Utterly indulgent in Bangkok

… but no better place to do it on a budget!

So, now, having been in Bangkok for eight days now… And haven’t done too much sightseeing, though I figure we’ll be travelling quite abit over the next few weeks, and I needed to recharge my batteries. Especially after coming down with a virus, and trying to chase away diarrhea (still not completely successful, as it comes in waves).

Tried out meditation for the first time at Wat Mahathat. Met an American couple there, and for the husband, it was his first time ever out of the country! So for him, Bangkok was rather crazy, exotic and overwhelming I must imagine! As it was for me, last visit, seven months ago. However, this time around, after having been in Bangladesh and India, I was looking forward to “relaxing” in Bangkok! Again, funny how your perspective can change. The wife asked if I missed home at all, being on the road for so long already, and I didn’t hesitate to respond, “No!”

As I mentioned, lots of trips to the salon and massage parlour! A bikini wax is only 350 baht (about $10), so I decided not only to go for that, but a whole leg wax (four weeks without shaving in a country full of beaches is completely worth it!). I geared up for the pain by downing three red bull vodkas before going to the salon… But I think Mexico made my liver too efficient, as I still felt a LOT of pain!

Per and I also toured Bangkok by bike! No, not a suicide mission, but a tour run by a Swede (natch!) through a different side of Bangkok. When we arrived at the office, we met another Swede (an older guy, maybe in his late 50’s?) who was also booked for the tour. And a young Thai boy in his 20’s. Who we both assumed worked at the office. Then realized, “oh, he’s joining us?” Then realized, “oh, wait… he’s with the old Swede?” Later Per asked me my opinion on what their “relationship” was. I responded, “well, he was wearing a t-shirt that says ‘Star Fucker’.” (I’m not joking!)

The t-shirt in question

Initially, we had to ride through some busy parts of Bangkok, past the Royal Palace, and the reclining Buddha (Wat Pho). Caught a glimpse of the Buddha’s knees from the street! The Swedish guide asked if we had visited Wat Pho yet, to which we both responded yes. The young Thai: “No, fist time.” (Hehe – just poking fun at the inability of most Asians to pronounce the letter ‘r’.) Saw a completely different side to Bangkok that I never knew existed! Quiet narrow paths through amazing lush, GREEN scenery! Though occasionally had to tango with oncoming motorbikes and vending carts.

Bangkok by Bike tour

Per and I had checked out the free lesson with AUA, but I thought their method of teaching by using only body language and no English would be too long and arduous for me only being a casual visitor here. Though the teachers were hilarious- and I learned the words “peng” (expensive, opposite to what it is in Cantonese!), “neung” (one), and katooey (lady-boy)… That last one is very vivid, as the teacher’s impression of a lady-boy will be one that is difficult to forget! Maybe the method works.

So today, while Per was visiting with his Thai friend Nee, I tried to find a Thai language school. I phoned one school up, but there was no answer, so I thought I’d just try to show up, and wrote up an address to a nearby school as a backup. By the time I got there, two hours later, they told me they were closed today (likely for the Buddhist holiday). The other school said they normally do week-long programs – maybe I should have signed up a week ago! Or spent my time today in an internet cafe learning Thai online instead.

Oh well. The day wasn’t a complete bust, as I found out the area was a “Japan-town” of sorts. Got my hair cut by a man who recently moved to Bangkok from Tokyo! And for a fraction of what it would cost in Tokyo – schweet! And, oh yes, the day wouldn’t be complete without a facial.

Made my way back, and picked up my laundry at a small family place – who run their laundry service out of their living room. The man who lives there is pretty sweet, and recognizes me from my third visit there now (I don’t dirty my clothes that quickly – one trip was for Per’s laundry). Chatted with him for awhile, though I had a hard time learning the proper proununciation of “Ayutthaya”, repeating after him about ten times and still not getting it… Per’s Thai is better than mine, so whenever someone speaks to us, I’ll just point to him. We’ve confused a few people already, including one taxi driver who was probably wondering why I didn’t just tell him the destination in Thai. Everyone (except those on Khao San Road) assumes I’m Thai, even after I speak English to them! As was the case of the mom at the laundry place. Kind of amusing!

Had some dinner, then the man from the laundry service saw me in the internet cafe just now. It was raining and he tried to give me his umbrella, though I responded that I already had one. Again, what a nice man!

I like the area I’m staying in – it’s a ten minute walk north from Khao San Road, and a little bit more “local” (and slightly cheaper). Though it does take quite awhile to get anywhere!

Tomorrow morning we leave for Ayutthaya! (A-yut-thi-a) Hmm, still not right?

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