Bangkok's Ode to McDonalds

Trip Start Sep 30, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Tuesday, December 6, 2005

Sawadee! (hello)

We arrived back in Chiang Mai around noon and decided to head straight on through to Bangkok. This led us to yet another overnight bus ride. Leaving Chinag Mai at 6:00pm, we would arrive in Bangkok at 5:30am the next morning. The ride was alright, although during our pit stop at 1:00am, Trevor received a NASTY bump on his forehead due to walking into a metal sign (the edge of a billboard really) that is low enough to run into, but apparently too high to see. This resulted in an instant "Fred Flintstone" egg, and I'm sure I didn't help the situation when Treevor asked how it looked and I all but gagged. With a cold bottle of water against the enormous lump, we boarded the double decker bus again and prepared for our final five hour leg.

We arrived on Khaosan Road just in time to see the last of the Friday night hookers chasing people down the street. Welcome to Bangkok! Although our first impressions of Bangkok were to immediately get OUT of it, we were able to find a nice guesthouse on a small, cobblestone street, away from most of the noise (and the hookers). Once we were settled in, we decided to wander the main streets near our hotel to get a feel for the area. During one of the many stops to consult our trusty map, a kind man stopped to help us. He spoke very good English, was a school teacher himself, and pointed out the major things we should see on the map. He also informed us that if we ride in a Tuk-Tuk, to ensure that the license plate was black and white not black and yellow. The black and white ones are government supplemented meaning the government paid for English classes for the uneducated drivers to help them earn an honest dollar. The teacher waved one down for us, showed him all of the things we wanted to see, (Inc. 2 Temples, "The Golden Mount", the "Giant Swing", Vodlee Tailor Shop, and a final stop at the mall across the city). All these stops for 50 baht ($1.60). We hopped in the Tuk-Tuk and arrived at the 1st Pagoda - 'sleeping bhudda'. We came back to our waiting Tuk-Tuk, and were expecting to move on to the next one, 'standing bhudda'. Instead, our driver told us he would take us to Vodlee Tailor shop instead and THEN to the bhudda. Why Not?? We quickly poked our heads in the Vodlee Tailor Shop and retreated back to our waiting Tuk-Tuk driver within minutes as it truly was a fancy Armani - type shop. Onward and forward to the "Standing Bhudda"...although we are quite tired of visiting temples and Bhuddas, we figured we'd go anyway, as the driver was taking us to the mall soon.

The standing Bhudda was humongous. It was possibly the full height of the Drop of Doom in West Edmonton Mall - maybe bigger. We took this in and returned to our Tuk-Tuk, or shall we say, we returned to our Tuk-Tuks empty parking space. It appears that our Tuk-Tuk driver tuk-tukked his way outta there after dropping us off. We learned later, that if drivers bring potential customers to the tailor shop, they receive free gas coupons. (Insert bright light bulb here)...this explains why we went there before the standing Bhudda. So now we are no closer to the destination we actually wanted - the mall, and we're on an unknown street, and are trying to figure out exactly WHERE we are on the map. We're only a little ticked off because we didn't pay the driver anything yet, so no real harm done.

We decided to inquire about getting to the MBK mall on our own, and we were told with a shake of the head by a travel agency that, "Oh no, you need Taxi. Much too far to walk, maybe half a day!" Well, we made the hour and a half trek to the MBK center. This was surprisingly less than the 1/2 day the tour guide told us it would take, although maybe her days are 3 hours long, and in that case, I suppose she was right! The exhaust, fumes, sewage stank and smog were at times pretty intense but it was worth it to venture into the sweet air conditioning, the wondrous aroma, the impeccable place of happiness...drum roll please....McDonalds! Yes people, McDonalds! We were moved enough through this experience that we have written a poem.

Ode To McDonalds

To eat or not to eat?
That is a dumb question!
Too long has it been since you last caressed my lips.
So long it has been, that thou fat has left mine hips.

I long to taste thy sesame seed bun,
Thy crisp lettuce, thy cool tomato, thy glorious all beef paddy!
It has been 2 months since we last parted,
Yet so much less since Trevor last farted!

Cheeseburger, oh cheeseburger,
Where fore art thou cheeseburger?
Deny thy fat content and refuse thy shame,
Or no longer call thyself glorious grease.

Shall I compare thee to a bowl of rice?
Thou art more filling and satisfying!
Thy heavenly french fries be salted as if by angels tears.
Their wound'rous crunch t'is music to mine ears!

T'is only thee that offers the plentiful choices of McDeals, McFlurries and the overfilling BIGGIE Size.
T'is only thee that satisfies my longing for thy cholesterol so bountiful.
Worry not about my health or hardening arteries,
For t'is a small price to pay to smell thy deep fryer.

I shall savor thy luke warm ketchup and cherish this memory with great fondness.
Dost thou knowest whence we shall meet again my sweet?
I fear it shall be too long for mine heart to endure!
Parting is such sweet sorrow,
Sausage McMuffin, we shall have tomorrow!

Anonymous. (Seriously, we don't want credit for this).

We hope our poem will touch the hearts of many. Now wipe the tears from your eyes, there is more to tell!

Not only was McDonalds wonderful in Bangkok, but we were able to witness the Thai people celebrate the King's birthday (88 yrs old) as well as the anniversary of his rule. The streets were strewn with thousands of mini lights for as far as we could see. After sunset, when the lights were all lit up, it was as if every star in the sky had been pulled down into Bangkok to light the streets in a sparkling Gold Celebration.

A huge park not far from our hotel was filled with tents, vendors, kites, balloons and even cotton candy. For some reason, we appeared to be the only tourists sharing in their celebration. We quickly learned that most of the tents were set up for staff who were preparing cauldrons upon cauldrons of Thai Food. As we wandered past the tents we couldn't miss the enormous line ups of Thai people waiting for some of the free food. Our curiosity must have been obvious because we found ourselves being pulled to the front of the long lines and being given free food before the 100's of others waiting who were waiting of so patiently. You may think this would have frustrated the hungry onlookers still waiting, but it appeared to be quite the opposite. We were given multiple thumbs up, numerous pats on the back, and countless smiles. In fact, one man left his place in line, took the dishes we had JUST received and went back to the front to add more food to our already full plates!

We spent the majority of the evening walking around the grounds taking it all in from the street vendors, to the dancers, to the speeches on stage, to the Tek Pak Tak Raow and the humongous screen showing a movie, it was quite an experience!

We have found the Thai people in Bangkok to be some of the most helpful and friendly people we have met on our travels so far. Every single time we stopped to look at our map, someone came over to us with a smile, pointed to where we were at the time and suggested other places for us to go and see. They were all wonderful as they always took time to chat with us, share some of their culture and history with us and they always wished us a wonderful trip and visit to Thailand. Such fabulous people!

Hugs and Love!
Dana and Trevor
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