Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Bangkok Post

The title needs an explanation, as probably nobody will catch the pun.  "The Bangkok Post" is a Thai newspaper printed in English that I purchase every now and then.  So I figured it was only fitting to have it as the blog title.

So on the Fourth of July, when Americans were celebrating Independence Day, I found myself in Pan's Kitchen eating lunch with noneother than an Englishman.  He said to me, "Happy Independence Day.  We didn't want you anyways."

Coincidentually, his name is David, which is my middle name, and his middle name is Charles, which is... well you know.  David just finished a year studying in Bejing and was heading down to Southeast Asia before heading back to England.  When we met, he said he was going to Bangkok, and I asked to tag along.  I said I could help him with the language.  So next thing I know I'm on a train to Bangkok.

I had never been there before, but I had heard stories.  Bangkok is glorified in movies such as "The Hangover II" as being some big and dangerous destination.  The reputation is about half right.  It was a surprise leaving Chiang Mai, where everybody is friendly and willing to help you out, to Bangkok where people were less friendly.

As soon as David and I got off the train, we became surrounded by people trying to sell us rides in taxis, people trying to sell t-shirts, food, and everything.  We made a joke about it after awhile.  We'd keep individual score as to how many times somebody tried to sell us a custom-made suit, a tattoo, or admission to a "ping pong show."

We did meet some really nice people.  Every morning David and I would eat street food from a vendor outside our guest house.  We'd get rice, a meat and vegetable curry, and a pork patty and sausage for close to a dollar.  I'd be able to practice my Thai with them, and they'd shower me with compliments.

One of the must-see places for me was the Royal Palace.  I told David, "I'm not leaving until I see it!"  As the King is one of my heroes, I had to see it.  Though the day we went there the palace was closed because the royal family and Prime Minister-Elect Yingluck Shinawatra were in there praying.  It was amazing to see a living piece of history and know history is still being made there today.  I felt honored.

And throughout the palace grounds there were all these elaborate paintings on the walls depicting battles with monsters.  I have no idea what they're about, but they sure caught my attention.  I can't grow tired of looking at them.

I especially love the last one.  The monster rises up and becomes the temple!  Salvador Dali would have loved these paintings.  As soon as I get back to America I'm going to do some deep research on Thai are and try to figure out what these are all about.

We used a lot of public transportation in Bangkok, but one we used the most were boats.  For about forty cents you can buy a boat ticket that'll take you either up or down the Chao Phraya River.  Every time the boat approached a dock there would be a guy blowing a loud whistle.  By the end David and I should have found a good audiologist.

Every night David and I would have deep talks about things ranging from politics, our countries, to books and movies.  David was the first person the whole trip that I met whose first language is English, so it was weird to be talking in English again.

By the end of our four days in Bangkok, David and I parted ways.  David headed out to Malaysia, and I headed back to Chiang Mai.  Hearing David talk all about Bejing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, and London made me want to go visit them badly.  Hopefully when the times comes for me to go to either China or the U.K. he'll be around to give me a tour.

1 comment:

  1. Those paintings are bad ass. I'm glad you found an English speaking friend :)