*Some eating is featured (couldn’t be helped).
Saturday 14th November – Saturday 21st November
We’ve spent the last week in Bangkok with my parents and extended Thai family.
In one paragraph, what is Bangkok like? It’s big. It’s hot. Most Thai people don’t seem to notice the heat… I feel like I saw a lot of them in jumpers and jeans, eating hot soup, while I was in shorts and a T-shirt, trying not to move. You see drivers doing things that wouldn’t be allowed in the UK – especially people on scooters – like cutting over pavements or driving the wrong way. The idea of “right of way” on the road is pretty open for interpretation! There’s a lot of enormous air conditioned shopping malls (I’m told that people here shop because there’s not a lot else to do). There’s street vendors everywhere selling meat on sticks and diced tropical fruit and noodles and curries in plastic bags. The streets are hot and dirty, and the pavements are a haphazard mess of cracked paving stones, ramps, tarmac and puddles. In contrast, the underground train (MRT) is air conditioned and spotless. There are temples (Wats) to be found everywhere, with bright geometric designs favouring gold, white, red and green.
Here’s some pictures…
A view of a Bangkok road while we waited for the sky train.
Near Chinatown is Wat Triamit.
There’s a good story about this Buddha. For a long time nobody knew it was made of gold, as it had been encased in plaster to keep it safe from the invading Burmese. One day, as it was being lifted into the temple, the crane holding the Buddha dropped it, the plaster casing cracked open and – kerching! Gold Buddha. So if you’ve got anything old lying about why not hurl it onto some cobblestones to reveal your very own solid gold keepsake?
On Tuesday our friend Gift took us to see the Art in Paradise gallery. A group of Korean artists made lots of 3D-effect images, which the visitor is encouraged to get involved with. It was the slight excuse me and Eric needed to act like complete tits.
The unmissable and incredibly photogenic Wat Phrakaew.
A boat tour along the Chao Phraya river. I kept my mouth very firmly closed as water from the river splashed me!
As the week went on it basically descended into an eat-fest. Mum’s many Thai friends kept taking us out, or mum would take us out, or mum would take my Khun Yai (grandma) out and we were invited…
We also ate some durian. This fruit is notoriously bad smelling, and you are not allowed to take it on the underground in Thailand because of this. Yet its creamy, sweet delicious taste and unusual texture actually prompts Japanese and Korean people to visit Thailand on “durian eating holidays”.
Eric didn’t really like it.
Thai food is better than English food. This is a scientific fact. But… I’m not too sure about some of the desserts. Here is a traditional Thai dessert.
In case you were wondering, this is mixed beans in a sweet syrup. Served warm.
Amongst all these activities was a lot of meeting my parents’ Thai friends, who, along with our family, gave us lots of advice and offers of support for our upcoming trip. We have been given a phone and SIM card, maps, recommendations and contacts. I’m actually feeling quite prepared thanks to everybody’s help.