January 31st 2017
Bangkok is hot but not horrible. There was a breeze during the day. It helps to walk slowly and precisely like the Thais. Inside is always over air conditioned, especially the metro, so I bought a day pass for $3 and spent the morning riding around. Its elevated above the city (a bit like Blade Runner). If you could put your feet up it would be a perfect way to sight see.
My first only in Thailand moment was in the taxi on the way from the airport. It took an hour and the meter said 400 baht (about 12 dollars). The taxi driver refunded me $2 and told me “too much traffic jam”.
My second was not discovering that the whole of Bangkok is a gigantic mall of Asia (the Metro links all the different offshoots like a fungus). That didn’t surprise me. What did is that all the US stores that went out of business years ago have evidently come here to roost (Swensen’s – remember them?) but they’re inexplicably mobbed. It seems Thais can give the Chinese a run for their money when it comes to shopping. The combination of internationally competitive shopping and Chinese New Year means it’s pretty intense out there. Even Cinnabon had a line around the block.
I thought I would jump in with both feet and stay in a hostel. Turns out to be really great, apart from the Stalinist decor. Most other guests are several demographics below mine and very friendly. Many American millenials who have quit their jobs and fled the country. Spent an extremely satisfying breakfast engaging in a group moan about Trump. Unfortunately, the representatives of my demographic seem to be Canadian mansplainers. No-one mansplains like a Canadian.
So today is the wake up at 3am part of jet lag. Hopefully it will be over tomorrow, in time to move on to Burma. The nice young man behind the desk, who is Burmese tells me it’s not Myanmar after all.