Friday, March 19, 2010

The Land of Smiles

Yes, I made it. I never saw the sunset on March 16th, we just crossed some imaginary line and viola it was March 17th. I didn't have much luck finding an Irishman on the Minneapolis - Tokyo flight, but I did manage to sweet-talk the stewardess into giving me a free serving of scotch to celebrate good ole' St. Patrick. Yes, I know, scotch is from Scotland, but they didn't have Guinness, Jameson or Bailey's so I opted for the friendly Gaelic neighbor's drink of choice. I arrived in Bangkok close to midnight, walked through customs and immigration just fine, and caught a cab to Nonthaburi to stay with an incredibly gracious ex-pat friend of the family.

Rather than discuss in length my entire experience thus far (which I am sure would be boring to all of you other than my parents), I'll make the following observations:
  • The tourist hotspots all have signs that say, "Beware wily persons." I keep thinking I'm going to see run into Wil E. Coyote or some other devious cartoon character.
  • There are shrines and temples every few feet. These people love their gods and Buddha, especially if he's made out of gold. Although, I'd hate to be the guy who cleans up all the sacrificed flowers, incense, money, animal figurines and food. It'd be like being the person who actually opens Santa's mail at North Pole, Alaska. We all know Santa doesn't get the mail, but no one wants to be guy who does. My question is, who gets all the leftover wooden elephants?
  • It's hot and I don't see anyone sweating near as much as I am (except, of course, other farang walking around). I don't know if Thais just have internal a/c but I feel like I'm constantly at the end of an 80 minute rugby match in 90 degree weather (craving for pizza and beer present only sometimes).
  • For those of you who read international news, the Red Shirts are still tromping around town calling for the fall of government. Turns out, though, that Thais are pretty nonviolent people. So their call for the overthrow of government looked more like a St. Patty's Day Parade (substitute red for green) or Mardi Gras.
I've enjoyed the last few days walking around Bangkok, but have decided it's time to move on. I'm catching an overnight train south to Surat Thani, where I'm hoping on catching a minibus or some form of transport to Khao Sok National Park. I anticipate spending a couple of days there before moving on to the beach.

Case in point about the shrines.

Chinatown in Bangkok, where you can literally buy anything you could ever imagine.

Me and the reclining Buddha.

The Grand Palace.

Throw me some beads, mister!

Bangkok Cultural Arts Center had these murals outside calling for peace.

More photos can be found on my Picassa page:

1 comment:

  1. Can't wait to hear about the national park! I love your pictures.