps, but cheated with it listed on the wall at the station with an arrow directing me there. I got my room, some tea and a snack in the Grand Club, and then promptly passed out. I guess the guy possibly hammered on Ambien who kept yelling in his sleep that people "needed to let him through" and assorted other things which don't allow for restful sleep on an airplane these days.
I set an alarm for noon, but that was definitely not enough. I reset for 1300, and got up to shower. After getting dressed, I lay down just a little bit longer. Then it was 1800. I even slept through the room renovations going on next door. My body tricked me into getting a full nights sleep, back on my old schedule. 11pm to 6am EST. bastard.
To be fully honest, heading out at 1800 was tough. The thought of traveling alone saddened me a bit, and I started getting paranoid about finally eating and getting sick. I almost wanted to sit in the hotel and completely write the day off. I am glad I didn't.
It is Chinese New Year and opening the door to my hotel opened my world to the smell of cooking street food, insence, and the sound of drums. Around the corner from my hotel is one of many shrines in Bangkok (Erawan Shrine) where a dragon was dancing around it, and people were praying and giving offerings. Instead of clothing, handbags and jewelry all the shops outside the hotel were selling flowers to offer, or bundles of insence. I felt guilty videoing people legitimately praying.
Across the street a different noise was bouncing off the buildings. The Thailand Grand Prix is apparently going on now too. It's motocross wing had taken over the square between the Erawan and Phra Pikkanet shrines, by Centralworld Plaza. A stage housed a hardcore band. If you are doing the Cookie Monster voice I guess it doesn't matter if the fans assembled all didn't speak Thai. A mosh pit looked fairly menacing if only because I assume was some sort of Best of the Best thing and everyone knows Muy Thai. It was getting about 715 or so at this point so I started to turn towards finding a meal. Still a little freaking out over food and water. I just kept wandering until I realized I was crossing over a street that that put me right at Ban Kuhn Mae, which I remember reading about at some point. Set in an old house it stands out from a neighborhood which is mainly malls, with Canal Road type stalls out all over the sidewalk. The food tasted almost identical to Nava Thai in Wheaton, which isn't a bad thing as it validated my favorite Thai place back home.
Well, that's all for today, impressive content for being awake only a few hours today. Time for an Ambien to try and get me regular.
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