Bangkok adventures

Trip Start Sep 24, 2006
Trip End Sep 01, 2007

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Friday, January 12, 2007

Bangkok is a busy, friendly, pretty clean,  modern in most places, rustic and traditional in others which are declining due to development.  The first day I arrived I wandered around a bit, ate at a Japanese! restaurant at a local shopping centre, but there is a lot of street food and markets around where I am staying.  And then I tried to have a normal night's sleep as it had been awhile - Ljubljana (sick and at hospital)/Frankfurt/Plane/Bangkok - 4 nights in 4 different places plus I had jet lag. So for 2 nights here I didn't sleep as I was not tired for some reason and of course I had a sore throat.... yes guess I am run down. Got some good medicine yesterday, the pharmacist can issue antibiotics without prescription so they are really working. 
For those of you who know Bangkok, I am on a little street (Soi) Yammarat Saleadang just off Thanon Saleadang (street , which is just off Silom Road.  The next  day, Wed. I went by the new BTS Bangkok Transit System, an above ground fast train, 3 stops to Siam Shopping Centre which is just about the most beautiful structure I've seen, in that category anyway!  All Christmas decorations! are still up here so it  is pretty bizarre, and there is a huge white Christmas tree and a big poster/monument to the King of Thailand, beside this beautiful pool in an outdoor ante area between shopping areas and music is playing... all this in beautiful sunshine.  Anyway speaking of t he King, I went to a movie (Perfume, Story of a Murderer, which was TERRIBLE, I really wanted to see that aft. in the mall,  was Blood Diamonds! But I missed one showing and the 2nd wasn't until later that night and then I would have to take the train again back to Silom Road and I wasn't sure I wanted to do that pretty whacked from jet lag as this was my 2nd day. SO I missed seeing Blood Diamonds now anyway, is it in YK yet I wonder. Anyway at the beginning of the movie everyone has to stand up to pay homage to the King and listen to the national anthem!
Then yesterday I took the Chao Phraya River Express to see the Emerald Buddha and the Grand Palace on the recommendation of a couple of hostel guests from Washington DC.  The trip itself was an adventure, down the river, past poor shanty areas, big major waterfront hotels, seeing skyscrapers, longboats, other ferrys etc. The ferry had about as many tourists as locals it seemed. I sat with a guy from Austria who is in Thailand for the 7th time and was so depressed he had to leave this Sat.  Anyway yesterday all locals were at the Emerald Buddha as well so it was crowded. Apparently it was some annual Buddha Festival and the King/Prince may have been expected.. the red carpet was laid out, security was everywhere, t here was incense, offerings to Buddha were being made, old monks were being escorted out to the VIP area etc. I couldn't stay any longer in the heat, but was talking to a couple from Canada who were wearing Tilley hats so were pretty identifiable... and a guy from Kiev who comes to Thailand a lot, is now Buddhist, is going back to Kiev today and then coming back here in 4 weeks again! Hasn't had aholiday for 5 yrs he said so is making up for lost time.  Took the wrong River Express (went the wrong direction) to get back downtown to my place so then had to get off and wait for one to come back but had lots of locals helping me with where to get off etc. They are truly wonderful people but i am constantly warned by them to watch my bags etc as there are bad people around. So far so good.
Today at 12:30 or 1 p.m. I have to stand on Silom Road and catch the Airport Express (takes about 1 hour, 150 baht, about 5 dollars) for the airport to go to by Bangkok Air (1.5 hours) to Ko Samui (Island Samui, a little island in the Gulf of Thailand, south of Bangkok) where I am going to a Yoga Retreat for 7 days.  It is actually 1/2 yoga retreat and 1/2 Irish Folk Singing (in the afternoon) and actually it was that combination that hooked me.  So not sure when I'll be able to update.  Looked around for proper yoga gear but it is just as expensive here as home, in fact maybe a bit more so it will be market t shirt for me at this point.  I bought a few yesterday as i have been wearing the same clothes for you know how long.  You can bargain here; i paid about $4 each for t shirts; they all seem to be the kind that they couldn't sell in NYC or at least stuff manufactured here for North American market but couldn't ship/sell to.
will update from Ko Samui.
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