I had a great time in Bangkok. It’s a city full of beauty, richness, fascinating relics and also poverty. The chaotic beauty will probably leave you fascinated and frustrated at the same time. Most of the photos here have been posted on my Instagram.
I flew China Airlines for the first time. The plane was late in arriving so we left about 40 mins behind schedule. It was a full flight. I had an aisle seat. The guy in the middle seat spread his arms to claim the arm rest. I mean we’re talking skin to skin contact if I went near the armrest. The person in front of me reclined his seat for the entire flight. The person across the aisle was coughing and sneezing.
My friend Chris picked me up from the airport. He’s an ex Xangan who also blogs here under Christao408. It was our first time meeting each other. He was worried I had walked past him at the airport. I joked that I was well camouflaged with all the other Asians. We grabbed a cab back to my hotel. I met his husband Tawn there and we went to their friend’s house for dinner. The food was great, the house was gorgeous, the people were down to earth and I learned who Tom of Finland was.
Chris took me around Bangkok the next day.
1. Hua Lam Phong train station where we started our journey on a local train.
2. Middle pic: workman rinsing the soap off the train. 2 other workers walked ahead of him scrubbing the train.
3. Bottom pic: we had just gotten off the train. The conductor in the back is waving the green flag. The man in front of me is wearing black as the King of Thailand passed away about a week ago.
Every Thai I saw was wearing either black or white or some combination of the two as a sign of mourning. I saw a lot of places set up for anyone to sign a book of condolences and to pay their respects.
I saw these canal boats when I visited Thailand years ago but never been on one. Chris just hopped into it like a seasoned pro. I got on without falling into the river but with a lot less grace. I was wearing cargo shorts and boxers underneath. I’m sure for a brief moment while my foot was raised and then caught on the side, people could see something they shouldn’t be seeing.
We transferred to another boat and got seats at the front.
Once we boarded a staffer came around the outside of the boat collecting fares. Chris also pointed out that most wear helmets because some bridges don’t have a lot of clearance during when the river is high. It was interesting to see how many Thais depend on this mode of transportation.
We took a short ride on the tuk tuk
After a short ride, we passed a couple of old fortifications. Fort Phra Sumen was built in 1783 along with the city walls, the rings of canals and the Chao Phraya river.
Chicken with basmati rice and a sweet mint sauce. I asked Chris to order another one.
After lunch we went on the river ferry on the Chao Phraya river. It was a good way to see Bangkok and one I would be hesitant to do on my own. In the video, you might be able to hear whistling as the boat pulls in. These are signals from the boat handlers to the driver.
That night Chris and Tawn treated me to dinner at a restaurant that specializesin southern Thai food. Every dish they ordered was new to me. This fried fish with turmeric & fried garlic is Pla Tod Kamin. It was very good and the fried garlic didn’t overwhelm the fish.
I probably will do another entry of the food I enjoyed there. The next evening I met up with Chris at a MRT. As we were walking out of the station, he casually mentioned that we would be taking a motor cycle taxi. I didn’t hear anything else he said after that. I was hesitant because I don’t even ride a bike. As I hopped on the bike I had a death grip on something and held on to the driver’s shoulder with my other hand (he giggled when I did that). As we drove along I looked to see how Chris held on to the bike. He had one hand on the back handle and he was checking his smartphone with the other hand. We arrived safe and sound at the restaurant called Appia that specializes in Roman food. Chris and Tawn knew the owner (Jarrett), a transplanted American who also owns another successful restaurant in Bangkok. Here’s one of the dishes we had – a very flavourable and tender porchetta.
I thank Chris and Tawn for their generosity and hospitality. They are 2 classy guys who made me feel so welcomed. It was great to meet Chris after so many years of blogging.
Note: I’m behind in my blogging. I’m finishing this on my last night in Singapore. I also have a stomach flu and am taking antibiotics plus other meds. I’m a bit apprehensive about my long flight home tomorrow. But I’m looking forward to going home.