Sunday 11 January 2015

Days 228 - 231: Bangkok - Backpackers' Amazing Technicolour Baggy Trousers

Wat Pho temple
My blog posts are too long.  Anyone who hasn't given up reading yet is a miracle of patience.  But now we're in Bangkok, there's no need to spill rivers of ink (or pixels).  So many people have already partied on Khao San Road, photographed the plates of insects for dinner, gaped at the Buddha, bought the tie-die clothing, and eaten the pad thai for themselves.  Haven't they?  So I will try to be brief.

I wouldn't have been hip enough for Khao San Road road when I was eighteen, never mind when I'm thirty-four.  I'm far too boring and, besides, Khao San's taste in music can be summed up by the word 'soppy'.  As for the clothing, including more than two primary colours in a single item is unfortunate; including all three plus orange, purple, green, white, indigo, crimson, and the rest of Joseph's dream coat is unacceptable.  But at least you can eat the ice cream without worrying about whether it has defrosted eighteen times in the last week, although this is only an option if you aren't already full of fresh pineapple pieces on sticks.  (Ahh, the pineapples.  My body probably needs to play a freshers' name game with nutrients; it hasn't seen one for so long I doubt it remembers what they are for.)

But seriously.  Bangkok.  Wat Pho temple is truly stunning and its cousin across the water, Wat Arun, is vertiginous (I almost wanted a rope to ascend the second section).  The Vietnamese embassy is merely mercenary (the socialist republic requirements payment in the currency of the capitalist enemy, the dollar, and doesn't really care what you write on your visa application form).  The husband is forgetful and doesn't pick up your visa when he promises to, leaving you in the hands of the taxi drivers, who are work-shy and refuse to drive you to the Vietnamese embassy because there's a traffic jam.  (Isn't sitting in traffic jams part of a taxi driver's job description so long as he is fairly paid for it?)

Afterwards, you can visit the mall, where the shops are ludicrously opulent and look like they're trying to compete with Singapore.  But there's an H&M where you can buy clothes showing only one primary colour and start looking like a human being not a vagrant trekker again.  Awesome.  Then it's back to the hotel using the sky train, which is clean and functional, passing the skyscrapers, which are on steroids.  Back at base, the ice in your cocktails is made from clean water, the food is fragrant and doesn't leave you vomiting over the toilet all night, and there are no power outages.  And after all that, the verb 'to be' should accompany you to bed because if it doesn't feel overworked then it jolly well ought to.

I'm good with company
Then there's the Buddhist stuff.  As well as Bangkok temples, I visited Ayutthaya, colony of Buddhas in their yellow silk sashes - ephemeral fabrics draping stone that can outstare a millennium.  They are a sociable lot, the Thai buddhas; they like to sit in groups, not alone.  And they look happier than their Tibetan or Sri Lankan counterparts.  The long reclining buddha looks almost coquettish.  Perhaps it hasn't seen the fate of its fellow statues elsewhere in the old Thai capital where stone body parts lie strewn over the ground and statuesque arms and legs languish in the undergrowth as though it were a battlefield.  I suppose they fought the centuries (sometimes the Burmese too) and the centuries (or the Burmese) won.

But I'm failing to write a short blog post here, so we'll whip through the floating market, where I achieved a personal best of haggling a purchase down to forty percent of the asking price (get in), and photographed many a banana-seller in a boat (but keep that goddamn snake away from me; also, if you're its guardian, you might want to stop it escaping instead of playing Angry Birds on your iPhone).  The minibus that brought me back to Bangkok dropped me near Khao San Road where the thought just began to niggle at my mind that the tie-die clothing is a little tasteful.  You know, just some items.  Actually, quite a few.  Not just tasteful but even desirable.  Quite a lot of it in fact.

Uh oh.  What did I say about unacceptable colour combinations?  It's time to leave Bangkok.  Urgently.  Get me outta here.

So Guy did.  And we went to Vietnam.

There we are.  387 words all told.  Bother, it wasn't even a short blog post.  C- for effort.  Must try harder :-(

Get me a rope and my climbing harness - at Wat Arun.
Bangkok's main street?
The question is: will my robe last as long as my stonework?
Be honest, you aren't thinking religious thoughts, are you?  
A message from Ayutthaya conservators to eczema sufferers everywhere!
Nature meets culture at Ayutthaya.  I've seen worse pillows on my travels.
Time to take in the view at Wat Phu Khao Thong.
Wat Phra Si Sanphet - Temple of the Kings
Surely you don't need to ask what I'm selling today?!
Floating market, floating bananas. 
Any chance you could keep any eye on that thing?

1 comment:

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    I asked her about all the details of the trip and got a few recommendations about the route.
    Firstly, we discussed a list of the sights that must necessarily be seen by us. Secondly, the question of accommodation and transportation, I solved use the help of the
    Cat Motors company So I've already read reviews about their work before on Facebook and decided that they can be trusted.
    In this way, we were preparing for our adventures ... The photos will be shown later. See you!