Ahhh Thailand, what a world apart from Nepal. You’re a hot, steamy son of a bitch. You lure people in with your promises of paradise, your endlessly delicious cuisine, and nonstop parties and beautiful tanned bodies. It seems a lot of people fall in love with you, for the right and the wrong reasons. Young, inexperienced teachers come to celebrate your beaches. Creepy, old, rich men and young beach guys come to sample your young women. And it seems everyone here knows how to party.
Between my visits to Chiang Mai and Koh Sumet island, I’ve been making stops in Bangkok. I don’t know what to think of the city. After coming from Kathmandu, it seemed so organized, verdant, and full of activity. Eating on the streets here is super cheap, and much tastier than Kathmandu. I don’t have to worry about food sickness. Taxi’s actually cost less… a lot of things do when your outside of the tourist and party scene. But it has this oppressive heat. And going out here just gives me the creeps, with the sex industry booming and loads of obnoxious and sometimes belligerent tourists. Always good and bad as in anyplace.
I’m on my last day in Thailand and I don’t want to leave the house. It’s really sunny today, ruining my desire to do anything. I’ve already seen two movies here, gone to malls at least 5 times, and the beach just once. That’s what the locals do… whatever the hell you can to stay cool. Riding on the bus or going to a mall is nice relief from a sultry existence. I’ve had an amazing Couchsurfing host… he’s one of the Ambassador’s of Thailand and somewhat of a local celebrity for CS. His house has been converted to a hostel for CS’ers… a great place to meet and hang out with travelers and their Thai friend’s alike. It’s certainly been a great experience staying with Toom!
Last week I arrived and forced myself to do some Bangkok tourism, visiting the Grand Palace of the king and the reclining Buddha. It was quite epic and beautiful! The royal family must have been, and probably still is, loaded with cash to build all of these gold temples. You can seen the king’s photos virtually anywhere, as he is a revered person in Thailand for which all must show respect. You have to pay respect to the king’s/national anthem at the cinema before the movie starts! They just love the king. (It’s illegal to insult or mock him)
Bangkok’s seedy side is all it has been made out to be, and I’ve tried to avoid it as much as possible (I wasn’t so lucky in Chiang Mai and Koh Sumet… but we’ll get to that later). Khoasan Road is the tourist/backing district where many chose to stay, complete with a huge bar scene. My first and only night there an American guy tried to pick a fight with me. I was embarrassed for our country. I decided not to go back to Khoasan.
Next up: Chaing Mai and Koh Sumet.