Tuesday, July 25, 2006


Deciding that we were a bit too far out, we moved into more central Bangkok after one night new Mo Chit. We again eschewed the Khao San road and settled instead for a small traveller oriented side street in the central area opposite the National Stadium. The street, Soi Kasam Sen 1, is quite quiet, with a number of budget guesthouses, internet places and a restaurant. We couldn't get a room in any of the places listed in the Lonely Planet, or Rough Guide, but found a cheaper and slightly shabbier (although clean enough) guesthouse, Star Hotel. We booked in for two nights.

We walked to the Erewan shrine about 1km away down Thanon Rama 1. This is a gaudy shrine dedicated to the Hindu god Brahma and his Elephant Erewan. It was packed and the air was almost unbreathable with the incense choking it. Some Thai dancers were doing their thing to music. I felt a little bit intrusive taking photos, so I just tried to get some from the hip, not very succesfully. The Thai people although Buddhist, incorporate a lot of Hindu dieties in everyday worship (Buddhism itself doesn't have any problem with that).

We continued up the road to Pratunam market. Gemma was disappointed to see that, like many markets the world over, it sold mainly school uniforms and granny clothes. We ate in the chaotic food court of a mall and walked back to the hotel. We had been successful in half the mission, which was locating the hotel that Gemma's workmate Patrick and wife Noi would be coming to the following day. To be honest we may as well have just waited until dark as the hotel is massive and has, Amari Watergate, on it in giant neon letters. We discovered that the connection was fast in the Internet cafe across the road from our hotel so spent a couple of hours uploading Gemma's photos. That evening we ate at Pisces restaurant near our hotel. The lady in there was lovely, as was the food. We weren't allowed any beer though because of the elections in the morning!

First impressions of Bangkok; mad, chaotic, dirty, smelly, busy, congested (vehicle and human traffic) and full on.

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