Two tickets to Bang Sue

Trip Start Jun 15, 2011
Trip End Jun 15, 2012

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Flag of Thailand  ,
Wednesday, February 1, 2012

We flew into the same city for the second time, a first for us. My whole family loves Bangkok. It has just the right mix of old and new, the people are chipper and the food is great. There is good shopping of stuff eastern and western; there are ways to get involved in deep urban adventure (fast river boat rides, stuffing large families into teeny tuk-tuks) but if you need to get anywhere fast you can be there in minutes. It is also incredibly safe.

The newest mode of transportation we tried was the subway. Bangkok only has one subway line; but it is far cleaner and cheaper than any line we rode in Europe. Mason and I have been tramping around on it, getting off at various stops for various reasons while the girls wander through the local markets buying the clothes to replace the ones destroyed in Sri Lanka. My favorite subway stop name I was able to have a bit of fun with, even though nobody got the humor but me. I stepped up to the window where a dour Thai man was dolefully plowing through his day in a half-lidded, glassy-eyed way. I asked him in a cheerful voice and a huge grin on my face, "I'd like two tickets to Bang Sue." He looked at me unsure of what I was so damned cheerful about. He said, “where would you like to go?” and I repeated that I wanted to go to Bang Sue. He collected my 40 baht and pushed the tokens to me with a banal shake of his head.

Sometimes my world of fun lives entirely inside my own head.

My friend Matt, who lives two hours south of here and will visit us in Krabi, suggested three Buddhist temples for us to visit while in Bangkok. I asked the family if they wanted to go to a Buddhist temple, and they all gave me the same 'yeah sure dad’ look that told me they’d rather have teeth extracted through their ears than to go look at more monuments to long dead holy men. Mason wanted to go to the snake farm. The girls wanted to go shopping. So instead of seeing culture, we all went to the mall. I got a good camera tripod and a new lens to replace the one that sooooomebody dropped out of a tuk-tuk a couple of weeks before. Then on the way home Mason and I jumped out of a tuk-tuk from the fast land of a gridlocked highway to run across four lanes of stalled traffic to the snake farm we were unexpectedly passing. It was lucky we did because we arrived just half an hour before they closed. Mason got his snake fix and I got an iced mocha. Life is good.

We booked three nights in the same hotel we stayed in last month, called the Pantip Suites. It is in a good location and has a very friendly staff and a great restaurant and a good gym that’s free to guests. The price is a little over $100 for a suite for five people. Actually, we booked for four people like usual; Mason has a camp beadroll on a piece of furniture meant to hold luggage. While wandering around the other day we found a restaurant right across the street owned by an old man from Sausalito. It is a quirky place of knotty pine that looks like it belongs in a mountain town like Big Bear, except for the pictures of visits by foreign monarchs and rice planters’ hats on the walls. The food is very good and cheap, and it comes fast.

Meals almost everywhere in Bangkok cost about three bucks, you can almost always get away with a six dollar meal including drinks and appetizers. Thirty bucks for a family of five is usually our bill. We also started drinking the local water for no other reason other than that it was cold and free, and nobody has gotten a tummy ache yet.

We love this town.

Mason and I took the subway down to the train station to get second class tickets for our ride south to Krabi. It will be a 12-hour ride on a sleeper train, followed by a 3-hour bus ride to Krabi Town, then a 30-minute taxi to our hotel. The things we go through to find a good beach. Stay tuned.
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