Sunday, April 1, 2007
Bangkok Part 1
Me and Ava at MBK shopping centre. Much credit to Ava and Carissa for most of these photos.
Warm greetings everyone from sunny Thailand!
Have been here 5 days now and about to head off to Hong Kong for a week. It's my first time here and its a pretty fascinating place. Here is some miscellaneous stuff I've observed:
To hear it, Thai sounds fairly pleasant and not too different from the other languages of the region. To see it rendered using roman characters however, and it suddenly becomes the most bizarrely comical and rude language in the world. Everywhere you'll see names and words which would sound rude when pronounced by an English speaker. If you have a juvenile sense of humour (check), and a dirty mind (check), you can find plenty of sources of amusement. Examples:
Greetings: Sawadee-krap! (Hello) Kob-koon-krap! (thankyou)
Place names: Bangkok, Ban Pornpis, Baan Sukchoke, Bang Sue, Mo Chit, Phuket.
People's names: Bhumibol (he's the king), Porntip, Supaporn.
Food names: prik (chili), pak (vegetables - pronounced "puck").
When Andi bought an interesting noodle-soup dish from the market, I asked the vendor what it was called in Thai. His answer (imagine strong Thai accent): "noo-dle". I wonder how thick he thought I was.
Had a massage (not the kind of "massage" they give in Patpong, just a regular massage, ok?) at a place which our concierge recommended. He told us the name and wrote it down as "Les Lelak". We searched for a while and discovered it was actually called "Let's Relax".
On our first day shopping in MBK (an incredibly massive mall in Bangkok, kind of like a 8-storey suburb unto itself), I got excited by some cool products which were extremely cheap. After buying them, I subsequently discovered 100 other shops selling the same things for much cheaper.
Bargaining is an important part of business around here, but its easy to get carried away. You can get so wrapped up in the bargaining caper that you try to do it everywhere - eg. at McDonalds, the airport, the bank). Or you can bargain for 5 minutes to within an inch of your life, in the process coming across as a stingy foreign asshole, and walk away having saved yourself about $1. That's $1 that is worth a whole lot more to a Thai than to a farang (foreigner).
Suan Lum Night Bazaar...
...where the beer is not bad, apparently.
Yet, despite their ringing endorsement, I went for the fruit juice stand. Good choice on my part - snakefruit (salacca) juice was a revelation, mangosteen juice and sapodilla juice were delicious, although dragonfruit juice was dull, despite the fruit's dazzling pink-and-green exterior.
Chicken on the roadside. Seasoned with garlic, soy, traffic fumes and salmonella.
The Floating Market at Ratchaburi. Aside from handicrafts, there is good food to be had on the river. Most interesting were crispy pancakes with sweet egg white and grated coconut.
Grilling chicken skewers while rowing your canoe through the congested river traffic is indeed a useful skill to have.
Rose apples, of which we ate plenty. In Indonesia we call it jambu biji (water guava).
In the Thai language they call this "NOO-DLE". Andi gave it the thumbs up.