Observations from Bangkok

10 Mar

I don’t really have another full post, and I’ve already uploaded all my good pictures, but here are some random thoughts to close up my trip to Thailand.

THE MAP IS A LIE. That place you want to go to might look like it’s nearby, but it is an hour’s walk. And it is hot out. Suck it up and get a cab.

Do not over-pay the cabs. I had a guy try to cheat me for 200 baht for a 1km drive. The starting price for cabs is 35 baht. (Asshole.) DO not listen to them if they tell you a number, and insist on a meter.

Bangkok Suvarnabhumi is nice, but the food there is super expensive. There’s a 7-11 on the arrivals floor. Their banana bread is delicious and cheap. You will not regret it.

I never saw any street food that looked good enough to risk dysentery. After six months of readily available shao kao in Chengdu, Thai street food seems distinctly unimpressive.

There are a lot of foreigners in Thailand. In Chengdu, it’s kind of a shock to see white people in an abundance on the street. I don’t think I ever went more than twenty minutes outside without seeing another Westerner there. Maybe since I was favoring tourist-friendly areas? I don’t know, it still seemed like a lot of white people running around.

Bangkok has some serious malls. Like, Hong Kong-level seriousness. I was impressed and terrified.

I was the most retarded candidate for a Thai massage ever. Clearly, my ESP is non-existent and I should pass on any future games of charades. Also, I’m pretty sure the place I went to was also a brothel, given all the foreign guys heading upstairs to another floor, following the hot young things. (Oops, my bad.) FYI, my masseuse was an older woman, maybe in her later forties/early fifties. It was pretty funny for the both of us.


I liked Thailand, but I don’t think I ever got over the whole “Asian people speaking and I haven’t the foggiest idea what’s going on” thing. I more or less get along just fine in China, so this threw me for a loop and then some.

Basically, the part I will never, ever forget about Bangkok was at the airport on my last day. I was waiting for my flight out and the plane to Guangzhou had been delayed. Seated at the gate, I was working on my knitting when a family of four sat down opposite of me. The daughter and son were about my age and engrossed in their cell phones, but the mother was staring at me. I smiled blandly. The woman took it as an invitation. She got up and came over, looking curiously at my progress. She grabbed it out of my hand and inspected the stitches, proclaimed loudly in Chinese “You’re doing it wrong,” before starting to knit a few rounds.

I stared. What. The. Fuck.

Her daughter looked up, shrugged apologetically, and took my picture. Somewhere, there is a Cantonese family with a picture of me sitting confusedly next to an older Chinese woman who had commandeered my project and was knitting my sock*.

She eventually handed it back, two rounds later. She then proceeded to treat me like one of her children, chivying me onto the plane during boarding, and making sure I got my bags at luggage pick up.

It was simultaneously super weird and super sweet.

*I’m almost finished with this pair of socks, btw. Three weeks of no internet at the dorms + no classes = very productive Jane.

All in all, it was a fun trip. Weird, unexpected, and awesome, but fun.


2 Responses to “Observations from Bangkok”

  1. Karen March 10, 2012 at 3:25 am #

    Isn’t that sweet? You own personal amah. Kinda weird tho. Did you speak to her in Chinese?

    • Jane March 10, 2012 at 10:28 pm #

      Yeah. I was pretty surprised, her Chinese was pretty standard.

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