Monday, March 4, 2013

Bangkok (at long last)

So, we went to Bangkok over the New Year holidays and I thought I'd post-

— what, you're writing about that now? It's freaking March already!

— Um, so it's a bit late, I know. But I took a lot of pictures that needed to be sorted and processed. I had to scan some as well, and my scanning software was acting up.

— It took you three months to crop a few pictures!?

— It wasn't just the pictures, you know. I switched jobs in November and I've been working on two projects at the same time since then. That takes a lot of time. Also, Ingress.

— OK, so your work is taking up a lot of time. And Ingress is your daily exercise, pretty much. But still, months?

— I know, I know. The thing is, once something is late, it will remain late. No matter what I do, it won't be on time again. So I've been doing other other things that aren't yet late instead, and putting this off. Truth be told I'm a bit embarrassed about this too, and that just makes it even later.

— But posting about the trip now? You don't think that's just too late? Nobody's going to be interested.

— I still want to post some of the pictures. They don't grow old. How about this: I skip the long explanations and just do a picture post?

— Sounds OK I guess. But do be a bit more timely next time, won't you?

Where was I? Ah, yes: So, we went to Bangkok over the New Year holidays, and I thought I'd post some of the pictures here. In short, we stayed at a resort-style hotel in Bangkok itself, and spent the days mostly walking about the city. Over the New Years Eve we had dinner atthe hotel; not as exciting as joining the crowds in the city center, but not as exhausting either.

Pool - Morning
The hotel was a resort hotel, despite being in the city, so it had a fair-sized garden and a large pool. Of course, this being a resort, the pool chairs filled up very early; I only got this picture because we arrived in Bangkok before dawn, and none of the other guests had risen when we came to the hotel.

Pool - Night
The pool was very pleasant at night as well. Good place to relax after a day out on the town.

Taxi Boats
Bangkok has several canals, and they're trafficked by fast, narrow canal boats. They're cheap, convenient and much faster than sitting stuck in traffic. They apparently run well out into the suburbs, so a lot of people use these for their commute.

It does take a bit of courage to use these boats the first time. There's no plank or stairs so you clamber over the railing, and the boat just barely stops long enough for people to jump on or off. Fortunately a young office worker on her way to town explained things to us, and even helped us get off at the right stop.

Canal Boat
The boats are fast and the canals are narrow, so you often get high waves when two boats meet. The blue tarps protect people from getting soaked, and are actually operated by the passengers; you can see the man in the foreground holding a line that keeps the tarp up on his side. It's probably not a good idea to forget to pull your line when a large wave hits the boat. Not if you want to stay on the good side of the other passengers at least.

It's a dog's life
It's a dog's life on a bike.

Head, Arm
The Headless Arm. A clothing store was rearranging mannequins.

MBK is a huge electronics shopping mall. Great place — it seems you can find anything. There's a whole row of photography stores with lenses and professional lighting equipment; and I'm insanely envious that there's multiple chains of phone shops where you can just pick any phone that strikes your fancy, then use it with the provider you want.

And yet, I did not buy a single thing. The reason is that, surprisingly to me, Thailand is a lot more expensive for this kind of stuff than Japan. For instance, Ritsuko bought a really cheap Canon pocket camera in Osaka for about 7k yen; we wanted something we wouldn't mind if it broke. Exactly the same camera is twice as much in Bangkok. I also looked at a few Pentax lenses in the 100-150k range, and again, the Bangkok price was 50-70% higher than Osaka.

If you live in Thailand and looking to buy a high-level camera and a couple of lenses, you could probably take a vacation in Osaka or Tokyo, buy the gear there and end up spending less in total than you would have by buying it in Bangkok. You'd get your camera gear with a vacation in Japan thrown in for free.

Sorry For The Inconvenience
Why is the escalator inconvenient? Beats me.

No shirt, no problem. Bangkok side street.

Paper Distribution Central
Newspaper distribution center.

Fried Ananas Rice
The food is a major reason to visit Thailand. This is a simple stir-fry with pineapple, served in the remaining shell. Refreshing.

Tom Yam Kung
The iconic Tom Yam soup, here at a street-side restaurant.

Fruit Stand
Fruit stands are everywhere along the streets. Not really sure if it's a good idea if you're new in Bangkok and haven't adapted to the local bacteria yet, but I had no problems.

Starters at the New Year dinner.

Leo Beer
Thailand seems to have three major beer brands: Singha, Chang and Leo (made by the same brewery as Singha). Of the three, Leo is cheapest and seems to be the most downmarket. The other two are available here in Osaka, while Leo is not. Which is a shame, because I found Leo to be the tastiest of the three, with the best balance of sweetness and bitterness.

Stir Fry

Evening Meal
Evening meals at a street-side restaurant.

Among the best food we had was a Lebanese lunch on New Years day. Here hummus, and in the background Tabouli, a parsley salad. It's always a good sign when an ethnic restaurant has customers from the same culture, and this one had several middle-eastern families eating a weekend lunch. It was delicious.

Trash Bag Buddha
Trash bag Buddha.

Tools For Sale
Tools for sale. I doubt they come with receipts.

Nighttime Traffic
Night-time traffic jam.

Guardian outside a closed shop in the Khao-san area. Probably just there to make sure no drunk tourists throw up outside the store.

Along the Track
Along the tracks. No, this line is not in use.

As always we brought a few things back home. This time we brought mostly Thai foods, including jams, curry and soup bases, spices and rice (Thai rice is expensive in Japan); but also Swedish crisp-bread (difficult to find in Osaka for some reason), durian chips and and sweets. Among the non-food stuff we got skirts and t-shirts, spoons and a Tom Yam soup hotpot. And if Thailand hadn't been so expensive, I'd have probably brought back some electronic toys as well.

1 comment:

creepo said...

Well I ahve to say the other Jan in the first argument (between you and your other you) was kind of bitchy lol. So what if its a bit late! Great pictures!