Since my first few days in Bangkok, things have been remarkably more enjoyable. I decided to give Bangkok the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps, like me, it was just having a few bad days. I took a more in depth look at the area I'm in (Khaosan) and although I'm still not a big fan, I do see the importance it serves to the community. With so many phalang (Thai name for foreigners) in the area, the tourism industry flourishes. *Fun fact, I've learned how to effectively haggle: pretend you only have a certain amount with you, 3 out the 5 times it worked. I haggled my way down from 650 baht to 300 baht on a pair of hammer pants (300 baht = $10.08). Although, I'm a sucker for old lady vendors, they are too cute. There are a few that where traditional garb and walk around selling bracelets, one of whom saved my life after she pulled me out of the way of a tuk tuk (taxis and tuk tuks will run you over without even blinking). So I gave her 20 baht for a bracelet I could've gotten for like 10 or 15. Oh well, you win some you lose some.
|Khaosan Road: Chaos and tourism.|
After exploring Khaosan, I decided to venture out. I needed a break from the craziness. Dear friends and family be proud of me. I made it from here to Lumpani Park by way of the bus! I wish I had taken a picture of this bus, wooden floors and all. For a whole 7 baht ($0.25) I made it all the way to the park.
In the midst of the hustle and bustle of Bangkok lies an island of tranquility. Irene and I walked around for a good 20-30 minutes recharging our batteries and taking in the wildlife. We were especially surprised to see what I believe to be a tiny dinosaur (the missing link).
|Look at this tiny monster! And he had a super long tongue.|
Once we had finished our day at the park, we journeyed over to MBK (the largest shopping center in Bangkok, more of a mall than the market shops in Khaosan) to see a man about a phone. And I found one! An unlocked international phone with a sim card that charges 1 baht a minute! What a deal. Great success for the day, met some lovely English boys also traveling and walked back to Khaosan when our bus got stuck in traffic.
By the way Irene is from Switzerland we were exploration buddies for a bit. *Hey dad, she's Swiss! She recognized our last name but apparently the Swiss/German version is Lichti.
|Horrible picture of me. Where did my lips go?|
In order to have the more "authentic" Thai experience I wanted to begin with, I went to talk to the hostel staff since I didn't really know who else to ask. After discussing with them a bit, and Irene, we decided to visit the famed Floating Market just to get a picture of how different Bangkok is than other areas. The floating markets open at 5 am and for the first few hours it is mostly locals selling and buying fruit and other food but we didn't leave until 7 am so by the time we arrived it had turned into more tourist shops but the fresh fruit, oh the fresh fruit.
|We took a speed boat to the market. You can actually take one of these into Laos as well (CAN do it. But I can tell you after 10 minutes my bum hurt like no other).|
|Cute old ladies selling fruit. I wanted so badly to get one of those hats, but I would rather have someone show me how to make them than to buy one.|
|Floating Market from above. Log jam!|
|This is someone's garden. Lucky them.|
Apart from being accosted by the Pigeon Master and having my shoes stolen (yes my shoes were stolen, the hostel said it was the first time that had happened, psht) I'm glad I gave Thailand a second chance. It's pretty neat.