Some notes from Thailand 2006-2007
I can’t believe I’m in Bangkok
After a long and very bumpy flight with Finnair I finally made it to Bangkok. From the new giant Airport Suvarnabhumi I went by taxi in a hazardous speed along the express highway in to the central of Bangkok. My place where I live is very near the Khaosan Road which is the very mecka for all backpackers and regular tourists. Although I’m not counting myself as a backpacker.
My first impression of Khaosan Road is a vibrating chaos of everything. You can eat, drink and buy whatever you want but you always do it in a friendly way with a big smile on your lips.
You find them everywhere here in Bangkok. Back home I promised myself that I will never take a ride in a tuk tuk. Why? First of all, I’ve heard many stories about tuk tuk drivers deliberately taken the passengers to the wrong destination in order to collect commissions from certain restaurants, gem shops or whatever. No, I don’t want that!
The second, is the traffic safety. They drive fast and wild and crossing the lanes without fear from other vehicles which are by far bigger and heavier. Imagine what will happen when you collide with a big heavy bus when you sit in your little tuk tuk. Yes, then you have to send a prayer to Buddha or whatever you believe in.
But what do think happen the second day here in Bangkok? I find myself in the back seat of a tuk tuk having a rough ride through the heavy traffic. In a weak moment it seemed like a good idea to go between different tourist spots in order to save time and money. Well I also had the opportunity to visit three tailor shops on the way, where the driver obviously had some kind of commission to take me there. Well, anyway now I have done it! On the plus account I also know exactly what a tailor made suite will cost me! The next time I will definitely take a regular taxi!
Some minor issues are the people who want to promote this and that. Visit this tailor shop, book that sightseeing ticket, go there, do that etc. These people make slight disturbances in my everyday plans. You may say that I’m not spontaneous but I feel, if a guy comes to me and say: Come with me in my little Tuk Tuk, I will take you to the Grand Palace! Then I think, he will probably fuck me up! You meet them everywhere.
Today at the Snake Farm, this guy started to tell me about a boat trip on Chao Phraya River. Very cheap! Very good! Take many pictures! Then he suggested I should change my hotel to the Patpong area. Yes, it’s the area where your mother doesn’t want you to go, at least if you are a man. Very convenient and very good! He ended up with an extremely good offer concerning girls dancing around a pole. Yes, beautiful and very good he said! Lucky for me it was time to go for a short lecture of venomous snakes since I actually was at the snake farm!
The good guys
Yesterday I wrote about some minor issues which caused slight disturbances in my daily plans. But now once for all I will stress it out that I really mean minor which is the opposite to major. Because my major impression is that people here are really friendly. For example, this is a very big city, I’ve only been here for a few days and things look quite different at night time than in daylight.
Ok, here I am sitting in the bus going from Siam Centre back to my hotel. Here we are talking about quite a long distance. After a certain amount of time I finally notice a landmark telling me that I’m closing in on my hotel, but still I really can’t recognise myself. So I guess I begin anxiously looking out of the window and now comes the good guy. He is standing beside me and obviously notices my dilemma. So he simply asks me where I’m going. Yes, now you get the picture. He was kind enough to help me off at the right time. So he was one of the good guys that night!
The dogs in Hua Hin
The dogs here in Hua Hin are quite funny. Some of them wear clothes like these two and the funny thing is that quite many of the dogs are wearing clothes. Maybe the cool breeze from the ocean makes them freeze. What do I know? But most of them don’t of course wear any clothes. They are quite normal. But from one extreme to another, some of them are naked instead! No fur, no kidding! I saw one today for example with a body like a hyena, grey skin and without the fur. Not really a beauty...
Sweden is the best?
We in Sweden often tend to believe we live in the best country in the world. Maybe that is true for some of the Swedish people but for me no. Sweden is not the best country. Specially two things which strike my mind, toilets and sushi. They have really nothing in common except that we in Sweden are not good at it. In South Africa, they are by far much better to have clean toilets everywhere, than we have in Sweden.
About the sushi, yes this sushi on the picture which I ate at a Japanese restaurant in Hua Hin is the best sushi I ever eaten. If you will get something comparable you have to go on very expensive restaurants in Sweden. For this sushi I paid 220 Thai Baht which is 44 Skr! So don’t tell me Sweden is the best country in the world, at least not in every aspect!
Ko Phi Phi
It took 18 hours to go between Hua Hin and Ko Phi Phi which is an island. The bus took me to Krabi and from there I took the boat. Ko Phi Phi is situated 45 km from Krabi out in the Andaman Sea. To be precise Ko Phi Phi actually consists of two islands and I’m staying at the larger one called Ko Phi Phi Don. Frankly my first impression is not so good. To cut the bull talk, to many tourists.
For those who are familiar with Sweden and Gotland under the peak season, they will understand what I mean.
I’m aware of that December is the peak season for Ko Phi Phi so I have no one to blame except for my self. But I will give it a few more days.
This evening I had a nice dinner, creamy shrimp soup, grilled lobster with garlic and black pepper. Since I was still hungry when I had finished the lobster, I went on with grilled swordfish with white wine sauce. I finally ended up with a big ice cream. To drink I had a couple of Singhas. So this evening I really didn’t miss the traditional Swedish christmas food!
Every day at the same time the invasion starts. I know because I used to have lunch at that time so I can sit and watch them coming. With military precision the boats are letting heavy loads of tourists off. They are all marked up with small signs in different colors depending on which tour operator they belong to. First they all will be given a sun chair down at the beach.
Not long after that they will all be given a snorkel and a mask and transported a few hundreds meter out to the reef. Soon there will be a buffet lunch and they will be all transported back to the beach again. After feeding they usually go to their sun chairs again and rest for a while. Finally it’s time for them to leave. After when they all have left the beach, things will calm down a bit until the same time next day, when the invasion starts all over again.