Made it to Bangkok around 0500. Slept good through the flight with the usual routine. We were really pleased we avoided checking any bags for that flight because Thai AirAsia has a 7 kg limit on carryon luggage. Martha and I put the breakable electronics and stuff into our day bags and then our MEI bags were still like 8 kg. We were able to pass off the day packs though as a “personal item” and they let the MEI bags slide with being a little overweight. Other than that bit of generosity, I gotta say Thai AirAsia is a pretty lousy airline. No drinks, uncomfortable seats, and moody staff. I guess none of that matters too much though if you’re heavily drugged on sleeping pills. That really makes the flight go by quickly!
Arriving to Bangkok was such a relief. It’s a beautiful, bustling, and clean city. Maybe our frame of reference has changed a little after our time in India, but the place really does seem nice. Housing complexes seem organized with sound construction methods. Areas that are “under construction” don’t have construction debris strewn all over the street or surrounding blocks. The streets themselves are paved… and they have sidewalks. There are traffic lights at busy intersections…. and people seem to generally obey them. Crossing the street doesn’t seem like putting your life in imminent danger. A lot of the same cute approaches to product promotion in Japan are seen here in billboards and such. The place is distinctly Thai though of course. I really love the architecture here. Palm trees, fruit stands everywhere, lush greenery, it makes sense why this is a prime tourist destination. Oh, and maybe the most glaring change for us at this moment…. touts. We just really haven’t encountered any touts worth mentioning. There are some really devious, conniving, lying little bastards aiming to screw you quite regularly in India. Here, we encountered maybe a couple somewhat pushy taxi and tuk-tuk drivers, but that’s about it. When you tell someone “no” here, they seem to listen, rather than follow you down the block and harass you until you get loud with them. It’s a pretty big relief honestly. Oh, and one more thing…. Hot Showers. We haven’t had a real hot (as in not tepid or cold) shower since Jaipur. And we both agree, we haven’t really felt “clean” since Moscow. Well, Thailand appreciates hot showers. We have a private room in a floating hotel on the River Kwai, and our bathroom has it’s own on demand hot water heater. It’s pretty badass considering where we’ve been recently.
As for today, we caught a two hour bus ride out of Bangkok to Kanchanaburi. Why? Well, we have plans for tomorrow. Plans that might be obvious if you look up “Kanchanaburi” under Google images. The place we’re going to is about an hour drive away, and we rented a motor scooter to get there. Today though, we cruised around town a bit, checked out the bridge on the River Kwai, and picked up some of our favorite Thai selections from a delicious local restaurant.
And the motor scooter…. a few points on this. It is an exhilarating and (mildly) terrifying experience riding around on that thing for a few reasons:
- I have never personally driven any powered two-wheeled vehicle
- I have never driven on the left side of the road (I’m barely used to crossing the street with this setup)
- I don’t speak/read Thai, and every sign is in Thai
- I wouldn’t describe the drivers here as “maniacs” like in India, but let’s say that they’re a little feistier than in the U.S.
We’re in a relatively calm, rural town right now though, so a scooter is really the best way to get around. Here’s a few pics from today, hopefully I can do a nice update after tomorrow. Oh yeah, and hopefully the Thai elections tomorrow don’t spark any chaos or unrest here. The signs are everywhere and campaign vehicles with loudspeakers have been circling even in this small town.