Day 10: One Condition
It’s the first morning in Bangkok. I was suffering from a bit of wanderlust, and after hitting the gym and working up an appetite (what else could possibly motivate me that early in the morning?), I struck out on my own to explore the “Big Mango”. Of course, this meant first explaining to my cab driver that it could not possibly cost 1000 baht for me to be driven less than 15 minutes away.
Eventually, I found my way to Siam Square.
Siam Square, as far as I could tell, was the bougiest goddam shopping area in the entire world. Don’t believe me? Just watch.
This was on the 3rd floor of the mall:
How the hell did they get them in here? How are they getting them out? FYI, that’s a Lamborghini dealership next to a Bentley dealership, which is across from the BMW and Rolls Royce displays.
Before I got lost forever in the mall, I headed back and reunited with the rest of our traveling troupe of Stanford educated goons — Aleksandr “Too Big” Zamoshchin, Alejandro “I Just Wanna Dance” Argueta, and Tim “Viet Tim” Bui.
We wasted little time and headed right out to explore some of the old city of Bangkok. The old city, Rattanakosin, straddles the Chao Phraya River and is situated just north of Chinatown, containing most of Bangkok’s tourist attractions, including Wat Pho and the Grand Palace.
What that all goes to say is that it’s a 45 minute drive away from downtown Bangkok, where we were staying. Of course, getting 6 people anywhere in Bangkok is an adventure on its own. Let me illustrate some of our struggles with actual conversations we had with the cab drivers:
#1. One of our more successful attempts:
Us: “Hi … “
Cab Driver 1: “No.” (Drives away).
#2. Meter. Meter. METER.
Us: “Wat Pho please?”
Cab Driver 2: “500 baht”.
Us: “Use a meter? It’s right there?” (We didn’t actually say that — it was more along the lines of repeating the word “meter” with urgent pointing)
Cab Driver 2: “Haha. No.” (Drives away with the door still open.)
#3. The #1 tailor in Bangkok!
Us: “Please Mr. Cab Driver 3, it’s really hot outside”
Cab Driver 3: “Fine, fine my friends! For you, I do cheap! Just 100 baht!”
Us: “Wow thank you so much!”
Cab Driver 3, after we’re in the car: “Hello friends, one condition. You help me look tailor.”
Elliot, completely misunderstanding the situation: “Yes, yes, of course! There’s tons of tailors in Bangkok! I saw like 8 or 9 just on the way to the hotel! I’m sure we can spot you one.”
Cab Driver 3, now equally confused as Elliot: “But I don’t need a suit?”
Elliot: “Then why do you need to find a tailor?”
Cab Driver 3: “No no, I want YOU to get fitted for custom suits.”
We literally dove out of that cab and finally found a man trying to make an honest living in Bangkok. An hour and a half of traffic later, we finally arrived at our destination. Guess who we found?
Anyway, here are some Wat Photos (that was a clever pun, I think some of you might have missed it. Yeah, you know who you are. For those of you who STILL don’t get it, the name of the temple we visited is Wat Pho).
The ornate, flashy manifestation of Buddhism we observed in Thailand stood in stark contrast to the simplicity and asceticism of that in Cambodia. More on this later, but from selfies on private jets to multi-million dollar donations from allegedly crooked businessmen, Thailand’s monks are coming under increasing fire for their embrace of commercialism. This is exceedingly clear from the state of the temples, which are constantly being refurbished despite other obvious infrastructure needs.
All this sightseeing made us hungry. Again. Seeing as it was our first day in Thailand and we were still relatively scared of the street food, we hunted down the best Pad Thai in Bangkok. Which, I suppose, makes it the de facto best Pad Thai in the entire world.
Ladies and gentleman, I’ve tasted a lot of Pad Thai (although not as much as my brother (Dev try order something else at Thai restaurants jeez)). None really compared to that which we ate at Thip Samai, a revered Bangkok establishment, where rows of woks being tossed over flames serve up delicious noodles thinly veiled in a cocoon of egg:
Stuffed, jetlagged, and misguided, we headed out briefly and found ourselves here:
But after quickly realizing that Thai covers of American pop songs compare unfavorably to a toddler violin orchestra, we booked our asses home for an early night — Chiang Mai and its mysterious northern wonders awaited us.
I’m pretty pooped so that’s all for now. I’ll do better tomorrow.