Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Days 6-7: Bangkok, Thailand
First impressions of Bangkok are not misleading. In fact, with Bangkok it was exactly what I expected: many, many people; a lot of great street food; souvenirs; crowds; traffic. While not all of this is benign, Bangkok does offer something for everyone. From tourist attractions to bazaars and weekend markets, from haggling to great, cheap eating, this city has it all. And although it may not be the cleanest in the world, it seems to be cleaner than Beijing, which isn't saying much but is still true.
I didn't see any protestors, although I was told they were in the downtown area.
However, I did see a funny sign at my hostel, which is a story in itself. So, as the story goes, I managed to book it at the last second--literally hours before I flew into Bangkok--from the airport in Singapore. Well, apparently the hostel's internal reservation system was down, so they had no idea that I had booked a dorm room, which was in reality unavailable in any case. When I asked them to use their phone to call the hostel next door to see if they have an open room, they told me that the phone only accepts incoming calls, period. And what about the pay phone? Well, that's exclusively for international calls. "Sorry." At that point, the employee assisting me felt bad and told me about a single, more expensive ($25) room they have, which was significantly more than my dorm bed for $4.50. Once I refused, he felt embarrassed and told me that they would give me that room anyways, but at the $4.50 price, to which I quickly agreed. Luckily, the room had a fan, because not only was it extremely humid outside, but the room was also located up on the fifth floor, which only made it that much more hotter.
The next morning, upon check-out, I saw the sign pictured above. Hmmm, with a price of $4.50, having a special "Thai friend" over for the night would cost nearly double that, as hilarious as it sounds. And the key deposit was as much as my room cost, too. Indeed, I'll never stop being surprised by Thailand and all its quirks. :)