Monday, January 21, 2008

One Night in Bangkok

It's a marathon of transportation to leave Koh Phanagan. First the back of a truck taxi shakes both luggage and passengers as the driver seems to hit every of the many potholes on the road. Next it's a wait by the docks and a thirty minute ride on a ferry that is more rough than calm this morning. One of many vans waiting at the Koh Samui docks, squeezes nine strangers and their luggage into it's well orestrated interior for a ride to the airport. In the only truly beautiful airport I have ever seen people are loaded into tram cars for a ride to the departure gate. From there it is another plane ride to Bangkok and then only one long taxi ride to a hotel. It is with a sigh that I drop my luggage in the hotel room on a muggy late afternoon day. I try not to think about the 4:30 a.m. wake up call that will begin another transportation marathon. That's tomorrow. Tonight it's Bangkok.

Bangkok feels more like a living entity than any city I've ever been in. It's beautiful, fascinating and, for a girl from the Canadian prairie, it's size alone is overwhelming. This isn't my first trip here but my fourth or fifth. I'm not doing an exact count but many of my trips here have been short jumping off points to other destinations.

Some say it's the traffic in Bangkok that is overwhelming, I find it's the diversity. From the woman sewing with her peddle sewing machine on a street corner to the sleek luxury limos, wealth and poverty and all of those in the middle jostle for the same space. Commerce is untamed and vendors take full advantage as within blocks you can buy anything from a Dior or D&G knock off on a crowded street corner to the real thing in air conditioned luxury.

After hours of travel a street corner cafe with a cold drink is the perfect place to watch as wide-eyed tourists are accosted by astute vendors and well-heeled locals glide artfully around the familiar chaos. And that is life in one small area of Bangkok. And for me, it's time for one more Singha - a Thai beer - before heading back to the hotel and a much to early wakeup call.

"Travelers never think that they are the foreigners."

Mason Cooley


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