taleblazing . . . travel tales from around the world   . . .
  . previous tale  .
a good welcome to india
. next tale  .
impressions of singapore
. more tales  .
. . . . .

Check out Dennis' debut novel
Soul Identity - Dennis Batchelder's debut novel
. . . . .

3 hours in bangkok
By Dennis Batchelder 4 April 1998

hey guys:

we'll, we're in bangkok, waiting for the plane to new delhi. since it was a five hour layover, latif and i decided to go exploring in bangkok.

first, some history. bangkok means "city of angles" - though the only thing it shares with los angeles is the smog. it was founded in 1782 by the first king of siam, Rama I. The Don Muang airport was founded in 1915, making it the oldest international airport still in its same spot.

now for our tour. we rented a taxi for 1,000 bhat (36 bhat to the dollar), who agreed to drive us downtown and back in 3 hours. which last year would have been impossible; bangkok ususally is grid-locked solid. so much so, that families would leave their offices, pick their kids up from school, and "live" in their minivans for the commute home. their minivans had cigarette-lighter tv's, vcr's, and microwaves, and all had porta-potties. also, you could get food delivered to your car by bicycle delivery boys - mcdonald's, pizza, prescriptions, laundry.

anyway, since last july, the bhat has lost 40% against the US dollar, so times have changed. people stay home watching tv, and taxi's don't drive as much, because they can't earn enough to pay for the gas. anyway, it was our blessing, because we were able to go downtown.

we asked to see the temples and castles downtown, but the driver said it was too far to drive and come back. instead, he suggested that we get a massage, and maybe some other activities. he even showed us some pictures. i guess he pimps on the side. we said no, and after a while
he gave up on the idea, and suggested we take a boat tour, and the boat would bring us there and back. why not?

so he dropped us off, set a time to pick us up, and we negotiated a water taxi for 2,000 baht. i've enclosed some pictures from that trip. this was local bangkok - peope use the river instead of the roads in this district.

there were lots of poor areas along the river route - we saw people dumping their waste in the water, bathing in it, washing their clothes. the water was brown, and lots of stuff was floating in it. but it seemed like a nice place, you know? i mean, other than a few modern conveniences, these people have the life we'd like. they live on waterfront property, with their own boats. they fish off their back porch. ok, they could use plumbing, electricity, clothes, food, and building materials.

on our taxi water route, we stopped at the world's largest python and crocodile farm, and saw a live demonstration of people handling venemous snakes. then we arrived at the temples, took our pictures, walked around, and returned.

i've enclosed some pictures:

1) A sample picture of what the taxi driver was trying to sell us.

2) This was our water taxi driver. the boats can go pretty fast.

3) 2 guys in the river, paddling their piece of styrofoam as a raft. everyone on the water route was very friendly, waving at us.
4) a typical river house. reminds me of the elk river!

5) a bhuddist altar along the river - this was nice with the orange flowers. in fact, that was one of the nicest parts of bangkok - all the orange (my favorite color). the monks wore such nice orange outfits.

6) bhuddas at the temple. there where a whole bunch in this temple

that's all, folks. now off to dehli - the plane is boarding!


3 hours in bangkok - thailand