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Asia Adventure

Week One -- Bangkok

THAILAND | Sunday, 16 September 2012 | Views [486]

The first week in Thailand is a blur.  Jet lag dogged me for that period. Though I was able to function quite well, I couldn’t get into my familiar 7-8 hour sleeping pattern. Spent the first few days mastering my neighborhood. My hotel was down a one-way (sometimes) alley and difficult to find (just ask my cab driver from the airport). I was fortunate to find my own stationary GPS to orient me in my walkabouts. Nearby was a skyscraper and high atop was the neon-bright letters spelling Toshiba. Whenever I was turned around, I would look for my Toshiba anchor and I could find my way.  Initially, I thought that a secondary guidepost was my neighborhood 7-11. It was on a nearby corner to my alley, so I felt pretty confident that first day I would find my alley easily. Trouble is, there are zillions of 7-11s throughout the city and country and they look pretty much the same.  But who would have thought 7-11s would be so ubiquitious in this country? In fact, someone told me the chain is owned by the richest man in Thailand. Now, having figured out my 7-11 from others, I was son expanding my circle of nearby geographic knowledge and finding good places to eat. The outside stalls are a cheap and tasty place to grab a meal. Thai food – whether noodles or rice dishes -- are filling and delicious. I also ventured on the city’s train lines – some above ground, some below. Not being able to read Thai makes it a challenge, but the trains ran efficiently and I was able to cover wider areas. I was surprised that so few Thais spoke English – or didn’t speak it very well.  Then again, I couldn’t speak of word of Thai initially (and I’m not much better now).  One takeaway from my Bangkok stay (and reinforced elsewhere) is capitalism is alive and well in this part of the world, as so many markets and stalls will attest. And did I mention the super malls? I wandered into a couple of big malls and was overwhelmed by their size and busyness. Perhaps this and the incredibly dense Bangkok traffic had me ready to escape the big city and head for Chiang Mai via overnight train.

 

Tags: city life

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