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Published: November 17th 2007
Upon landing in Bangkok we headed out to get a taxi to take us down to Pattaya (where Bruce stayed before and where Bruce’s dad was on holiday). Thailand as always did not fail to impress the farang (foreigner) bargaining for a taxi price which started at 2000 baht then quickly fell to 1300 baht after walking away! We were then treated to the usual standard of driving which meant breakneck speed and avoiding all manner of motorbikes and buses that glow with neon lights. If there are road rules we didn’t see many people adhering to them!
After spending a few days with my Dad and catching up with some old diving buddies we got a bus up to Bangkok and headed to Siam Square as this was going to be our base for a few days. Upon arrival we were treated to air quality akin to a working mans club from the 70’s! It is not the easiest city to navigate seeing as a lot of street names have more than one name and maps can differ hugely. This is made worse by the fact that if you stand in the centre of Bangkok looking at a map
you will attract lots of ting tong (crazy) people! One woman who we genuinely thought was trying to help us turned out to be trying to get us to take a taxi somewhere.…..we have been back to that same spot since and seen the same woman talking to more lost white people! After carting our backpacks round the streets in the blistering heat we eventually found a good place to stay…phew!
The first day in Bangkok we headed on the Skytrain which gives a welcome relief from the traffic and smoke as you are elevated way above the street in what must be the coldest air con system ever. Why do they make it so cold? We headed down to the River and caught a water taxi to the Grand Palace (former royal residence). Despite the scorching heat we both had to borrow some rather dashing garments to wear as strict dress codes are enforced…..Bruce actually got quite fond of his baggy hippy pants. The temple and surrounding buildings were very grand (I guess that’s where they got the name from!)
The rest of our days in Bangkok have been spent doing a little sightseeing and spending a
lot of time window shopping and having a giggle at all the fake stuff here. The choice of food is also quite unbelievable though it’s not always been easy to get what you want….they seem to want to put pork or fish in everything - pork bun, shrimp dumplings…ugh! One of our highlights was taking a tuk tuk to Chinatown and wandering around the markets there. The wee lanes are packed with all sorts of fruits, vegetables and animal bits! Today we visited the big new aquarium which had brilliant exhibits of fish including one where the tank was a car and it was filled with fish. They also had a pretty impressive collection of sharks swimming about watching us.
We are headed for the train station now to catch the sleeper train up to Chiang Mai. It is in the north of Thailand and offers a cooler climate and we hope less traffic (I am not sure if it is just because of New Zealand but Bangkok has been driving me mad with the amount of cars and pollution). It can’t get much worse than here….fingers crossed!
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