Tuesday, 21 April 2009
ONE NIGHT IN BANGKOK . . . . .
. . . . . is not enough! This city of about 12 million is a breath of really fresh air after where I've been for the past 6 months or more (even my cough and snotty nose have just about disappeared). I'm still in some sort of "shock" due to a number of factors. Firstly, I thought I'd developed a serious hearing problem, until it dawned on me that the traffic here is silent (unlike India and the rest of the Sub-Continent, where "the louder and more continuous the AIR-HORN, the better"). Also, the Thai people are very polite and helpful, and they have a good concept of a QUE - not something that resembles a thousand-man rugby scrum! This city is also spotless, as though there may be "hygiene police" lurking around every corner (and here are actually rubbish bins - plenty of them!). This is a large modern city, with skyscrapers forming the background regardless of which direction you happen to look. There is also a lot of history here, largely involving either the Buddhist religion and the Royalty (very impressive palaces and temples). In the past few days I've tested the impressive public transport system extensively. Firstly, Leana and myself have taken the express ferries up and down the river, which snakes roughly from North to South through the city towards the ocean. Today I took the ferry South, transferred to the amazing sky-train all the way to the North of the city, transferred to the underground Metro, and back to the sky-train and another ferry back to my abode (all comfortably in about 2 hours). I say the sky-train is amazing, as it runs above the crowded city roads and highways amongst the buildings - sometimes as high as 6 or 7 stories up (the Metro is, conversely, probably about that same depth below the surface at times). Another thing about Bangkok is the food, which I find rather to my liking (poor Leana, last night was the first time she actually had an enjoyable meal - not too vegetarian here!). Thinking ahead, it may be problematic for us to get out of here (just a rumour). Many of the city highways don't even allow motorcycles - let alone bicyles. The intention is for us to leave for the Southern coastal areas early tomorrow morning, and hopefully we don't still find ourselves here in the city by evening! So, optimistically, I'm looking forward to experiencing the rest of Thailand.