I’m pretty sure I fell in love with Bangkok almost immediately. What’s not to love? Eateries and watering holes galore. Great shopping. Reasonable pricing. I could spend a lot of time wandering and discovering the streets and alleyways. And even with it’s big city grandeur, there is no shortage of Thai hospitality. An afternoon on my own in Bangkok proved all of this to be true.
I began at the golden Buddah. I spent an hour weaving my way through exhibits and unmarked hallways with the aid of the staff. My next stop was the reclining Buddah at Wat Po, which served to be a more difficult feat only because I would have to navigate my way through Chinatown. Here’s where things went awry. really, a map is useless as I found myself going down narrow alleyways full of merchants selling everything you can imagine. There was even an entire store dedicated to Hello Kitty! Don’t worry. I took a picture. Not only were these narrow allies chalk a block full of people, food carts were also trying to make their way thru along with some motorbikes. One thing I’m learning is that if there is no room, there’s still plenty of room. Finally, after an hour of aimless wandering, I pulled out my map and began to dissect my surroundings. I was lost. I had no idea which way to go. And it was then out of the blue I heard a gentle voice speaking in the most perfect English with a hint of a Thai accent. “Can I help you find something miss?” the lady asked. I was so grateful for any help I could get. She informed me that Wat Po was at least a half an hour walk away for a local and it was hardly a direct route. She advised taking Bus #1 for about 6 baht ($0.25). A bus ?? That’s a guarantee to get lost even further! But she was confident and even walked me to the bus stop.
A bus stop is an absolute misnomer. The busses don’t stop. The slow down just enough for you to grab the handles and jump on. The same goes for getting off. As I jumped on the bus, afraid it would leave without me, or worse, drag me along side it, I was welcomed by the fare collector who immediately recognized me as a tourist, grabbed my wrist and propelled me into a seat. Lord knows I wouldn’t have been able to stand on this thing. I paid my fare and spent the next 10 minutes fascinated by my surroundings. Did I mention the bus had no windows so I could hang my head out the bus like a happy pooch barreling down the highway? I saw my stop, but didn’t know how to get off. Remember the lack of stopping?? So I caught the attention of the fare lady and pointed outside. She yelled,”Wat Po?” I nodded. And she urgently shooed me off the bus while instructing the driver to slow down. I made it.
Luckily, I also made it in time to watch the monks praying and missed the mad rush to see the Reclining Buddah. All in all, i’d say it was successful if not adventuresome.
We’re now in Phuket. An absolute money sucking tourist trap. We made a pit stop in Myanmar day before yesterday to renew our visas as the prospect of Thai jail is less than appealing. We also grabbed some veggie samosas in Myanmar which I think is the cause of my now 2 day illness. I’m hoping I’m well enough sooner rather than later so I can at least enjoy some beach time. Then back to flooded Bangkok, and onwards more chaotic New Delhi!