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    Tropical Heat Tour: Thailand Part 10

    Friday, August 10, 2012
    Bangkok, Thailand

    A typical crazy colorful bus in Banglamphu, Bangkok, Thailand.

    A bunch of bags near the Sathorn Skytrain stop in Bangkok, Thailand.

    I started off the afternoon with a ride on the river taxi. This time, I actually scored a seat for part of the trip, so I got to shoot some video of various scenic views of boats and buildings on the side of the Chao Phraya river. When I disembarked at Sathorn, I almost schlepped upstairs to the SkyTrain, but, at the last second, I decided to walk the streets instead. Not far away, I came across a small group of aerobics ladies going nuts during their workout in a random vacant lot filled with a million bags of…something. I wonder what was in those things? Golf balls? Dead grasshoppers? Gold coins? More bags? The world will never know for sure.

    The top of a wall at Sri Mahamariamman temple in Bangkok, Thailand.

    After punching my way through the thick, sticky, hot air down Thanon Silom, I happened upon Sri Mahamariamann, an Indian Hindu temple. As I chowed down on a salad at a cafe across the street, the incessant clanging of a loud bell summoned me inside the temple. There, I witnessed a ceremony in which some men in robes made offerings of flowers and holy water at various shrines for Hindu deities inside. Unfortunately, photography is prohibited, so I was only able to surreptitiously capture a short field recording of some really tweaked singing. When that ended, I sat for a while longer and made another recording of the amazing, clattering ambiance of the place. During my last visit two years ago, they blared a recording of a woman singing one phrase over and over accompanied by a sitar. In a way, I wasn’t surprised that they were still playing it two years later, as it’s really quite mesmerizing.

    Bright, colorful signs galore in the Patpong district of Bangkok, Thailand.

    Next, I squeezed my way through various night markets in the Patpong district and shot a few photos of all of the colorful signs beckoning visitors to all manner of shops, restaurants, bars and clubs. There were all kinds of hustlers around hawking DVDs, massages, strip clubs, etc. It’s odd that this kind of stuff is mixed right in with the normal market, where tourist families walk around. When I finally got tired of walking, and even tired of resting, I hopped on a bus number 15 around midnight. I knew it was going in the opposite direction than I normally take, but I was hoping it would circle around back to Banglamphu. Boy, was I ever wrong. I stood inside the stairwell of that utterly sardine-packed hotbox for quite a few miles. The driver kept motioning for me to stand up in the aisle, and I did, but I had to keep stepping back down to be able to see out the front.

    Purple drugs all in my eyes. Patpong, Bangkok, Thailand.

    Long story short, eventually the bus stopped, the driver turned off all the lights and everyone got off. It was the last bus of the day. I knew that was going to happen! I tried to stay on, but the driver told me to beat it. Then a really sweet, smiley Thai girl stopped to help me. After I told her I wanted to take a bus back to Banglamphu, she told me that there were no more buses, and that a taxi would drive me back there for about $3.50. This late at night, I had no choice, so I jumped in the cab. I estimate it was at least a five to eight mile drive, so it was a pretty good deal, even though it was way more expensive than a bus, which would have cost a quarter. I ended the night with a little grub at an Indian restaurant, where the dang crooks brought me some bread that I didn’t order and charged me for it. It was all good, though.

    Dinner at an Indian food joint in Banglamphu, Bangkok, Thailand.

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

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