First of all, Bangkok is one of the coolest cities I have ever visited. Amazing, cheap food every six feet. The weather is great. The people are nice. Public transportation is excellent. It’s hard to be mad. Not so hard, however, to be curious or surprised.
A note: American men, hideous, ugly American men. I now know where you go when life rejects you: Thailand. I have seen you, mangled, disheveled, and downright frightening, cast aside by society for not conforming to American ideals of beauty, most of which aren’t even your fault. Though you do yourself no favors with sandals and athletic socks pulled up to mid-calf. But I digress, I see you with your Thai wife, barely communicating, struggling to discuss the menu over dinner. No, love does not speak for you. I see you, old white haired man and your age inappropriate lady friend who looks like she should be selling cookies door to door rather than escorting you to an expensive dinner at the hottest spot in town. I see you all and you are embarrassing. You embarrass everyone within a 10 mile kilometer radius. I won’t go further into detail, but suffice to say, gross. Just gross.
Other fascinating things: traffic at intersections. Sure, they have lines on the road and traffic lights that operate at regular intervals, unlike other global cities (cough, Cairo) but cross over 12 lanes while dodging 25 scooters and then a few more cars perpendicular to traffic is skill. Seriously, that is on a Chuck Norris level.
Tiny little massage therapists who can’t reach the top shelf in a grocery store or have the apparent bone structure of a parakeet are actually freakishly strong. Freakishly. They hurt. I don’t know how they do it.
My favorite is the heat. The oppressive, heavy humidity that weighs over the city like a wet towel. Yesterday afternoon, I spent a few hours along the river visiting some wats. By early evening, my belt was struggling to keep my jeans up over my now-melted waist. My shirt had grown two sizes larger than when I put it on that morning and was now hanging off me like raw pizza dough. I had to go back to my hotel to shower and change my soaked clothing. Everything, all of it, soaked. My hair, however, looks fantastic; can’t have everything. Even at 10pm, it’s still 80 degrees and humid. More comfortable but still.
Yesterday, I treated myself to my first ever massage for my feets and legs and a hot coconut oil scalp massage. It was glorious. I want more. The scalp massage, however, was different. The little lady applied the oil around the base of my hair to lube me up. Two BOTTLES of oil later, this woman who spoke no English had no trouble communicating that she needed two more hours to actually get to my scalp. Thanks. There is so much oil in my hair I haven’t bothered to wash it out. I’m greased like I was dipped in a barrel of vinaigrette. I left an oil slick behind me like a snail. I am going to need to shower with Dawn dish detergent, like when they clean the poor ducks in the sink who were coated with petrol in some shipping container disaster.
The heat yesterday caused me – ME – to break out in six small yet glaring red lumps on my cheeks. Between the greasy hair and skin of a freshman, I should have no trouble ordering off the kids menu for dinner.
Nuances aside, Bangkok is just awesome to see. Skyscrapers and slums. Megamalls and sidewalk stands. No durians in public, but deodorant is optional. There is so much cool stuff to see and do, I just couldn’t manage it all in two days which is fine because I will go back.
My flight to Phuket has an awful lot of fair skinned people on it. Do they know they are going to look like pork rinds for their flight home? I won’t, though. I will bronze like those precooked rotisserie chickens from Costco.
I just want to get to the hotel so I can finally relax, sleep on the beach, and bronze like the goddess I am while sipping pomegranate juice.