Saturday, January 9, 2010

One Day in Bangkok

So I woke up, and then I went back to sleep, and then I woke up, and then I went back to sleep, and then I woke up and I was really hungry, and it was noon.

I showered, and I dressed, and I headed down to face the world, urged on by extreme hunger pangs. And I walked out into the sun, and oh my lord was there sun. I don't know how it happened, but it was like walking the Zimbabwe side of Vic Falls. One moment I was fully dry, and the next I was soaking wet.

Well, it wasn't that bad, but it was pretty fast. My shirt became gross and sticky. I wasn't wearing a pack, wasn't walking hard, wasn't anything. I'm going to blame it on the humidity. But why is it so humid here? Someone explain to me how this weather works. Hey look at that, we're on the South China Sea. That explains that. I don't know where I thought Thailand was? I thought it was landlocked as so many countries boarder it. But nope, lots of beaches. Which I should have known. And I knew about the islands too – so... please forgive me.

So it was humid, and gross, and off I went to discover the palace. Which I couldn't access as I was wearing shorts. Curse you shorts! I wear you for three days, and look at the trouble you cause for me!

There is a panda on TV right now. It's on the Panda Channel. I think a panda is always on TV. Imagine the Christmas tree channel,a nd replace it with two pandas rolling around with each other. Yes, that is the Panda Channel. It's it's LIVE folks, LIVE. All day – every day – more panda for you!

Panda, Channel 18, educate yourselves:

Sorry. Back to how humid it was. So humid! And then I went out walking for that touristy road that my Bangkok experience started out as. I somehow missed it. I don't know how. I should have just followed everyone else who looked like me, and I'm sure I would have made it, but I didn't. I was too busy checking out the local culture. I have no idea what was going on. It was more incompressible than the stall dealers in Harlem selling vials of I don't know what, and jars of who can say.

It looked like people were selling lottery tickets. Tickets with numbers on them, at any rate. But why would the lottery sell tickets from random people off of tables located all around town? So I don't know what those were.

And then I started following an elderly, bald headed, monk wrapped in robes of orange. He became more hypnotic than even Panda channel. For some time he fought, button press after button press, with his cell phone trying to text, well I don't know whom.

And then I got lost. And then I got found – the palace is a pretty good landmark. But, sadly, I could not go in – due to my shorts, as I have already mentioned. Yup, So I went down to Wat Pho instead. And bought a picked for 50B. No one else was buying tickets, but I figured it would pay off, or I'd be supporting something. Still – no one else bought tickets.

You wander through the temple, and it's there that you realize that Bangkok is more than a poor man's Tokyo. Who would ever say such a thing? Rather than green white and red you are smacked in the face with every colour of the reflective rainbow. You find yourself lost amongst sparkling dragons, and Buddhas, and – I swear that's Shiva – and it's just too much. The temple is huge, and beautiful, and like nothing I'd ever seen before (will again –maybe I'm crazy, but it's crazy and it's true. I know you can save me, no one else can save me now but you!)

You know what I want to do (here's an aside that will seem off the wall, except for those in command of my inner thoughts, for whom there's a great connection.) I want to go to Florida read all four of the original Doom (not to be confused with something more redeeming like Dune) books, and then be done with the state.

So the temple – it's beautiful. There will be pictures, but the light wasn't right for them, still being mostly overhead, and so they won't do due justice. But believe me – it was like walking into a rainbow.

And then you follow the arrows to the reclining Buddha. Apparently this is what I had bought my ticket for, though nothing anywhere made mention of this fact. And the ticket booth was nowhere near the Buddha. But, I worried not, for I had a ticket, so over I went, past the obnoxious child screaming “Mama, Mama, look a moo moo! I'm riding the moo moo!” who had mounted a, no doubt priceless, ancient sculpture. Why parents choose to smile and giggle, rather than smack the what have you out of their child when they do things like this is beyond me. They all need to head over to Singapore where the locals there will take care of all the proper smacking.

Speaking of which, as I've been writing, I've been charging the phone for this couple who have spent the last two and a half hours backing their bags in the common room. The common room is the size of the living room in my old apartment. Don't let this fool you – for it was not a big room. Sadly there is no basket on the wall with which to play Hawkie either.

But, for the last few hours they have been packing here. When I walked in I thought a huge group had just checked in. There are five duffel bags here. Nope – just one couple. Tra la la la la. Ha ha, so much shopping, ha ha, they say.

Sometimes I am glad that I am travelling alone, and without a girlfriend by my side. Times like when this girl yelled at her boyfriend for putting the green lace in his shoes, rather than the orange ones. Times like when she suggested that he would, “like to shower now, while [she] pack[ed] so that [they could] all finish together. [He didn't] need to watch TV.”

Times like when he was informed that he, “almost kinda need[s] to wear a plain shirt with those jeans.” When she left the room, and returned, his shirt had been changed.

Suggestions, and innocent idea, kept popping into her mind, and somehow re-forming reality around her. Strange how that works. It's nice to not have that influence. Mind you, when I do travel attached, it's not like that. I don't think I could stand for it. And you wonder, does he know this is how it's playing out – or has she trained him so well, that he's completely unaware? I mean – he changed his shirt!

Anyway, the day – what did I do? I lost myself in China town, had some slushies and ice cream, and then wandered back to the hostel. Where I spent hours uploading African videos, while watching the social dynamics of this couple play out. It's sufficiently night time now. Sun should be good and set. Time to head out and check out what's what.

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