Oh more travel woes. I’ll begin by saying, we arrived safely in Bangkok after harrowing airline issues. The king’s birthday celebration ushered us in straight off the BTS line at Siam Station.
The utter reverend and adoration the Thai people have for their king is so heartening. It is one of my favorite things about the Thai people. Speaking of dedication to leaders, the atmosphere here seems to have changed a bit with regard to identifying oneself as an American. Before it was a bit of a dicey proposition to do so. Now all I’ve heard when I say “I’m from California” is “Obama!!!! Yes! Love Obama!” If we can’t thank him for a whole lot, at least we can appreciate a better reputation than we had under Bush out in the rest of the world.
The king’s birthday celebration has led to a city-wide “promotion.” As best I can tell, this promotion equals a lot of guys ushering tourists into tuk tuks for ridiculously low prices for the day. The catch? They’re also trying to push custom tailored suits and klong tours on you. It’s not all bad though. If you navigate the hustle well, a lot of temples are open to the public that are not normally, and the whole mood in the city is joyous as Thais celebrate their beloved king’s special day. And who can refuse a killer deal on a tuk tuk driver for the day?
So there is the hustled part. What about bitten? I’m not a huge complainer, but man did I misstep last night when I went down for cocktails on the pier at the Shangri-la without any mosquito repellent. I have long known I am one of the tastiest treats around for my entomological enemies. Bangkok is usually not an area I need to worry too much about this, but sitting by the river at nighttime is a totally different story. I pity the poor lady who does my nightly foot massage tonight.
The take away:
1. Don’t buy a suit if you don’t want one, but do take advantage of the great transportation pricing and temple visits for the king’s birthday festivities.
2. Bug spray required by the river at night. Mosquitoes don’t care if you are at a dive or a 5-star hotel; they’re still hungry. Ps – apologies for the graphic image ahead.