It was our first night, and it was only the beginning
28.11.2011 - 28.11.2011 30 °C
I have been trying my best to post our adventures in order, but alas, I've fallen so far behind that it's just not going to work. Sorry KL and Penang, but you'll have to wait until I can get back to you. Right now, it's time for Bangkok!
Marvin and I touched down last night at 7pm local time. After clearing customs and gathering our things, we became the true backpackers we'd prepared to be for this month. Luggage on our backs, adventure on our minds, and excitement in our hearts, we jumped on the train into the city and to our hotel. We passed through city security checks, tapped tokens, inserted others, wandered and rode until we were vomited out into the heart of Sukhumvit at Asok station.
We were greeted with high-rises, sky-scrapers, and bright building signboards. Traffic flew by at break-neck speeds on 6-lane streets where motorbikes, cars, buses, trucks and taxis deftly avoided yet moved along with each other. Seasoned veterans of the city dared to jay-walk across the sea of vehicles, somehow deciphering the traffic lights (of which there were many of in each direction) and detecting just the right sized gaps in the flow of cars in order for them to casually stroll across to the other side as though they hadn't just taken a gamble with life. We left the gambling to the residents and instead tested our patience at the crosswalk lights which turned out to be broken anyway.
Marvin leading the way, we wove our way down the sidewalks, finding ourselves avoiding not only other pedestrians, but sidewalk bars (complete with bar stools for patrons to rest upon), hawker-stalls, stray cats. Knowing we had to make a right turn sooner or later, Marvin picked sooner when we came upon an arrow shaped sign directing us to do so. The sight to greet us was almost overwhelming.
From between the stark sky-scrapers and office buildings erupted a neon cacophony of sights and sounds and smells. Blinking lights, arrows, signs and women welcomed us and invited us to join them for happy hours at places like Deja Vu, Rawhide, Lucky Star, and Insomnia. The advertisements promised live shows and girls, girls, girls, and as proof, the patios, front steps, and streets were teeming with them. Skirts were short and heels were high. The girls cooed and catcalled at Marvin as he walked a few strides ahead of me. By the time I caught up to him, the girls left him alone and instead turned their attentions on the plentiful ocean of foreign men milling about the streets, checking out what each establishment had to offer. I wasn't the only girl on vacation on the street - those of us who weren't working were easy to identify by our shorts and sundresses which seemed conservative compared to the status quo. But on that lively street, workers, watchers, and passers-by were all having a good time - the intensity of the lights, the pounding bass of the music and the assault on the senses pretty much guaranteed it.
After finding our hotel (the Tai-Pan hotel) we ditched our baggage and headed out for our favourite travel past time - food. Barreling back down the neon gauntlet of promised pleasure (which turned out to be named Soi Cowboy or Cowboy sidestreet) we made our way to a noodle stall that we'd noticed earlier. Placing our order with the owner/operator, we found ourselves a seat at one of the tables with plastic chairs that lined the sidewalk and waited for our dinner. When it arrived and we had our first taste, it was like a little bit of heaven in that bowl. Noodles, meat and broth with a little bit of greens (pictures to follow soon) and our first meal in Bangkok was simply delectable and at 60 Baht a bowl, cost us $2 CAD for the two of us.
Hand in hand, appetite sated for the meanwhile, we strolled off into the night having been warmly welcomed by Bangkok already.