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    Tropical Heat Tour: Thailand Part 1

    Wednesday, August 1, 2012
    Bangkok, Thailand

    The Air Asia jet finally showed up 30 minutes late at Ngurah Rai airport in Bali, Indonesia.

    I woke up to the tune of my iPod touch alarm blaring its loud, rude pulse at 6:00 am. After I bid farewell to Suartha and climbed into the taxi at 7:10 am, I was surprised that traffic was pretty mellow, and we made it to the Ngurah Rai airport in five minutes shy of one hour. (The trip usually takes 90 minutes to two hours.) I had four hours to kill, so I just wandered around the departure wing of the airport, which looks more like a shopping center offering all of the same food, clothing, jewelry and souvenirs that you can buy elsewhere in Bali, but at way inflated prices. They wanted $3.00 for a can of soda that costs 75 cents in the United States! The people-watching opportunity was pretty good at this place. I saw one young, tall string bean who looked to be in his late teens / early 20s doing a really long handstand with his legs spread wide apart. To add insult to oddity, he was wearing shorts. I thought about shooting a photo to post, but the whole situation just seemed kind of awkward.

    A skinny-ass covered building in Bangkok, Thailand.

    After a four-hour flight, I arrived in Bangkok, Thailand, where the lines for immigration were massive. I’ll bet it took close to an hour to slowly shuffle through that nightmare. There were no guards at the luggage terminal, so anyone could just waltz off with your baggage. Luckily, my backpack was there, so I grabbed it, changed some Indonesia rupiah into Thai baht and went outside to look for the bus to the Banglamphu area of Bangkok. After coming up short there, I asked two different information clerks, who informed me that particular bus route “is finished.” So, I opted for the express train. It only costs $3.00 and takes just 15 or 20 minutes, but the last stop is at Phaya Thai, which is two or three miles from Banglapmphu, so you either have to take a taxi from there, which gets expensive, or look for a bus. I opted for the latter by walking a half mile over to Siam Square and waiting on the dirty streets for an hour in the oven-like heat for city bus number 15. A bunch of people were stacked up along the curb, so at one point, I got tired of having my view blocked and moved my backpack and myself out in the street, where I could see the approaching buses.

    Some dope-ass graffiti in Bangkok, Thailand.

    Finally, one showed up, and I dragged my sweat-drenched self up onto it. The thing was chock-full of rush hour commuters, and it got stuck in a couple of the gnarly traffic jams that Bangkok is known for, which can leave you at a dead stop for 15 to 30 minutes or more. As soon as I sighted the Democracy Monument, which is on the outskirts of Banglamphu, I asked the driver if I could jump out there, as it was only a short walk to the zone of cheap hotels. It was pretty funny that I ended up tying the bus to that area, then I checked into a kiln hot little room way up on the fifth floor of the Nat 2 Guest House. I was so exhausted, I wanted to fall asleep right there on the spot, but I dragged myself two blocks through the alleys over to May Kaidee’s vegetarian food joint, which is responsible for cooking up some of the best-tasting food ever to hit my taste buds. The yellow curry vegetables and rice didn’t disappoint, and was just as delicious as I remembered. After all of that goodness, I called it a night and fell asleep early around 10:00 pm.

    A colorful, grit-covered corner in Bangkok, Thailand.

    Roll over photos for captions.
    Words and photos ©2012 Arcane Candy.

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