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November 06, 2004
Jody writes:

It's our third full day in Bangkok and we've packed loads in already, so today Amy and I are planning to take it easy. We've stayed in three different guesthouses on two different sides of the city but now we've given in and are settling near the Khao San road - the main tourist area.

Bangkok is a fantastic city - totally hectic (I like to compare it to Barter Town in Mad Max). Here are some things that have made an impression on me so far:

The traffic. The roads in Bangkok are gridlocked all day and night, despite attempts by the government to put on buses, sky trains, river taxis and now a new underground train service. This leads drivers to take as many short-cuts as possible, ignoring traffic lights and pedestrian crossings, turning the streets - and sometimes pavements - into one big bumper car race.

The people. Every Thai person in the tourist areas are trying to rip you off, albeit usually for as little as 20p. They'd sell you their own grandmother for a quick buck and probably overcharge you by 50 baht. But people out of the tourist areas are much more friendly, though I'm sure they still have an agenda. While visiting the 'lucky Buddha' statue in a temple yesterday, Amy and I chatted to a Thai man who said he worked for the UN. After a few minutes the man strayed from rejoicing over how much luck Buddha had brought him, to then give us the hard sell on a tailors in Southern Bangkok.

Blind karaoke beggars. They're everywhere! A boombox strapped round their neck, clutching a microphone in one hand and a begging cup in the other, belting out showtunes as they stare out at you with dead eyes. They make a fortune.

Stray cats and dogs. Always sleeping in the shade, like this dog we found outside a temple.

The smell. It stinks here. The roads make you dizzy with fumes and the streets sometimes smell of sewage. But enter a temple and you'll smell sweet incense and flowers... ahh.... I'm now contributing to the problem, by sweating pure chilli sauce after four days of spicey food.

Sex tourists. Old, pasty white men dining alone or seen walking through streets clutching the hand of a young, doll-faced Thai girl. When we stayed in Sukumvit, Eastern Bangkok, the place was full of them, but the Khao San area is mainly young travellers.

We're currently planning our move up north to Chiang Mai for cleaner air and a slower pace (and elephant rides). You can see some of the pictures we've taken so far on my flickr account.

posted at 3:12 PM | link

8 Comments:

  • Good to hear you guys made it ok. Ah the man from the UN... heard that one before... or maybe the "off-duty policeman" or "I work for the government". Hope you both get to Sukhothai - its so beautiful and I'll get back soon with a good guesthouse in Chiang Mai - who also do the best hilltribe tours. Keep having fun. Love Emily XX

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:35 PM  

  • London streets not so bad after all,getting ripped off is the same where ever you are, blind beggars is a new one,stray cats, did know of one, poor little thing.old men thia brides, wander the local super market, elephant's, now you have one over on me,loved the humour in your comments, made alittle someone laugh about the grannie, have fun,

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:57 PM  

  • Glad it's going coolio!
    I was shocked when I received a reply text saying you were in Thailand!!!!!
    Go around collecting cats, then when you have loads.. pretend you're totally crazy (... pretend? :p) and throw them at people, shouting obsene things in spanish :p
    ... or you could just enjoy it, both options are good :p

    <3 ya both x

    By Blogger Kai, at 9:24 PM  

  • so, you got there in two pieces?
    good!
    just wondering what you did with regards to train to chaing mai??
    didn't have room to explain in my text, but on our way up to CM we got on the 2nd class, fan only train with bed... what a nightmare! basically, we were ripped off by the hotel, so on the way back to Bangkok, we upgraded to air con... which was fine.

    have fun guys,
    miss you xxx

    By Blogger The Berg, at 9:39 AM  

  • Wow you really are a new media proffessional aren't you? Maps, pics and everything. I particularly like the addition of the weather to rub us folks who are in cold damp London's nose in it. I bought a new jumper yesterday...

    Have fun in your exotic climbs,

    Matt W

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:17 AM  

  • Matt - We both do web things for a living, so we could hardly pass up on doing a blog. If only to keep reminding you of the weather.

    By Blogger Jody, at 1:25 PM  

  • i love a girl with a talent, ping pong balls whatever. so whats up with malinna, big cuz wants to know?

    By Blogger Big Cuz, at 6:24 PM  

  • Thank you so much for sharing your story. It's very informative. I love to read it and do hope to read your next story.

    By Anonymous Bangkok Hotels, at 9:25 AM  

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Jody and Amy have finished their 10 month adventure around the world, that began Nov 2, 2004, and ended Sep 2, 2005. They're back home in London now, doing normal things, like going to work and drinking tap water. You can see a map of what was their planned route, but we didn't quite follow it.
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