into Bangkok by cover of night and surface from customs around 5:30am. I grab the bus
downtown as the sun rises in east and get a great overview of the city on the way in. The infrastructure is absolutely impressive by any standards. I walk
to the hotel via Wat Trimitr which is a nice temple in the middle of China Town. I drop my stuff down at the hotel, which is absolutely amazing, and grab the subway
to the Chatuchak weekend market (the subway is free as it is election day).
I walk all around the market in awe of everything going on around me. There are so many people and everyone seems impossibly busy for a Sunday morning. I meet a nice English girl named Nicki and we sit down for a refreshment (it's freaking hot!) and talk for a while. She's awesome! 22 years old, just out of University and taking 6 months to travel and teach English in China before starting a Teach for America-type program in England. Alone until tomorrow when her sister gets here to join her.
We agree to meet up later that evening and I take the airtrain
from the market past Victory Monument to Siam Square and the business district (juxtaposition of market to malls is amazing). The market is full of fake goods being hawked at dirt cheap prices while the mall is full of all the most expensive brand name stores marked up to prices that are maybe 150% of what they are in the states.
I continue to walk a ways past the Erewan shrine before snagging a taxi
past King Rama VI's monument. I enter what the map says is PatPong and hop a moped taxi
through Silom to take a rest at the hotel.
After a great nap and shower I take the ferry boat
up to meet Nicki at Khao San, where all the backpackers hang out. Meet back up with Nicki and another British guy, Steve, who is about 40 and is in Bangkok "on business". Apparently he buys gems and jewelry to resell in Britain, but more on my real thoughts later. We sit down at a bar after walking up and down in absolute amazement of how many people from all around the world convene on this place to explore and set out on adventures. They wont serve us beer because it is election day... interesting.
The three of us grab a tuk-tuk
and head to Patpong, which I apparently walked right by earlier without REALLY seeing it! This place is like Daytona during bike week, Vegas on Halloween, New Orleans at Mardi Gras, and Savannah, Georgia on St. Patty's Day all combined and multiplied by 3.4.
I mean, I can't even begin to try and explain what all I saw happen. Some of it I think I'd rather forget than try and recount to anyone who is brave enough to listen. Honestly, I have never been more disgusted and unable to look away at the same time! I mean, anything you think is bad doesn't even compare to the sickness of this place. I feel really dirty just being near everything and Nicki and I go for a long walk to clear our heads and chat before going our separate ways, agreeing to meet up the next day for a sight-seeing tour together.
I'm out like Big Papi facing Andy Petitte as soon as I get back to the hotel!