Bangkok: City of Angels?
Last night I had a very long nightmare of a gigantic tiger that kept trying to hunt me down, and there was nothing I nor anyone could do to escape it.
I figured the dream was a direct relationship to the fact that I booked a ride to the Tiger Temple for today, and I was feeling kind of queasy about going. Keeping animals in captivity for tourism sake is something don’t feel too comfortable with. I don’t know why, since I enjoy bullfights, and I rode an elephant up to the Amber temple in Jaipur. I guess it’s the fact that elephants, camels, horses are so tame that they seem doomed to be domesticated. But tigers? What could tigers have to do chained up in a temple, but for monetary gain? Even still, I had payed, so I was ready to go, whether to do a blog post about the cruelty or… I don’t know.
I was supposed to get picked up at 10 at my hotel. At 11 I went to the travel agency people here, to ask what was going on. At 11:30 someone showed up. I was shoved in a cab and then deposited in a van, that kept getting filled and filled by Thai people. Quickly enough I figured that Thai people do not go in these numbers to the Tiger Temple, and that I was the only non-Thai in the vehicle. When I asked the driver he gave me a puzzled look saying we were going to a bus station. I was angry, but at the same time, the dream of the crazy tiger came back to me. So I simply asked to be let off, came back to the agency and asked for my money back. That’s why now I finally have time to write.
After three days in Bangkok I can say I have mixed feelings about the city. The truth is, after India, it’s a great relief to be in a much more developed and clean place. But coming to Khaosan road gave me that yucky feeling usually inspired by Cancun, any cruise port, the Bahamas, Kusadasi in Turkey… of being somewhere destined, and only transversed by, tourists. Most of them trashy, Australian tourists, coming here because it’s a cheap flight to great partying.
I stayed at a decent hotel called Sleep With Inn, but Sleep You Shall Not, unless you pay for the most expensive rooms. My friend Caro reccomended the spot, but I forgot that she and I came in a very different plan. She came with a friend, I’m by myself, so clubbing until 4 in the morning is not really in my agenda. I requested a room change the first night here, because even with ear plugs (my travel essential) and two pillows jammed against my temples I could still feel my bed vibrating to the crazy techno beat. Needless to say, the next day I was beat.
Fanstastic things about Bangkok: the temples. These have proven to be absolutely beautiful, and I ended up going to Wat Pho more than once. The 43-meter-long reclined Buddha is jaw-droping, and I felt a sense of peace in spite of the heat and vast amount of tourists that I hadn’t felt in a while. The Grand Palace is great as well, but it amused me to see the Emerald Budha wearing his “winter” outfit in this sweltering heat. The King changes his outfit three times throughout the year in a ceremony, and now, my friends, it is winter! And I am quite close to dehydration.
The best thing I have done by far has been the night bike tour around the city. Takes about 3 hours but it was incredibly fun! Much easier to go around town at night when the heat is bearable, and those who know me know I’m my happiest when riding on a bicycle. We went to the flower market, to a few temples, and rode on back-end, little streets of Bangkok that I would have never bumped into by myself. I have met a few people, but none that will particularly stick. Last night I defeated my fear of sitting at a bar by myself, watching a long-haired Thai man singing incredibly American
songs. In about half an hour I had already been spoken to by a group of Spaniards and a French couple in their honey moon.
1. Stay close to Khaosan, but not too close if you are planning on sleeping.
2. You can buy delicious food for 30, 60 Bhatts tops. If you are paying more, you are certainly in a touristy place and paying for it.
3. Take the night bike tour! The agency is called Grasshopper adventures and it’s 35 dollars. Completely worth it.
4. Do not use random travel agencies. You are better off doing booking of things yourself!