Christmas in Bangkok

Trip Start Oct 30, 2012
Trip End May 30, 2013

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Flag of Thailand  ,
Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

After a night of uncomfortable non-sleep on an overnight bus decked out with red-vinyl ceiling, pink frilly curtains and soft mood lighting, we arrived in scummy Bangkok's cockroach infested streets at the delightful hour of 5am. Tuk-tuk drivers who woke up early just for this opportunity, circled like vultures over carrion. Tired and dazed I couldn't say where I wanted to go if I'd tried, so we walked to 24 hr Kao San Road. Now this was a place we deliberately avoided our last time through Bangkok. At 6am on Christmas morning we saw staggering tourists, bars still heaving, and guys in McDonald's satisfying their munchies without shoes or shirt on. What
a terrible perception of foreigners these workers must have. We couldn't get out fast enough!
After much wandering, we found another tourist district full of guest houses and restaurants as well as road side stalls. This area had a much better feel and had a few street kitchens for a more 'authentic' feeling. We found a small cute Thai-style wooden house with Mom and Pop downstairs. A much nicer than the hospital-like dormitories which were the other options.

We'd rushed back to Bangkok to get things done and move forward with our Myanmar Visas. However, the boats were running at reduced schedule and the embassies were closed. Why would the embassies be closed? It's not a holiday in Thailand and it's not a holiday in Myanmar! I couldn't understand. So we spent most of the day fretting about what to do and trying to find some internet so we could phone our families to say Merry Christmas and do some decent planning. However, there wasn't any to be found. How is it that we can travel to the most developed place in SE Asia and NOT get free WIFI? Went to several restaurants buying our obligatory drinks only to find the connection wouldn't work and go onto the next. We were going broke before we even got internet!

Finally, we decided that we'd both had enough and needed a little break. Instead of humping it around Burma, we would head to some beaches for a bit of R&R. However, bugging out of Bangkok was not to be as easy as I'd expected. Everyone seemed to be trying to get their pound of flesh out of tourists. When trying to book bus tickets, we went to several different travel agents and got several different quotes. I couldn't believe it. We've had such good experiences up to this point with being treated fairly. I guess that's what comes of staying in a major tourist centre. Our visa is quickly running out for Thailand and without going to Myanmar, it's not going to be renewed. I hate the idea of wasting another day in a place we dislike. There's no way to even think with all the bustle and noise. We were going a bit crazy!

I know even conventional Christmasses can be stressful, but we're tired of arguing.  In a fit of dismay, we decided that if you can't beat 'em, join 'em! We indulged in some farang activities and ordered a big pizza for dinner, and even had a sheesha (in Thailand?) and beer. Then we went for a walk along the infamous Kao San Road. Weaving through the never ending crowds of people and avoiding the rolling fruit and kabab carts, you could find almost anything! Fake ID vendors, hand made ashtrays, sunglasses, bamboo tattoos, t-shirts, henna, dreadlocks, and portable ATM's for when you run out of money. Bars with wait staff standing out front beckoning you inside with 'specials'. Music from either side of the street thumps through your mid-drift and deafens your ears, changes as you move past the next establishment.

Forget about sugar plums, candy canes, turkey, stuffing, brie, and shrimp. For Christmas this year, Brian got to eat a scorpion!

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Bonnie on

Tasty ????

2totango on

actually, yes!

very crunchy and a little fishy with a good dousing of soy sauce to make it go down easily :)

jaymyson on

Sounds like a great place! Las Vegas of Thailand...minus the scorpion! You guys have to remember that most cultures are influenced by westerners. It is called marketing. You have to supply a service or product that people are willing to buy and to people that can afford it. Do you blame them? We all have to do some dirty work. My two cents. You might be surprized how many people from other countries might come here expecting igloos. Mush Mush.

2totango on

Thailand is very good at catering to foreigners wants and desires, but often at the sacrifice of their own values...I know people may 'expect' igloos when they get to Canada, but are there fake villages set throughout TO? Maybe I need to go back as a 'tourist'...

jaymyson on

Very True! Although we don't cater to the easterners. For them it is a perception of how we live. Maybe our perception of some of them is also skewed...

2totango on

agreed! that's one of the reasons i love travel - to help you see through the stereotypes and perceptions you may have that might not be real :D

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