We spent the weekend exploring the essence of Bangkok – markets and street food. On Saturday, we headed down to the train station to book our ticket to Chiang Mai in north Thailand. As the train station is just a hop, skip and a jump to Chinatown, we thought we would check it out. Now that was amazing!! The streets were packed with food vendors selling everything from fruit to nuts. Literally there were many stands that had a big vat roasting chestnuts and packing them on the street. There was hot food, cold food, smelly fish and other things that didn’t smell nice. There were narrow alleyways of jewellery, gold sellers, clothing, shoes, trinkets, pet supplies, household and pharmacy products to name but a few. And throughout this throng of people, dogs, cats, and hawkers, there would always be a motorbike trying to make it’s way down the alley. It was utter chaos!! I now understand the movie scenes where someone is being chased through a market and clothes and people are flying everywhere as they run up and down the alleys. We walked through this mess for what seemed like hours but was probably only a few minutes until we finally saw some light at the end of the tunnel and ducked back out to the main drag. After that adventure we thought that a nice, cold beer would be in order. It was 36 degrees out before you factor in some humidity.We stopped at the Grand China Hotel (very fancy) pulled up a chair in the shade and shared a pitcher of beer. I believe that Richard put this picture on Facebook.
We started heading for home and though we had taken a taxi to the station, we decided that we would use public transit to get back. While we were reviewing the route map outside the subway station, another couple was also looking and pointing and speaking ENGLISH!! Can’t pass up an opportunity like that so we started chatting with them and they were from VANCOUVER!! We rode the subway with them until the interchange to the Skyway, chatting the whole way. It was great to share some stories with fellow Canadians in a city where you do not speak the language.
Our day wasn’t over yet. Once we got back to the house, our host Tony suggested that we go to the Thai night market. This is not the same one that tourists go to so sounded like it would be a lot of fun. Again, we were astounded by the magnitude of the market. The sheer size was intimidating not to mention the variety of street food that was offered. There were market stalls that smelled delicious and others that, well, not so much. Richard passed over the bamboo worms but tried fried grasshoppers and a skewer of crocodile meat. I went way out there and had a fruit smoothie. Which, upon reflection was probably not the smartest food choice. However, a couple of days have gone by and I am still in the land of the living so I guess it was okay. We wandered through the market which had a feel like the Red River Ex on a much larger scale. Once we reached the end of the stalls selling clothing, jewellery, antiques etc, we stopped for a little rest at an outdoor bar (still part of the market). The waitress was super friendly, spoke English and was from VICTORIA!! Wow, three Canadians in one day – how lucky are we? Tony wasn’t feeling very well so we ended up heading back home early so missed the bands that were just starting up as we were leaving. Maybe we’ll get back there another day.
We had no plans for Sunday so Tony suggested that we go the Big C shopping centre and take in the outdoor markets surrounding the centre. We wandered about there for awhile, came across a hair salon and after much self debate, decided to go in for a haircut – haven’t had one since the $100 episode in New Zealand. With the language barrier I wasn’t sure if I could get across what I wanted but after showing my beautiful, Thai hairdresser a picture of Jamie Lee Curtis, she set to work. She did a fabulous job and it cost me 400 baht – about $16. In the meantime, Richard got a pedicure for 200 baht. Though I really need one of those too, I was wearing my running shoes which are not conducive to wet nail polish. Maybe in Chiang Mai….
So, after our beauty treatments, we headed back to the house on foot. We figured that it was about a 5 km walk. Along the way we saw a restaurant called Tacos and Salsa – Authentic Mexican Food. Well, why not? We ordered a plate of loaded nachos and though they were decent, they were not Mexican Village!! The walk continued uneventfully and we made our way back without getting lost. Three days in a row – how about that?
We finished off our last day in Bangkok with an authentic Thai meal at a lakeside restaurant just down the street. The lake is actually some sort of drainage pool but they have done it up rather nicely. Though it was a bit pricey, the food was excellent and I didn’t even have to eat anything too weird!!
It is Monday and we are currently on a train for Chiang Mai but I will leave you with a little slice of humor compliments of Lawrence Roer:
Q. Where are you going when you are running through the turnstiles at the airport?
A. You are going to Bangkok
Have a great day everyone!!!
The Night Market… Other than street food there was clothing, electronics, live music, etc etc etc. Anyone who has seen the original The King and I with Yul Brynner will get the Thai etc etc etc… If not check it out.
Crocodile Meat One More Time. Even better in Thailand.
And yes….. The fried Grasshoppers. Very tasty… The perfect snack with Thai beer.
Cashew Pork served in a Pineapple….
On our way up North to Chiang Mia…