I'm loving Thailand.
Bangkok was a blast, I have to admit. It's a city filled with contrasts. Our walk around the city revealed some of the beauty and a lot of the poverty. It's perfectly safe to walk around and I didn't feel threatened at any point of my stay. Thais are not very friendly, they are extremely helpful though. If one is walking around the streets and is approached by a friendly Thai, then there's a pretty good reason for this. They are probably touts or they want something from you. They do not beg but they are very respectful of others - whether it is of foreigners or their own people.
Walking around the streets provides an insight into the Thai people's lives and culture. There are little street restaurants on every single road and there's hardly a street without some kind of buzz going on.
Street vendors set up their little gas burners, plastic chairs and tables and begin cooking their food from early in the morning - day after day. There's a huge selection available, from seafood to stir fried rice. one can "dine in" or get take away! It's remarkable how many people sit at these little restaurants and eat a meal - from as early as 6:00 am.
There are street markets set up in various places dotted around the city. "Fresh" food is displayed on tables. Nothing is covered, whether it's fresh fish and chicken or open pots of soup and stews.
Meal portions are shoved into plastic bags and tied to prevent the contents from spilling out. Soups are presented in the same way.
There are stray dogs all over the side walks. Some belong to the street vendors, others run from vendor to vendor begging for food. All are deathly thin and mangy looking. They defecate on the sidewalk and no one cleans it up.
There's a terrible smell in the air, one would expect it to be of rotting food, but it smells more like sewerage - even though there's not any evidence of any. It's incredibly hot and monsoonal and when the rain falls in the late afternoon, it's torrential. The humidity is stifling.
Modern buildings are among graffiti laden slums. There's no such thing as a modern street, but there are new building between those that appear to be falling down. The countryside is very tropical and lush green. Banana plants are everywhere and coconuts are piled up in huge mounds - its difficult knowing whether they are piled up for consumption or discard.
The infrastructure is amazing. Concrete freeways and fly overs are everywhere and although the traffic is heavy between 8:00 am to 9:00 am and from 6:00 pm to 9:30 pm it flow, albeit rather slowly. Drivers are polite and there's no evidence of the "Western" road rage. Most drivers decorate the inside of their vehicles with hanging ornaments and toys. It's a sight to behold!
Getting from the airport into the city will take between 40 to 50 minutes. We were transported by a private limo and when we climbed into the vehicle we were given an ice cold face cloth to wash our hands and faces with and a bottle of iced mineral water. It's a welcome and most required due to the excessive heat.
We are now on our way to Krabi ... Pop back onto my blog soon to find out more about my trip in Thailand.
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