We left Indonesia and flew up to the great Thai city of Bangkok. Because we are here to arrange our visas for China and Vietnam, we are staying near the infamous “backpacker” road of Khao San. This area is not a good place to see any real Thai culture and it is a bright, packed, western traveler-filled area with surprisingly few Thai people (other than those selling stuff to travelers). The day after arriving in Thailand, we went into the streets to have a good meal of…
Israeli food?! Of course, humus, falafel and pita is just what you must have expected for us to eat in the food and cultural capital of Thailand. But seriously, Bangkok is a modern and cosmopolitan city that offers all types of foods (we will be out trying some Pad Thai later). We did not come to the Khoa San Road area for the local culture, we are here to use the travel agencies, post offices, and internet cafes for some logistical work, then we will return in the fall (when it is cooler and less humid) to see the more cultural parts of Thailand.
Khoa San Road is a vibrant and surreal place full of travelers and a few Thai people offering anything they can think of selling to travelers. Since Khoa San Road is crammed with bars and night clubs catering to travelers, we are staying on the side street of Soi Rambutri, which doesn’t have the huge night scene, but is close by. You can buy all sorts of “real” identification cards (including fake university diplomas, press credentials, or driving licenses), or get tattoos when you have had enough drinks at the many bars, eat food from street vendors, buy all sorts of pirated music and DVDs, “name brand” clothing, sunglasses and ‘Rolex’ watches. And of course, the seedy reputation of Bangkok as a prostitution mecca still holds true, but many of the “ladies” of the night are not always female (even though they may look like it). A t-shirt for sale in the street stalls sums it up, “Sorry Man, I’m Ladyboy.
Once we have our visa applications underway (for real ones, hopefully), we will move on to another part of town that will easily afford us the chance to see more of what this city has to offer.