Friday, 7 July 2017

Bangkok Day 2: Eat, Work, Eat, Sleep, Eat, Work, Eat, Sleep

2 am?  Is that too early to get up? 
Oh, why not?! I went to sleep at 7 pm, so I slept 7 hours ! 
Having a room with a smoking balcony and a 24 hour kitchen stocked with coffee & croissants just down one flight of stairs makes rising at this hour VERY easy.

Maybe I got used to the frog concert.  But I suspect that yesterday evening's deluge or my pet Monitor Lizard reduced the number of those noise-makers ...

6 am.

What's wrong with a 6 am trip to 7-Eleven to buy wine?????
A bus usually parked close to my hotel.  Note the Engine Lighting ;-)
 WELL, a lot apparently: the law of time-zones finally caught up with me.  The usual saying "It's already noon or 5 pm SOMEWHERE does NOT work here. 
My place is one of the ones on the right
  I'm SO CLOSE to the international date line that where-ever it is noon or 5 pm it is noon or 5pm YESTERDAY.
 And consequently, the wine-fridge at 7-Eleven is LOCKED, not to be unlocked until 11 am. Liquor-selling hours are ONLY 11 am - 2pm and 5 pm - ? pm.  Now if that's not a reason to buy TWO bottles today so I won't run into that obstacle ever again, LOL.
Dropping bread-crumbs into the canal. And the water starts BUBBLING with GIANT fish !
 On the way back to the hotel, I notice with intense satisfaction that monks are out with their eating bowl to receive their food from the population not living in monasteries. 
 Same as in Luang Prabang, but there are NO tall white men with Giant Camera Lenses stalking them here.  Peace.


I've called Grandma. She's in a much better mood today.  While I talk to her I walk onto my balcony and with a feeling bordering on FEAR notice that I not only have ONE pet Monitor Lizard living on the other canal side but at least THREE, one of them a GIANT UGLY OLD BEAST !
Note the TONGUE !


Yet another mini breakfast.  There is a young German couple at the breakfast table and they give me a frighteningly good idea.  The woman is putting sliced bananas on her toast. Next to her table sits the Nutella jar but she's not using it.    
I'm thinking: Nutella and nuked banana in a croissant.  That should be divine. But I'm too full to try it now ;-(


A quick walk around to find a bank machine (they are EVERYWHERE, LOL) and another trip to 7-Eleven mainly to break down the 1000-Baht notes.


I've extended my stay until next Monday.  Always talk to the hotel staff too instead of only checking the booking sites because hotels pretty much ALWAYS have rooms available that do not show on, Expedia, etc.

Time to recap:  For 6 (SIX) nights in this dead-quiet, spotlessly clean and centrally located guest house with free 24 hour croissants & breakfast and whatever, I've paid CAD$ 228.   That amount does NOT even get me TWO nights in my dingy, rotten, noisy motel in North Vancouver.  Why should I go back?



I bought TWO bottles of wine at 7-Eleven (558 Baht =  CAD$ 22) and I'm heading to a restaurant on the other side of the canal (NOT RIGHT across because that's LIZARD COUNTRY).  I yearn for sitting at the computer, drinking wine, AND smoking at the same time.  

 When sitting in the restaurant I learn where the Monitor Lizards live, when I see one crawling into his home.  His home is a sewage or rain overflow pipe in the concrete wall below the houses (in this case, the houses on MY side of the canal, LOL) 

 But I already notice that this trip is going to be MUCH more relaxing than any of my previous trips, when I tended to stay a maximum of 3 days in a given place just to be able to explore the vast choice of completely unknown places on offer.
 My green curry with prawns arrives and is underwhelming.  NO wonder, I'm sitting in a TOURIST restaurant, LOL.  It gets served with FORK and SPOON, is horribly BLAND, and has precooked prawns in it.  Nothing I can do about the pre-cooked prawns but the addition of ground white pepper and chili powder quickly ignite the fire on my taste buds. I actually have to go inside the restaurant to get chop-sticks.  In Bangkok of all places !

Ah well, I still have another 4 nights in Bangkok and am bound to find a FABULOUS place to eat ;-)

My mind is reeling about where to go next Tuesday.  Phnom Penh? I do MISS that fabulous city and that balcony at Harmony River Hotel.  Kuala Lumpur?  It's always good to go somewhere NEW, LOL.  I've distanced myself from the idea of Singapore.  People apparently don't smile much there and hotels are expensive. A direct flight to both Phnom Penh or Kuala Lumpur runs at less than CAD$ 100 and so is the direct flight from both these places to Saigon.  

Decisions, decisions.  


I'm back at the hotel. On the way back I walked by a woman selling swim trunks.  Since I'm going to stay 5 nights in a beach hut and couldn't find my Ha Noi swim trunks back in Vancouver, I should really buy some.  With the help of an even older woman with barely any teeth left, I pick out two.  One that fit me now and the nicer one that will fit if I lose 5 pounds in the next two weeks.  I motion to the younger woman to write down the price but she can't find a pen.  So I just fan my money and she takes 200 Baht.  Two pairs of swim trunks for CAD$ 7.60.  

1 pm

I just saw the most hilarious thing.  I'm watching a giant Monitor Lizard (it's LONGER than 2 meters) swim along the canal towards an approaching canal tourist boat.  There is an Asian woman sitting in the open area in the front of the bow and she has spotted the lizard and is using her cell phone to take pictures of it.  When she inspects her pictures, she inspects the water around the boat and with an uncertain facial expression proceeds to go back to the main part of the boat. LOL.  I remember MY first reaction after seeing one of those things.

3 pm 

OMG, what is it about this town and the number of naps I can have?  Time to get some coffee and try the nuked banana with Nutella on croissant idea. Result?  A great idea that will ensure my adequate potassium intake while I'm staying in this guest house ;-)

4 pm

I just checked the hourly weather forecast.  35 Celsius that feel like 45 Celsius.  

5 pm
Enough hanging out in my air-conditioned room.  It’s a beautiful day out there and I’ve worked enough indoors for a while.  My morning walk passed through that gorgeous even though extremely touristy street near Khaosan Road and I remember the advertisement “Fresh seafood every day; Best in town”. Yes, I know I’m going to pay tourist prices again and probably will be disappointed again, but it just looked like a nice place to eat. 

This being a tourist streets local vendors along the restaurants and bars to offer the guests anything from wooden carved elephants over sunglasses to those colourful ribbons for your wrist. 
  But the real reason that I wave the woman with the wrist bands over is that she is wearing a copy of my Laotian hat.  The wrist band I bought in Phnom Penh in January for 1 US$ has seen better days, so it’s probably time to get another one. And I find one in a gorgeous colour.  A light blue with a purple edge.  
And yes, I should have asked before she ties the thing to my wrist because after it’s secured the price is 50 Baht, LOL.  Ah well, I look at it as low-level economic development aid.  THIS is neither the time nor the place to be cheap!
A few minutes later another vendor comes through offering me what looks like a flashlight. But when he pushes a button, it emits flashes of a completely different kind.   Sparks fly and I hear the loud electrical crackling between the electrodes hidden on the front.  A taser!  Good thing I only have cabin luggage so I can’t even be tempted to find out what Canada Customs would think of this.

As expected, the food here is VERY underwhelming and EXPENSIVE. But the place is GREAT for people watching.

All of a sudden the atmosphere in this street seems different.  When I look at the sky behind some buildings, I see DARK gray.   Oh, OH, the flood gates might open again SOON. I ask for the bill and gulp down my second glass of wine.

It got dark so quickly !

I’m only 6 minutes from my hotel but I’m running the last 30 meters because after feeling the first sprinkles about 150 meter from the hotel it is raining HARD on the last few meters.   This is happening SO FAST !

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