Day 1 of Bangkok
June 20, 2015
The plane ride from Hong Kong to Bangkok was a little less than two hours, and was too short to get much writing done . Descending didn’t look at all what I was expecting. Instead of a massive city, we came down over miles and miles of farmland. At the airport, we immediately saw signs warning against tourists culturally appropriating images of the Buddha, as well as purchasing ivory products.
We met up with our Bangkok tourguide “Mr. Woody,” as well as two other students on the trip who had recently arrived all the way from America. Even though we were probably much more refreshed as them, they looked very excited.
We road into the heart of Bangkok just at sunset, and it suddenly started pouring rain. Our van splashed through heavy puddles on the highway.
I’m not sure exactly what I expected with Bangkok. Hundreds of stray dogs of every shape, size, and color wandered through the streets. Tuk Tuks and Sawng Thaews aggressively merged into traffic with the cars and buses. Dilapidated shacks were built underneath massive skyscrapers. Our hotel, Imm Fusion Sukhumvit, was not at the best location, we had to take taxis or the skytrain almost everywhere we went, but it definitely was beautiful. The lobby was decorated in vibrant colors, with a Hindu elephant god statue to bless the place with success. Poofs were scattered around the edges, with hookahs casually sitting at tables.
Massages were offered poolside. The lobby smelled amazing, like faraway places.
After checking in our rooms, I really wanted to go to Skybar, to see the views of Bangkok. Especially since we never made it to the roof of the Ritz in Hong Kong. However, it took me and my temporary roommate so long to find anyone, that we were too hungry and tired to do anything besides find dinner.
We went across the street, after hesitating a very long time at the nonexistent crosswalk. We waited until a Thai person started walking. The traffic was hectic, with cars and motorcycles aggressively whipping around the corner to merge quickly into traffic. After finally making it across the smaller street, we had to cross again, this time using the skytrain walkway to get across.
On the other side was a street market only active at night.
We wove through covered stalls boasting wares of clothes, and crossed into the food area. There was a lot of public seating. Locals and tourists shared towers of beer (“bia”), and the smells of food were teasingly inviting, especially since we were at this point starving. We were nervous as to deciding what to order, and paranoid at this being our first night We ordered some drinks, “red soda” and “honey lemon.” The process to make the beverages was intricate. The woman poured flavored syrup into a beaker, separately, she made a golden colored hot tea. She poured both over a giant plastic cup (looked like big gulps) filled with ice. We hadn’t anticipated getting ice, and when we were handed our drinks in bags, we were unsure whether to drink them, out of fear that the ice would be made from unsafe tapwater. Our curiosity got the best of us, though, and we took sips. The beverages were very sweet, but the flavors were delicious. Next, we ventured to order food. We both wanted to try items that we could only have in Bangkok, and that wouldn’t be available to us when in Chiang Mai. However, one dish called to me too strongly. Salted fish. It was amazing. The inside was moist, flaky, and full of flavor, without being any amount of ocean-y. The skin was crispy, with crystals of salt on the surface.
We weren’t sure where everyone else was, so we called it a night, especially since the next day’s activities started at 6:30 for breakfast.