Some of the people I met in Thailand were very nice, and the Thais I know in Germany are fantastic people. But if you’re a tourist in Bangkok, be very careful whom you trust. This basically means no one who drives a taxi, tuk-tuk, or motorcycle; and absolutely NO ONE that approaches you on the street with “helpful information.”
- The attraction you want to see probably IS open, right now.
- Unless it’s the palace, they probably WILL let you in with shorts/sandals on.
- There is no “diamond buddha” at a special temple that’s only open one day a year (TODAY!).
- The traffic always sucks; it won’t get better in an hour if you stop somewhere for shopping.
On July 7th I determined that almost no taxi wants an “honest” fare. One guy complained constantly about traffic after I refused his offers to stop for shopping, and tried to guilt me into leaving the cab. I persevered, and it took a whopping 15 minutes to reach my destination (not 1-2h as promised).
A second taxi was actually nice: took me right where I wanted to go with no complaints, for the metered fare, and actually HAD correct change. The third just wanted the flag drop (35 Baht, or about $1), then persuaded me to take the Skytrain to my destination. I took the Skytrain after it was clear he had no idea how to get to my destination, a small hotel in Nana.
Aside from taxicab craziness, here’s a selection of what I saw today. First, the Golden Mount (where the first cabbie didn’t want to take me). Great views of the city from the top of all these stairs.
Second, here’s a lovely image from Wat Suthat Temple:
Now a street photo from my walk around the center of town. The small 3-wheeled vehicles are tuk-tuks, named for their annoying 2-cycle-engine noise.
After being hassled by several dudes on the street (“Don’t go to that temple! It’s closed today!”), I went to the farmers’ market. Mostly veg (for cooking) and flowers (for shrines), with a smattering of other stuff as well. Great local color!
Here’s where I ate lunch. Finally found something moderately spicy, although from what I found so far, the average Thai food (or what they serve Caucasians) is not nearly as hot as what I expected.
For dinner, I tried out a restaurant called Cabbages and Condoms. It promotes the use of birth control, in order to bring the skyrocketing population into check. Apparently seven children per family in a developing country is too much. The prices are much higher than restaurants the locals frequent, but the service and food are fantastic. Since the profits go to a very good cause, I was happy to splurge and spend $13 on my meal.
Plus you get to see lamps made of condoms, and great statuary at the entranceway:
Yes, Santa Condom. I think I have a new theme party idea for Skydive Orange! What do the jumpers think?