Bangkok, Briefly

A few members of the Freedom Family had the energy after dinner to for a drink, a Sprite, in my case, since I was still feeling kinda awful.  We went to the aptly named Freedom Bar, but although Dylan’s dancing was amusing, there were a couple of guys who weren’t so we headed on to the next spot.  I walked with them but when the bar was closed, I decided to crash.  I’m kinda devastated I missed the go-go bar but I was exhausted.  The next morning I caught a flight to Bangkok, where I had the day to kill before my overnight bus ride.  I got to the travel agency, and asked if I could leave my bag for the day, they said sure, and told me to put it outside.  I thought maybe I’d misunderstood but she then pointed at three other bags that were sitting outside, against the front window.  I asked if I could leave it inside but she insisted it was the only place for it.  I debated my options: leave my bag sitting on the sidewalk on a busy, touristy street or carry it, in addition to my daypack, for 8 hours, in the 90 degree heat.  To add to it I was wearing long pants and sleeves, and planning on visiting the Vimanek museum.  I left my bag but spent the whole day anxious about whether or not it’d be there when I got back.

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Chang, the classic Thai beer being delivered

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Khaosan during the day

Since I was already soaked in sweat, I figured I might as well walk to the museum.  It took me about 40 minutes and when I finally got there, it was closed.  Apparently it’s closed on Mondays.  I’d wanted to visit when I was in town the first time, but it’d been closed for New Years.  Discouraged, I headed towards the water.

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One of Bangkok’s canals

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“Yoghurt” flavored soda

I hopped on the water taxi to head south.  At 13 baht, it’s the cheapest way to travel, and with the great views of the city from the river, my favorite.

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Water taxi crowded with tourists and locals alike

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A colorful “longtail” with decorations on its sacred head

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I went to the Jim Thompson store, if you remember, he’s the man who is credited with revitalizing the silk industry.  Although he’s still missing, his business seems to be booming, and is filled with beautiful silks of all shapes, sizes, patterns, and colors.

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I had heard about a pad thai restaurant that was supposedly incredible, so decided to check it out before headed back for my bus.  I followed Google maps, and it said I could take bus 35 to near the restaurant.  I’m still not sure what went wrong, the number was on the sign at the stop, but I waited there for probably 20 minutes, seeing people get on and off buses endlessly, but number 35 never showed.  I ended up having to take a cab, only to find out the restaurant was closed on Mondays too.  Not my day for getting things done.  Luckily there was a shop next door which had “pad thai sen jan man kung kung sod” which for those of you who don’t speak Thai, is basically pad thai with shrimp wrapped in an omelette.  It’s as good as it sounds.

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Fortified for the long journey, I headed back to the travel agency.

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Khaosan at night

Miracle of miracles, my bag was still there!  I joined the three hundred other backpackers in line for checking in for the bus, and was moved through, cattle-like, even being “branded” with color coded stickers.  Unfortunately their color coding didn’t work out too well and a couple of us ended up doublebooked for the same seats on the same bus.  They eventually got it worked out and shuffled us onto a less comfortable bus.  To add insult to injury, I was stick in the middle of a group of Brits on a package tour, one of whom was so loud, that even now, when it’s quiet, I can still hear him echoing in my head.  Not only that, but when I did finally manage to fall asleep, the bus stopped for a thirty minute break at a market in the middle of nowhere.  Who needs a midnight snack on an overnight bus?  We finally got to Chumphon, where we were transferring to a ferry at about 5 am.  The ferry didn’t depart until 7, so I passed out on a bench, the best sleep I’d had in days.  Why you’d have a bus depart at 9 pm, only to make two half-hour long stops midway before arriving at 5 am for a 7 am ferry is beyond me.  The one upside though, was that I got to see the sun rise over the Gulf of Thailand.

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