Bangkok Travelogue. Bangkok, Thailand. April 1, 2013
FINDING A RIDE
It was a Monday with slowness and fastness broken in equal parts. I started the day chasing taxicabs that refused to drive through the inner city and to Khao San. In the end, I had to board a bus full of locals whose hospitality to me where expressed in mute smiles. Very few of them spoke English, and those who spoke, spoke very little.
The lady conductor roamed the aisles for anyone who could assist me, until one lady– plump and cheerful, presented herself. We alighted at the Victory monument, and from there she spoke with a chinky-eyed woman in business clothes who spoke decent English and gave me the first comprehensible direction for the day.
What I forgot though, was Thailand couldn’t be far from how life was fared in the Philippines. So when the taxicabs she hailed refused to take me to still, I walked to the middle of the street as if my human skin and bones were invincible to steel. A cab was forced to stop, I took the backseat, and commanded, “Khao San. Kapon Ka.”
FINDING A BED
Once I was in Khao San, I proceeded to finding a hostel. It was an excursion in itself. It was hard though, every time I was asked in receptions what my requirements were. I didn’t have any. ” I’ll know it when I find it, ” I whispered to myself.
The nice hotels were sterile and I felt dirty with my backpack. The dorm rooms weren’t conducive to a restful night’s sleep, what with the humid Bangkok air, even electric fans produced warm air. After a while of walking, I found an alley that lead to an old French-inspired boutique hostel called Charoendee.
The attendant was a gentle Thai boy and he gave me a double air-conditioned room on the ground floor. There were rustic chairs and tables with condiments in Mason Jars on the courtyard of the hostel. There was a small lounge too, with a television, computer, a shelf full of old books and a bunch of bean bags. I felt at home at once.
FINDING A PLATE
This part right here, was the easiest to do. I found a rolling stall that sold Roti, which earned SEA the Banana Pancake Trail monicker. I had my first piece, with condensed milk and chocolate, which i devoured like popsicle on hot summer day.
Then for dinner, I walked towards 7 eleven and had street food from one of the stalls that littered that part of Rambuttri. I had fried fish and soup and rice. For sauce, I mixed chili with fish sauce and vinegar. The experience was embarrassingly emotional. It was food I grew up with, so for a time there, it felt like home.
FINDING A WATERING HOLE
The name escapes me now, as with most drunken conquests. But I remember sauntering along Rambuttri, the less cluttered street adjacent to Khao San. It was peppered with bars and restaurants– some fancy, others glittered. I chose one that was candlelit, with a local serenading solitary guests with English acoustics. I sang along while romancing my first bottle of Chang beer.
The purpose of my trip was introspection. That night, I lived that. And I knew since, the rest of the trip will not be any less than great.
This post is part of a travel series featuring a month-long (supposedly) solo jaunt to Thailand, Laos and Cambodia