BootsnAll Travel Network

Good Morning Vietnam…errr I mean Thailand.

I like to judge my traveling skills in a few different ways. One of them is by how much local currency I have left when I leave a country. I think I have notated this in a couple of my better border crossings. Well, for India it was Rs 12. I actually had Rs 212, but there was a Subway in the departure lounge and you could get a Club sandwich for Rs 200 (I would later pay dearly for this). So I left India feeling pretty good.

Welcome to Bangkok, the most visited tourist town in all of Asia. Even at the airport there was stark differences compared to the last few countries that I have been. All of a sudden you are hit with a rush of modernity. Chrome, gleaming tiles, spic and span equipment, well dressed/uniformed workers, and signage which could easily guide even the most tarded folks. Everything from Immigration to bag collection to transport was so efficient, they could only have made it better if they put electronic collars on each one of us that dragged us around the system. This place was looking very good.

Usually at airports I am confronted with one of my few extreme hatreds, airport taxi’s. Surprisingly, there were only a few waiting by the exit gate and even then they were very polite and welcoming. I ended up just utilizing the Airport Express bus that transported about twenty other backpackers straight to Khao San Road, the absolute travelers Mecca. Three minutes of walking and I was dropping my bag in a small but clean and comfortable room. That was it. I have been told that the South East Asia route is considered the baby step of the backpacker trail but man this place is smooth. Usually the backpacker streets drive me nuts, but after Paharganj in Delhi for three weeks, I was just ready for someplace more relaxed. The amount of traveler traffic through the area is staggering, and it isn’t even high season yet.

The first objective on my agenda was to change some money. Of course, this being Thailand, there are Bank sponsored Kiosks throughout the tourists areas with huge electronic sign boards stating what the rates are. You get a computerized detailed receipt and that’s all there is to it. Smooth. Next was time for some shut eye. I didn’t sleep so well on the plane and I was physically a bit wore out. I headed back to the room and crashed pretty hard for a few hours.

Earlier I mentioned Subway. Well, when I woke up from my powernap, it wasn’t due to recovery, it was due to something trying to claw itself out of my stomach. Man, I hadn’t had such explosive diarrhea in a long time. I was pissing out my ass for about three hours followed by some painful cramping. About all I could do was make it to the street downstairs where I picked up a couple of bottles of water before staggering back to the room. I knew this wasn’t going to be a pleasant little tummy ache, so I went straight to the self-medication and started hitting the antibiotics. Luckily, a few hours later having cleansed my intestines of everything except the water I was flushing through, I started to feel upright again. There were only three real things that could have set this off, one was the Diwali sweets I was given which are a doughy cookie wrapped in silver (a newspaper report I read was that some scammers were actually using aluminum instead), my last meal of Ratatouie which I had eaten every night for almost a week so I rank that as doubtful, and a club sandwich with only mayonnaise as a topping at 12am at night. Whatever it was, ouch.

Now, even though I had just been through gastronomical upset, I was awe struck at the quality of food on offer in Bangkok. Were not talking restaurants here, but just plain street food. Even though just walking down the street I saw hundreds of different options of exotic accoutrements, I knew Thailand and me were going to get along fine when almost every third stall had meat on a stick. Chicken on a stick, pork on a stick, beef on a stick, fish on a stick, seafood on a stick, animal parts on a stick, insects on a stick, and all the other non-meat foods on a stick. Glorious. I do have to admit though that my first meal was an all-beef special sauce Big Mac combo Meal for 125Baht. Come on, when I saw that menu board and it didn’t have the Vegetarian Maharaja burger, I couldn’t say no. I will also add, that meal was the worst meal that I have had so far.

Now, I am sure that for a lot of people when the word Thailand or Bangkok comes up the first thing that pops into their head is prostitutes. Yea right, you were thinking beautiful beaches, Temples, culture, now come on I know a lot of people are thinking strippers shooting ping pong balls out of their wahoos and man-women looking to cure that freaky itch. Well, after eating here for the last few days, I can tell you what Thailand/Bangkok means to me, food. Instead of coming here for sex tourism, guys should be coming here for the food. Hookers are everywhere in the world, big deal. Now, after a year eating Indian food, I gotta tell you, my taste buds are popping. I guess for those guys really hot to trot over the petite little asian women, you’ve got it all wrong. Me personally, I would recommend a really big hungry woman. You know, something with a little bit of Samoan mixed in. I wouldn’t want a little bird who eats three grains of rice and complains their too fat. I would want someone who eats twelve times a day so that I could follow her around just eating. Someone who knows what all these colorful dishes actually are and where to find the best food carts. I mean, the food here is that good. And to think, I have just scratched the surface. I just might have to move up to a 32 pant size to compensate for my future endeavors.

Now its been almost a week that I have been here and I will have to admit that getting something written up has been a bit tough. I think I am in a travelers rut. My mojo is waning big time. One big bummer is that I don’t have a tv which I don’t know would make things better or worse. I have been out and about and have done all the must see things listed in the book. These include, taking the River boat ferry down and up the Chao Phrya, visiting the local markets where I have re-vamped my wardrobe, gawked at the sex tourists down at Soi Cowboy and Nana plaza (yea, it is a recommended highlight), and ridden the sky train through the city. I pretty much have also ambled by most of the major temples as well. So, even though my mojo is lax, I haven’t neglected my traveling duties. I think some of it is due in part when I read through my South-East Asia guidebook and found that it was pretty much going to the beach, visiting temples, or trekking in the jungle. Ugh, been through that a little too much. I don’t know, I just gotta get that motivation back.

Oh, I did mention I revamped my wardrobe. Well, revamping pretty much means that I tossed some old stuff, my two pairs of boxers that I have had since before I started this trek and had gotten so ratty that they were stretched out to the point they were down to my knees and the partition at the bottom had worn away to the point that really I was just wearing a skirt, also my single t-shirt and button up dress shirt which both were motor oil stained, and picked up a new t-shirt, a button up Hawaiian shirt, and a pair of shorts (my first pair of shorts since Africa as there was really no need in the Middle East and India (culture issues)). So now, I am back to standard backpacker wear, short, t-shirt, and sandals.

So what’s the plan? I am not totally sure as of yet. I could head south to the beaches, but we are coming up on high season and I am not sure if I am ready to deal with all of that. The other option is to start heading north and traveling the rivers, jungles and mountain portions then coming back down later. Thailand only issues a thirty day Visa, so whichever I choose, I need to get going. It is a good thing that I am here though as my knowledge of Asian geography was pretty much nil. When I am done here, I should at least have learned something.

So, that’s a quick update of what’s up and where I am.

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5 responses to “Good Morning Vietnam…errr I mean Thailand.”

  1. Dan says:

    That food orgy sounds great. I love Thai food. Check out this web site. It describes good food places in Bangkok, mostly very simple places, and gives their locations on google maps. Maybe it will help you find out what some of the dishes are:

  2. Shawn says:

    Steve you crack me up. The food thing is big when on the road. The Turkish food is quite good, although I just past a Burger King here in Canakkale and I cannot get it out of my head. I stopped eating fast food in 2001 back in America, although traveling a nice big burger and fries always sounds good.

    In Egypt my digestion would loosen, although I never got food sickness, I always ate yogurt and bananas the whole next day.

    I am wrapping up Turkey after two and a half months, will be heading to Israel for three months.

    I met a Russian guy who hitchhikes everywhere, I am planning on changing my style of travel for eastern europe slightly.

    Have you ever did any hitchhiking, of course it depends which country?

  3. farangatang says:

    come on, i know you would have had a whore on your first night, your a guy.

  4. snw2srf2stt says:

    Actually my first taste of Thailand was a #1 non-supersized at McDonalds. My budget doesn’t allow for whoring. Would have to give up something like eating or petrol.


  5. Ok I’m confussed…. so how is it that you fund all your exciting travels? I’m getting jealous here with all the fun your having. I’m so following you experiences, plus you write it so well!

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