April 25, 2009. Last Day in Bangkok.

Street Food
Street Food

The 25th was our last full day in Bangkok. We had nothing planned but to walk around and enjoy the chaos, the food, the lights, the shops, and the people. And that is what we did.

After breakfast we decided to go shopping. So we walked off Khaosan Road and onto some side streets where we had never been. There are a lot of jewelers specializing in silver in Bangkok. We looked at a few window displays and even went into one store, but we didn’t buy anything.

Soon we came to a shoe shop that had a display on the sidewalk. All were priced at 199 baht (about $6.00 USD) per pair. Sea looked at a pair she liked, then another, then another. Her sandals had been giving her problems, so she bought a pair. She wore them and put her sandals in a bag.

We had some shrimp balls on a stick from a street vendor. Then we went into a 7-11 where I had a Coke Free with ice. A Coke Free is great rarity as what you usually find is Coke Light which contains sugar. However it didn’t taste like the Diet Coke I

wanted. Maybe it was the ice.

We passed a bakery that had a big crowd in front of it. Two cash registers were running and couldn’t check people out fast enough. Interesting.

Then we turned onto another street that was lined on both sides with sidewalk vendors set up in front of the permanent store fronts. Most were covered from the sun, tent-like. It was like walking through a hot, crowded, dark, sticky, cave. The street sellers gave us the hard sell if we even glanced at an item. I found the whole experience unpleasant. I was happy when Sea would find a store to go into just so I could get out of the airless tent-cave.

We went into a grocery/department store and walked around looking at house wares. We came to a display of aluminum nesting bowls that were the same design as the bowls Sea used to anoint one of the Buddhas at Wat Pho.

When I first got to know Sea I thought she was a very neat, highly organized person. Now that I know her better I realize she is a classic, right out of the textbook, Freudian, anal retentive. When

Shrimp Balls on a Stick
Shrimp Balls on a Stick
I didn’t realize shrimp had balls

she saw the nesting bowls, I knew we would buy them. The only question was how many? There must of been 15 or 20 different sizes, all sold individually. They ranged from about 3 inches diameter up to more than a foot. After what seemed like forever, she decided on the 6 smallest sizes. Then she inspected each one for flaws before handing it to me to hold. The total for the 6 was 245 baht (about $7.00 USD). I think we bought something else in that store, but I don’t remember what.

Later we bought an ebony Buddha. Every other souvenir vendor on the street had them for sale. The starting price was usually 250 – 350 baht for one about 6 inches high. Sea used her bargaining powers and ended up with one for 100 baht (about $3.00 USD).

After a few hours of wandering around and looking at things we headed back to Khaosan Road. We stopped at the bakery we passed earlier that was so crowded. It was still crowded. We bought a couple of small sweets to take with us.

By this time it was 14:00 and very hot. I was uncomfortable.

My clothes were wet with sweat. We stopped at an Italian restaurant on Khaosan Road for a late lunch and cold drinks. Sea had spaghetti and a fruit drink. I had a pizza and iced beer.

After our late lunch we returned to the room, showered and took a 15 minute nap. We hit the streets again. It was about dusk. We were both a little hungry but couldn’t decide if we wanted a lot of different street foods or to have a meal in a cafe. So we strolled to a Wat that was close to Khaosan Road while we decided. Sea did her prayers, I took a few pics.

It was still miserably hot, even after the sun went down. And the crowd was getting large and loud on the streets. We decided we had walked enough and would find a cafe for dinner and to relax.

A few days before we had discovered a partially air conditioned cafe on Khaosan Road. I say “partially” because it had air conditioners running inside, but the front of the cafe was completely open to the street, allowing most of the cool air to escape. Still it was

nice to sit there if there was a table under a vent.

We arrived and were lucky enough to find a good table. I ordered chicken wings with a papaya salad and an iced beer. Sea ordered a pineapple/banana drink and some sort of friend chicken bits that had a very distinct Thai flavor. They were nothing like KFC. Like my wings, they were served with papaya salad. Life was good. But it was about to get better.

About the time we finished eating a band walked in and started setting up. I was tired of walking and tired of the heat, so I suggested we stay to hear a few minutes of the music. Sea agreed. I ordered another iced beer.

One thing I do not like about Asia is the music. From the Vietnamese operatic crap to the Chinese vanilla dance music, to karaoke, I can not get used to it. Maybe because of the time I was brought up, I like loud, hard guitar rock. I like early punk. I like the Seattle grunge sound. I have been in and out of Asia for most of the last year, and have heard little I

really like.

The band started playing. Their first song was AC/DC followed by Van Halen, then The Who. I think I wet myself. At last, some music I love. Plus they were good, I think. Maybe I was just happy to hear it, so I thought they were better than they were.

So we stayed and listened for the hour or so that they played. I clapped and gave them “thumbs up.” Sea took pictures to embarrass me with the next day.

Another couple sat down next to us. The girl was heavily tattooed. She and Sea compared work. She was with a guy who introduced her as “my best friend” which I took to mean he wasn’t getting it. She was a wild child and danced to every song by herself or with anyone who would join her.

The place filled up with people. A long haired drunk came in and joined us. He was mostly incoherent and gave Sea a good kiss. Then, thank god, he left. The tattooed girl kept dancing with a guy she did not come in with. They seemed to be hitting it off. Her “best friend” sat with Sea

and me, trying to talk over the din. The music played, the beer flowed.

Then the band’s set was over. They tore their equipment down and were soon replaced by another group. The “headliners,” IMHO were nowhere as good as the first group, but they were still pretty good, and they played similar music. They had male and female singers who took turns at the microphone.

We listed to them a while. I got over enthusiastic and clapped and cheered too much. Oh well, I’d never see anyone who was there again. The first band sat at a table behind us and was having a few drinks. I let them know how much I enjoyed their set.

We decided to leave about 23:00. I had too many beers and would have stayed all night. Sea, fortunately, was the voice of reason and moderation, saving me from a hangover. We left and went back to the guest house. On the way we stopped at a cafe that had a pool table. I played a game with the waitress which I almost won. Then upstairs where I planned on giving it to Sea real good. But I fell asleep.

Chicken Leg on a Stick
Chicken Leg on a Stick
Isn’t that redundant?

About Charles Kirtley

Have been living in SE Asia and China since 2007. I have an opinion on most every subject, and don't mind sharing them. Lover and collector of worthless facts.
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