Ah, Bangkok. The city that never showers. Or perhaps the city in which you never feel like you've taken a shower. Seriously, take a shower in Bangkok, I dare you. You'll probably be at a guesthouse, much like the one I write from now. You'll go into the slightly skanky shared bathroom, turn on the showerhead, and exhale in sweet, cool, relief.
Until you turn the shower off. As you dry yourself off, you realize it's not working, you're still wet. In fact, skin that was dry a moment ago is now wet again. This is because you've not been 10 seconds without cold water on you and already you are a sweaty beast. Gotta love it.
I really do love this city. Last time I was here, I was here for around 9 days. This was great, but too long. I think about two days in Bangkok is probably perfect. Khao San Rd is one big sordid party (which having watched "The Beach" recently, I can say with great certainty that the director who put that scene together SUCKS), the royal palace is beautiful, and the juxtaposition of modern skyscrapers, ancient architecture, and poverty is staggering. My preferred mode of transport in Bangkok is the local bus, because it's cheap. Dirt cheap. As in 17 baht for an hour long ride from the bus station to Khao San. However, when I can't be arsed to wait for/find a bus, the Tuk-Tuk is an option of immeasurable radness. Despite being given the runaround a couple times (see earlier post), I still love these things. Sure, cabs have air-conditioning (and doors), buses are cheaper, and the river taxi is great, but the Tuk-Tuk allows you to see the city up close, real close, 3-inches-away-as-you-swerve-past close. You're in the open air, not only seeing, but being seen. Thais stare or smile as you go by, other tourists in other Tuk-Tuks laugh with you as your driver passes theirs or vice-versa. And the possibility of you dying in a fiery crash just makes it all the more titillating. Bangkok traffic is fast and mad. I remember how terrrified I was the first time I took a Tuk-Tuk. (hehe...tukatuktuk) It's funny how you get used to things. Now I only tense up if I actually think I'm going to die in the next 3 seconds. I learned how to approach a Tuk-Tuk driver from Joel, the Aussie I have written about earlier in my Thai time. You walk up, state your destination, and your desired price. When he tells you his price, you walk away. If he doesn't stop you, find another driver. When you find one who does, congratulations, you've just learned how to haggle. I had a great driver today. As he took me to Chatuchak Market, we talked about my family, his family, money, how he hates driving a tuk-tuk and is getting an office job soon. He finally invited me to his place in the north if I'm ever back in Thailand, for some special chicken soup, with special ingredients. The kind of ingredients I don't touch in Bangkok, but certainly enjoy on the beach. Nice guy.
So, after spending the day souvenir shopping and spending waaaaaay too much money but getting sooooo much stuff for it, I'm packed and off to dinner and then Khao San. May meet up with a couple of mates from Ton Sai. I've got a cab picking me up to go to the airport at 3am, so I figure I might as well get lightly roasted. Until next time sports fans, Adios. See you in Korea.