Bangkok, the First for the Year

I loved Thailand. I really did. For a trip I was lukewarm about I was surprised at how much I enjoyed my time there. I was already planning to go back for Songkran in April while riding at the back of a tuktuk as the sleepy landscape of Ayutthaya whizzed past on a halcyon Saturday afternoon. There is no single thing I can point out that made me love the place so much; it's more of a vibe, a pleasantness hanging about in the air (or was it smog)? I guess that's why Westerners flock to the country in droves and stay for extended periods of time or even end up living there. 

And the food. My god, the food. Usually I dont eat food with ingredients I can't identify, but in Thailand no fucks were givenI ate everything. I ate spicy duck noodle soup with blood cubes on a rickety metal table on the side of the road and enjoyed every morsel of it and I dont even eat dinuguan in Manila. I went to a certain stall in the night market in Thonglor, some 15kms away from our hostel, for three nights in a row in search for what was reportedly the best mango with sticky rice in the city—only to be greeted by a boarded up stall each time. This then led to me on a mission to hunt down any street cart selling it on our last night in Bangkok on the eve of my birthday, and apparently it's pretty damn hard to find mango with sticky rice at 11PM. We managed to stumble on one while walking around and observing human mating rituals in progress at Patpong District. It was the perfect dish to ring in my 24th birthday.

Much to my surprise I didnt buy anything for myself save for a leather key chain when Bangkok is dotted with shopping malls and there's Jatujak Market on the weekends, not to mention night bazaars like Talad Rot Fai to satisfy one's shopping urges. Honestly, I was far too absorbed in everything else Bangkok has to even think about shopping, or even to stop and take photos. I did, however, manage to score a backpack for my guy as a souvenir in one of the labyrinthine alleys at JJ. He seems happy with it. The money I allotted for shopping I spent on massages instead. Massage spas are everywhere, making it convenient and cheap, instant gratification guaranteed.

Bangkok reminds me a lot of Manila in many ways, albeit cleaner and with a better train system. While walking down some streets you could've been walking down Edsa, Cubao or Taft, except there's a giant billboard of the King peering down on you. As in both cities, the police are everywhere. The buses are old, creaking chunks of metal, just like here at home, but there are designated bus stops, an alien concept in Manila. They say Bangkok has a distinct smell of pollution, trash and stagnant swamp water. To me, a person who grew up in an Asian city, Bangkok smells like... nothing. There was no wall of stink to punch me on the nose as I stepped out of the airport. I'm curious as to how people from other places perceive this smell.

I cant wait to go back. I imagine Songkran would be Thailand on steroidsit's going to be a blast (literally, with water). I really wish it was April now.

1 comment:

  1. sounds like you have fallen in love with the place; similar but different, familiar yet challenging. Ideal!

    Buckets & Spades


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