First Days in Bangkok

I had rented an apartment a bit far from the center. Close to Chatuchak Market, the biggest market of Thailand and one of the biggest markets in the world. In order to reach the apartment I needed to take a metro and either walk for 20 minutes or use one of the many bikers who drive you home from any of the metro stops. I was told by the owner of the apartment that these bikers fee were 20 bahts per trip, around 50 cents, so I decided to grab one of these bikes the first time. Once we arrived he kindly charged me 40 bahts. After few minutes fighting with the guy I paid him what he asked and left. After that incident I decided not to use this transport anymore even if I had to walk for hours. When you think about it you have only spent 50 cents more but if you keep on doing the same all the time you will find yourself with a huge gap in your account in a short space of time.

I met Nastya the first night, a Belarusian girl who was my coworker during my time working at the reception of a small hotel in Amsterdam. It was her last day in Thailand after a 10 days’ vacation. There is no doubt that Nastya comes from the extinct Soviet Union, she has long blonde hair, 1.70 in height and a thick accent. She moved to the Netherlands few years ago together with her mother and she was studying the same degree as me but in a different University. We had a good connection since the first day. I greatly respect every single person who likes me since I usually show indifference to the huge majority of people I meet. I usually find human beings very boring. Nastya has an east European character, she looks serious and sometimes even careless, but actually she is a very funny woman once you have the chance to know her. We spent most of the afternoon looking for a bar to grab a beer. I didn’t know the area and apparently neither do her. We found ourselves walking around like headless chickens for more than two hours. Finally, after grabbing a cup of coffee in a shopping mall we found a bar where we shared few beers, talked about her trip and recalled stories and anecdotes from our time at the hotel.

During my first days in Thailand I contacted Idear. Idear is a Thai girl I met during my trip to Vietnam in 2015. We sat next to each other in the bus during a tour I booked when I visited the Cu-Chi tunnels. Despite the language barrier (it was pretty difficult to follow the conversation sometimes) we had a good time that day and we kept in contact until now. Idear is an extremely kind person, she brought me a metro and skyline card (skyline is another type of public transport used in Bangkok, similar to the metro), gave me useful tips to move along the city and pointed me the best places to eat in Bangkok. Together, we went to the Grand Palace. There was an exhibition of the biggest treasures and ornaments of the recently deceased Thai King. I got surprised with the respect and admiration showed by Idear every time she talked about her King. I knew in advance that he was very close to the heart of Thai people, but the way she described him was a true reflection of the passion professed by his people. When I asked her the reason for this huge love towards the king I couldn’t understand any of her answers, partly because of the language barrier but also because she didn’t seem to be able to mention any important development brought by Bhumibol, the former king of Thailand. The opulence of the artefacts and ornaments found inside of the Grand Palace drags the attention of everyone. I won’t say they are not beautiful, but it is very questionable whether all this amount of gold and jewelry is really necessary. However, since I come from the cradle of corruption is better to remain silent in these cases. Everything could be found in the exhibition, immense paintings made by more than 300 artists, sculptures carved with a surgeon’s precision and a huge amount of thrones and other accessories used to bring the king from one place to another. All of them full of golden and precious stones.

In the afternoon we visited Chatuchak Market. A must for every traveler who visits Bangkok. I do not quite like consumerism but actually if you look deep in this market you can find amazing stuff for ridiculous prices. After a long walk through the market we sat in a small bar where a Spanish chef (“El Chef Fernando”) was dragging the attention of bunch of locals and tourists. He was cooking a Spanish paella. Around 50 or 60 people were asking him to take a picture with them as if he was a rock star. “El Chef Fernando” happily accepted all the requests and he started to do some magic tricks for the kids at the same time as he managed to give a speech about world peace. Spaniards cannot go unnoticed anywhere.

The following days I had the chance to discover a new Bangkok. I took a speedboat through Chao Phraya River (see videoblog 2). I had the feeling that the boat was going to overturn at some point and based on the reactions of the rest of the tourists of the boat, I wasn’t the only one, but still it was a very funny experience. I also visited the “Snake Farm” and attended to the demonstration that takes place every day at 2pm. The staff from the farm show you how to defend yourself from different types of snakes. The demonstration was so realistic that one of the guys was bitten by a cobra in front of me. All the public was in shock until other guy from the staff with a big smile on his face said something like: “Well, at least the hospital is right behind the farm, otherwise my dear friend would have serious problems”. Thai humor I guess… (You can see this moment in my next videoblog 3).

There was also time to enjoy the night of Bangkok. There is a huge amount of places to visit during the night with different music and atmospheres. I’m getting old so I usually go for places where I can chill and listen some live music. I loved the fact that there was so many live music venues. One place that is worth to mention is “Havana Social”. It is a lounge bar decorated as the typical houses of Cuba. The recreation of the place was absolutely spectacular. Its walls, decoration, atmosphere and even the music quickly bring you to the times of the Cuban revolution. The entrance is one of the most remarkable areas, a telephone booth that leads you inside of the club after introducing the right code number. Who gives you this number?, you might ask now. A guy in a food truck selling hot dogs next to the club. Yeah, I know how it sounds, but trust me, it is true. Inside, the club has 3 floors where you can enjoy delicious (and expensive) cocktails. Due to my low budget I decided to taste only one. After a short talk with the manager, a friendly Venezuelan woman, I moved somewhere else but not without first visiting the bathroom, one of my routines. I know it sounds weirds but I’m very glad I went to the bathroom because it is one of the most interesting restrooms I have ever visited. I know toilets are not glamorous and they are not one of the things you remember after you visit a place but peeing with the background sound of Che Guevara calling to fight against the power was an orgasmic experience. The walls were also full of pictures from the revolution, so in general, the restroom was one of the most attractive spots of the club. You might think I’m crazy but some of the most idiotic and implausible things I’ve experienced in my life have happened in public restrooms, that’s why thinking in bathrooms always bring me good memories. I think this may be related to the fact that my bladder is so small that I need to go to the toilet two times every time I drink a single beer. This personal condition makes me be in the public restrooms of clubs and bars most of the night. Bathrooms become the hub of my nightlife.

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