We love Bangkok. Even though neither of us had ever been to to this great city, when we arrived it certainly felt like a homecoming. As soon as we could smell the sweet South East Asia air, with all of its humidity and funk and lingering scents of something cooking in the background, we felt at peace. The reality of this being our home for the next five weeks made me swell with tears a bit. I fucking love SE Asia.
We didn’t waste any time, even though we had just traveled for almost 30 hours. The flight was fine, but long as fuck, and we arrived right around dawn. After we checked into our Airbnb in a part of town that’s off the beaten path and took much needed showers, we walked down the alley to discover our new neighborhood.
We discovered a great indoor market close by. Vendors were busy setting up their stalls, bustling to get ready for the day of selling. The smells and sounds were enchanting. The laughter of locals, fresh fish slapping around in buckets on the floor, smoke from a fire somewhere down the way. It’s all so …. delicious.
We grabbed a snack, and I chose Khanom Krok, a ridiculously addictive little hot coconut and rice pancakes. They were cooked on the spot, to order, and were served in a banana leaf for easy transport. The price for a plateful was 20 baht, or around $.65 USD.
We wandered the streets a bit more, and took in the early morning humidity with much happiness. There’s something about how SE Asia feels to the skin. There’s so much life in every corner, in the water, the air, the fire, the people.
I was still hungry, so I bought myself a little fish in a bag. I have to tell you, I still think of that fish and how happy I was when I ate it. The flash frying gave it a tender, white flesh and a crispy salty skin. The woman who cooked it quickly put it in a little bag with some squirts of liquid (fish sauce, vinegar) and a handful of a hot pepper-dominant melange of chopped vegetables and herbs. I took it back to the apartment to snack on it private, as I couldn’t really figure out how I’d eat it on the go.
Next stop…. coffee! We walked and walked and walked, trying to find a hot cup but struck out. The neighborhood we stayed in didn’t have coffee shops, save for a 7-11 that actually had a decent espresso machine, but we didn’t discover that until our last day in Bangkok. Anyway, we wandered like zombies, and eventually we got back to the alley by our Airbnb, a local woman had set up a street stall where she sold instant coffee, which is pretty common in many parts of SE Asia. She made a potent, strong cup with a hefty touch of sweetened condensed milk. It was perfect, and got us right through the jet lag that had been nagging us all morning!
AHHHHH. We were set for a full day in Bangkok! Follow our adventures as we run a 5k in Lumpini Park, run through Chatachuk, get kind of lost along the river, and enjoy a concert in the park.