Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Two nights in Bangkok

So, after some relaxing days in Phuket, it was time for a change of pace, arriving in Bangkok late in the evening. Fortunately, this time the taxis were well-regulated at the airport, and before long I was on a meter taxi on the way into town.

After checking into my hostel, I wandered down to the local bar where I knew there would be a local rockabilly band, and possibly some dancers. However, to my surprise, I ran into a friend from my university days, who happened to be living in Bangkok. The world gets smaller, indeed.

A few other dancers arrived, and eventually a couple of us wandered down to the Patpong area of Silom - more out of an idle curiosity than anything else. And there it was, in all of its neon glory with, strangely enough, a touristy market right in the middle of it. Apparently this was introduced in recent years to make the area more family friendly, but unfortunately it's just made it more weird and creepy. I definitely felt conflicted and uncomfortable - even though I didn't pay to see any shows or anything - like just being in the area was contributing to the Thai sex industry.

The next day was one of idle wandering. I was definitely starting to feel a little culture shock and homesickness by this time, being ten days into my month away, and I was decidedly grumpy. Still, I made the most of some of the local street food, and visited Siam Square, which turned out to be a giant construction site. However, wandering into the food hall at the Siam Paragon department store, I was overjoyed to find a CoCo Ichibanya restaurant, and got my curry rice fix (although I was disappointed that they had no katsu sauce - nor did they know what katsu sauce was!).

Finally, that evening, I headed in to The Hop for some swing dancing. And it was a huge night, with a great local crowd plus quite a few international visitors passing through after SEA Jam and before VLX. I would have loved to have stayed on into the early hours, but I had a 7am flight to Hanoi to look forward to...