After traveling all day from Phuket, we arrived in Bangkok around sunset, checked into our hostel and went for a walk. The humidity filled our lungs and lay on our skin like a fine mist. Vendors had closed up for the night, yet energy from the day could still be felt. A large rat hurried across the alley way, cheeks full of treasures, and a middle aged man lay sleeping in the doorway of an abandoned building. Many homes like these, lined the streets – kitchens spilling out onto the sidewalks for lack of room inside.
Morning came quickly, and with it, an eagerness to explore and feel the pulse of the city. Just outside our hostel, a lady sat resting, taking a break from her heavy load.
The streets smelled of curry, fresh noodles and frying bananas.
We passed through the Chatuchak market, where the creatures and I drank freshly squeezed fruit juice…Emma tried corn (because corn is considered a fruit here), I had watermelon, Aidan had guava and Mycah had orange. All jolly delicious and oh so fresh!
Market stalls were filled with everything one can imagine…as usual, the creatures and I were instantly drawn to the books. Though we didn’t buy any, we had a blast and a half sorting through stacks where fingers had once paged, their readers completely intoxicated with interest…or boredom, each one having it’s own personal story to tell in addition to the words in its pages.
Some stores overflowed with bright collections of brass,
and others of things that many here see as treasures and good luck charms for homes and businesses.
It’s always interesting to discover what people in different countries much on as snacks. In Bangkok, some popular items are peanuts, corn and sweet potatoes, washed down with the delicious traditional Thai tea.
Also shark fin soup and bird nest soup, both of which we will never taste.
Of course there’s always stinky Durian, the fruit that ‘tastes like heaven but smells like hell.”
Our personal favorites are fried bananas,
and fresh fruits.
Pomegranates are plentiful and the juice is so delicious.
As evening approached, vendors with more ‘dinner like’ menus began setting up, which brought on an entirely new buffet of goodies. Dried Squid anyone?
Small cooking areas line the streets and alley ways, and smell of vegetable soup, dim sum and grilled fish and meat, mix with the already thick aromas of fresh cut pineapple, lime and lemongrass.
On our second day we ventured into Chinatown, which was a fascinating congested craziness of cars, tuktuks and people – all of which have no personal bubble. The closer the better. While walking around we walked passed our truck, noticed we had a lock on the tire for parking in the wrong spot – even though we saw no signs, and ignored it all and continued exploring. We figured we had a convenient spot and what was done was done and we would deal with it later.
I suggested that we find some bolt cutters or a little saw and remove it ourselves but the creatures wouldn’t hear of it for some reason. After lunch, further exploring, a pleasant tuktuk ride to the police station and 700 baht ($25) later, we were free once again.
Streets and sidewalks overflow with people involved in all sorts of busy city like activity, like collecting ice outside restaurants,
shopping for ingredients for the days meals,
preparing fish to sell on the street,
and later, selling things on hooks with potent smells which were neither pleasant nor unpleasant – just a warm dinner kind of smell.
Bangkok is a wonderful city with a smorgasbord of things to see, smell and taste. People are happy and happy to see you. They love to try their English and wait eagerly for positive response.
What an adventure!