Current Location: Bangkok, Thailand – Khao San Road
Current  Weather: 93° F (feels like 104°F)

Days Gone: 3
Days Remaining: 212

 Bangkok is wired with energy, it’s almost dizzying. I’m planning on bailing on the city and heading somewhere quieter within a couple days or so. I’ll be back in Bangkok in seven months to catch my return flight, so I can always come back early and spend several days downtown. Wandering the Khao San district yesterday I managed to find scissors for 10 baht (30 cents) and a power adapter for 35 baht ($1). I also found a breakfast option at a corner cafe called the Phomotion Breakfast. It included an omelette, bacon, toast, jam, hot coffee, potatoes, and fresh fruit for 110 baht. The man running the cafe happily told me it was extra special and only 100 baht today ($3). I accepted and was presented with this:

As you can see, the omelette was really just scrambled eggs in the shape of an omelette, but it was delicious anyway. I spent most of the day wandering the shops, stalls, and back alleys of the district to try and get a feel for what was available and what it cost. There is a plethora of items and services on hand, most common being clothing, jewelry, massages, and hair care (and food). A 30 minute spa style full body massage here costs $3. The clothing prices aren’t as phenomenal, most shirts/pants are priced at 200 baht ($6) which equates to sale prices back home. I am, however, already considering trading my jeans for a second pair of shorts.

I had lunch in a little alleyway that transforms into a restaurant by day, chicken and rice for 50 baht ($1.60). It looked bland but tasted amazing and fresh, while I ate several motorbikes squeezed through the alley inches from my table.

I ended up falling asleep passing out at about 6 pm local time without dinner; apparently I’m not as adjusted to the time change as I thought. After waking up refreshed at 2:30 AM, I forced myself to sleep (off and on) until 7. This morning I ventured back out into the city and found another hideaway dining option for breakfast. For those wondering how communication works with a language barrier, this is my breakfast experience:

I peak into the small, shady looking restaurant and see a Thai woman eating a bowl of some sort of soup. It looks tasty so I walk in (it’s also a good sign to see a local eating here). A man materializes before me and asks “wan?” holding up a single finger. “One,” I answer and he nods and gestures to a metal table nearby. I sit down and look around for some sort of menu or picture to point to. This isn’t necessary, however, as the man quickly prepares a bowl of the soup and sits it in front of me. No ordering is needed if the menu only has one option. It consisted of some sort of chicken broth and several types of noodles and vegetables. Three sauce options sat on the table among some other additives, so I chose the watery brown one with red and green bits in it and scooped it into my soup. It became both spicy and sour, yum!

After paying my 30 baht ($1), I wandered around a bit more and found a lady selling toasted bread with jam. She had several slices of a thick yellow bread sitting on a small charcoal grill. “How much?” I asked, pointing to the bread. “Five baht each,” she said, and when I pointed at the jam she said, “yes, yes, 5 baht.” So I gave her a 10 baht coin and figured I would get a piece of bread with jam. She slid one slice of bread back to the hot center of the grill for a few seconds, picked it and and slid a second into the heat, spread jam on the first slice, and dropped it onto the second slice to make a sandwich. She then carefully cut the final product into two pieces and slid them into a small plastic bag which she handed to me. “Korp khun clap,” (thank you) I said in broken Thai with a smile. She seemed delighted and I was happy to have a thick, crunchy jam sandwich for 30 cents.

Now I’m back at the hostel and about to check out. NapPark costs about $14 per night so I think I can find somewhere else to sleep for much cheaper. Also, I need to start thinking about where to go from here. I was originally planning to head North, but with 60 days in Thailand and a lot of nice beaches to the South, I might head down first and then backtrack. I’m trying to not get overwhelmed by the insanity of the city and the infinite options before me. I’m having to adapt to the limitless freedom as much as the time change and heat.

Last thing consumed: Jam sandwich
Thought fragment: 7-Eleven‘s are everywhere and they are the best places to break 1000 baht notes.


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May 14, 2010

Comments

Just curious. Have you registered with the local US embassy or consulate? On a lighter note; the food looks delicious. High today of 78 in Louisville. Peace Out.

I'm so amazed to think that a week ago, you were here in Louisville, and now you are across the globe having solo adventures in amazing places. I'm proud of you! Please be safe, and keep writing!

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