Frolic & Detour

Back to Bangkok

On September 28th we left Indonesia for Bangkok.  We’d visited Bangkok before and weren’t crazy about it.  We were jet-lagged, and the city is hot, humid, huge, polluted and loud.  Our reservations notwithstanding, we needed a visa for India and, from our research, Bangkok seemed like the easiest place to do it.  So, we decided to give Bangkok another go.

The day after our arrival we went to the visa office.  To make a long story short, after we waited for a few hours in the predictably chaotic room the nice woman behind the counter explained our visa wouldn’t be ready for two weeks due to two upcoming holidays.  Not wanting to turn over our passports and be stuck in Bangkok for two weeks we decided to spend a few more days in exploring the city then head north to Chiang Mai to see if the the Indian Consulate there could do any better.

At this point in our trip we’ve learned how to handle big Southeast Asian cities– tour a little, relax in air conditioning at regular intervals, and eat damn good food.  Employing this wisdom we enjoyed Bangkok much more this time around.  We befriended the owner of a nearby coffeeshop (he happened to be a Jain from Gujarat and so was offering us money and other assistance within minutes of meeting my wife), ran errands in the city’s massive malls, and ate.  Street food is readily available, and as cheap and delicious as we’ve come to expect from Southeast Asia.

After a frustrating day at the Indian visa office... green curry

Only great Thai food can make everything better after a long day at the visa office

Our neighborhood market

Our neighborhood market–mangos and sticky rice every morning!

 

 

Due to the same religious holidays that shut down the visa office, we also enjoyed a multi-day festival half a block from our hotel.  The Hindus really know how to throw a party– it lasted all night and into the following morning.  We joined in the fun when the parade started in the late afternoon, when some friendly Thai women squeezed us in next to them on a railing, adopted Rachel, gave her a fan, sprinkled us with magic dust and tried to narrate the happenings over the roar of the crowd and the music from the parade.

Preparing for the festivities

Preparing for the festivities

No festival would be complete without the booth selling offerings

Offerings for sale

 

 

 

 

Shrine outside our hotel right before the celebrations began

Shrine outside our hotel right before the celebrations began

 

 

Celebrations underway!

Celebrations underway!

 

 

 

 

 

The man with the big hat threw lucky--magic?--dust on us

The man with the big hat threw lucky–magic?–dust on us

Obviously a great time to sell your weird balloons

Not a bad time to be a balloon seller

 

 

 

Parade of shrines with the main temple in the background

Parade of shrines with the main temple in the background

 

 

 

 

On our last full day in Bangkok we hit up the Chatuchak street market which is a huge (17 acres!) maze of stalls selling everything from traditional Thai products, to groceries, to cowboy boots.

That’s about it for Bangkok.  If you’re stuck there for a few days I highly recommend eating dinner at Soul Food Mahanakorn and, if you’re looking for a date night, a balcony table at Above 11 is a nice choice.

I looked but there wasnt anything in my size

I looked but there wasnt anything in my size

Champagne overlooking Bangkok

Champagne overlooking Bangkok

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