Bangkok: Part I

In order to understand Bangkok you must first smell it. Secondly you must listen, and how could you not, it is cacophony.   Looking at photos just won’t do, nor will reading about it. You must smell it and hear it.  It is heady scent of diesel, sewage, incense, frying fish, frangipani & cigarette smoke.  The soundtrack is horns, whistles, the whine the combustion engines & howling cats all set to to thumping beat of American pop music. Now if that sounds like an indictment it really isn’t. It’s just, well, Bangkok.

Because Bangkok is my first stop in SEA, I’m probably a little sensitive to all the sensory input. Currently I am sitting in my guesthouse’s sweet little courtyard & it’s almost peaceful.

 

What 13 bucks buys in Bangkok. Sure it's a cell, but it's cell with AC!

The past few days have been a flurry of activity as I have tried to see some sights & do a few errands before heading up to Chiang Mai. First on my agenda was getting vaccinated against Japanese Encephalitis Virus, Typhoid & Cholera. I made my appt at the Hospital for Tropical Diseases & despite having to take a water taxi, tuk tuk & sky train to get there, it went off without a hitch. The clinic was clean & more efficient than any clinic in the west. The nurses all wore starched white uniforms complete with large nurses caps and polished white shoes. I must say that I was surprised that I found comfort in those uniforms. I got all 3 vaccines for the bargain price of 53 USD. The same trio at my local travel clinic would have been well over 500 USD.  You can get a price list & map to the clinic here

Despite being taken on a wild goose chase by one tuk tuk driver, securing transport has been easy & cheap. (He decided that I really didn’t want to go to the train station to buy a ticket.Where I wanted to go was to a travel agent & tailor. I chalked up the travel agent to miscommunication but when we arrived at the tailor I knew he thought I was a rube. One sharply raised eyebrow & a stern “mai” got me to the train station post haste).

It has been really hot, so hot even the locals are complaining. It’s the kind of heat that saps my energy & appetite. I have been subsisting on fresh orange juice & fresh fruit. There are little carts that vendors push around loaded with pineapple, watermelon, cantaloupe, mango & papaya. For about a buck I can load up on assortment of fruit, all cut up & served with a skewer so  you don’t get your hands all sticky.  Pure Genius.

orange juice vendor

Today I visited the Dusit Palace. “Dusit Palace is the name of the compound of Royal residences constructed in European style and built between 1897 and 1901. These were originally called Dusit Garden by King Rama V and later Dusit Palace by King Rama V1” (from wikipedia) I was in the neighborhood running another errand & I thought, what the hell. It just pissed me off. First, I was told I was not dressed appropriately. Now, I am not known to wear shorts or tank tops, so this came as quite a shock. I had on capris, well past my knee & a LONG SLEEVED shirt. Apparently women cannot enter wearing pants! I had to BUY a bloody sarong. So, I get in & it’s very beautiful. A little over the top, but beautiful. (chandeliers covered in iridescent beetle wings, solid gold boats, in fact, solid gold EVERYTHING) Now, I have been to Europe & seen all the rococo, louis-the-hooey crap I need for one lifetime, but hey it’s museum, right? it’s supposed to be filled with grandeur. But then I look at when all this stuff was commissioned…. 2006. Seriously? 2006? Now, far be it from me to violate Léste Majesté and get my ass thrown in jail, but it seems that a country with such poverty, pollution & poor infrastructure could have something better to spend it’s resources on than gold baubles. Just sayin’.

Dusit Palace

Reclining Buddha at Wat Pho

Wat Pho

tasty street treats

salted fish. yummy!

unagi, anyone?

Wat Benchamabophit

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About Miss Q

I am a travel obsessed foodie, with an inexplicable love of clamato, elvis costello & the unknown
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12 Responses to Bangkok: Part I

  1. Wendy Thesenga says:

    Ahhhh, BKK how I miss you and all Suzanne describes…..Oh yeah, I miss you too Suz! You’re “cell” meets my approval – looks more like a place I’d stay than you – but I’m sure the AC is appreciated. Send a pic of you enjoying some Moo Satay. Now back to my patients….

  2. susan schultz says:

    Hey Suzanne,
    I am following you on your blog. Errands what errands are you doing? I am sorry I didn’t get to say goodbye before you left, so I will say it now. “Good bye, have a great time”. Love the blog, can’t wait to read more. How is the ipad working out? I see you forgot the skirt, I am sure you will use it. Everything is fine here. Emma’s Bat Mitzvah was great. Happy for it to be over with. Eli had his first Christmas fight with Paul on a quick drive by to see my mom, so that was exciting. Talk to you soon. Chantal

    • Miss Q says:

      chantal- had to secure lodging for ruth, stan & myself when they come to visit in march. also had some shirts made.. you know, errands. nixed the Ipad & got the mac air and boy is it sweet. skirt, what skirt?

  3. Jodi Duke says:

    And so it begins. Great Pics…so beautiful!

  4. Jenny says:

    How fun! I’m so in awe of you to be able to do this! The pix are great.

  5. Jenn says:

    So, is that your pack on the cot in your $13 cell? You thought I was tuning you out, but I was listening to your bedbug advice. You are breaking the rules already??? Wish I could break the rules with you. Pastrygirl and a chick flick at Academy tomorrow. If you were here, I’m sure it would start with Pho!

    • Miss Q says:

      no, just my day bag…. but I did check all the seams on the mattress & there was no evidence of the critters. thanks for keeping me honest.

  6. Margaret Goff says:

    Ahhhhhhhh . . . such a great description of Bangkok I almost feel like I am there. What a crazy, great place! Glad you are there and getting in the heart of it all! Can’t wait to hear from you in Chang Mai! Take care!

  7. Aaron says:

    I’m hanging out with dad and Lee (listening to your music on your speakers) and they told me I should post this suggestion for you (though you may already have an itin all set)…
    From Chiang Mai you can cross the Laos border overland and from there take a boat down the Mekong to Luang Prabang; takes about 2 days, not the most comfortable, but supposed to be a ‘unique’ experience.
    Even if you don’t take the river boat option, you HAVE to get to Luang Prabang and particularly the night market. I met a ton of people traveling solo there and the majority were older than I (30’s thru their 60’s). It’s a great little town, one of my favorites.

    Hope you’re having a great time!

    • Miss Q says:

      thanks, aaron. Funny but I am in chiang Mai now & trying to figure out the best option for traveling to LP. The bus, boat overnight in pakbang sounds like a slog for my old butt. i think I will fly. more expensive but 1 hour compared to 2.5 days is very appealing. yes, i am having a great time!

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