Off-shore Adventures

Bangkok Street Scenes

The countdown has begun. It’s twelve months tomorrow since our last trip to Bangkok. And it’s seven weeks tomorrow until we leave on our trip to Laos, which includes a stopover in Bangkok.

I can’t wait but I’m a grown up so I have to. As my Mum used to say, patience is a virtue; or, all good things come to those who wait. Neither change the fact that I’m excited.

We’ve had our jabs, got the scripts for doxycycline – although we’re still debating whether to take it – or at least I am.

I’ll probably buckle. This time around we’re expecting to be in areas where malaria is a problem. I’ll be slapping on the dreaded Deet as well. Last time I tried out a more eco-human-friendly mosquito repellent. It didn’t work. Mozzies just lurrrvvv me.

I’m getting close to over-gadgeted. I’m taking phone, kindle, laptop, and camera! Plus adapters, chargers and a multi-plug. Travelling light has changed – at least if you’re like me and have the urge to tell the world what you’re up to. To get ready I’ve been reading blogs about how to manage travel with gadgets, how to stay safe on-line, and how to pack effectively and efficiently.

While we’re in Bangkok the difficult part will be deciding which of our favourite places to revisit and which new places to include. No matter how we resolve the matter, it’ll be just fine. In a city of 10 million there aren’t many opportunities to get bored.

I have one must do, no matter what. Drinking Thai Iced Tea and people watching on Soi 81, Sukhumvit Road. The tea is made with strong black tea, ice, sweetened condensed milk, sugar, evaporated milk, and spices. I love it. Along with mango sticky rice it’s the reason that, despite a “slight” digestive problem, I didn’t lose an ounce during either of our previous visits.

House Construction, Soi 81 Sukhumvit Road, Bangkok  Dec 2012

House Construction, Bangkok Dec 2012

Sukhumvit, Soi 81 (Soi is a term for side road) is off the beaten track, well away from the usual tourist haunts of Khao San Road, the night scene of Nana, or the business area of Asok. And that’s how I like it.

It’s a place where it’s relatively easy to watch the day-to-day activities of the locals.

Across the road from the café where I like to get my iced tea  construction on this house was well underway when we first visited. The framing is bamboo. The workers were pouring concrete bucket by bucket.

Almost finished, November 2013

Almost finished, November 2013

By November 2013 it was almost finished. I expect the owners will be settled in now.

Along Soi 81 there are no footpaths. Pedestrians, cars, cyclists, trucks, scooters transporting entire families or an entire livelihood, all share the same road. It thrums with activity. It’s exhilarating. Walking along the road for the first time, exclaiming and pointing, and yes, I may have been waving my arms about excitedly, my son, who was living in Bangkok at the time, said to me, “Mum, don’t make any sudden movements.” It’s the best travel advice/survival tip I’ve had. Staying safe in that frenetic environment relies on everyone behaving predictably – including small, grey-haired, middle-aged women from far away places.

Although these street scenes don’t look so busy, getting even partially unobscured shots required adhering to my mother’s advice.  It also involved a lot of waiting.

My favourite photo from that day is this gentleman transporting his stall to market.

To market, to market

To market, to market

On days when I think my job is difficult I remember the man with the umbrella.

Tell me, where are your favourite off the beaten track scenes?

20 replies »

  1. I’ll put jealousy aside (well, I’ll try to) and consider that from your part of the world travel times will be so much shorter to the Far East. (how long?) I have to confess to never having much fancied the crazy business of Bangkok, but oh those temples, I’ve always had a yearning for!
    I got myself in a bit of a hole trying to catch up after my last little jaunt, Jill, but blogging on the road isn’t really me either. I’d rather just live the experience and look back. Having lost my phone I’m about to enter the world of the touch screen and smart phone. God help the world is all I can say! I had the world’s oldest Nokia till it ‘swam off’. Oooh, I bet you’re excited!!! 🙂

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  2. the tea sounds delicious – mmm – and thanks for two new words – Mozzies and soi – I also want to check out the link you have for staying safe online.
    anyhow, enjoyed the photos and I bet it will be a bust net couple of months for you… 🙂

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  3. Seven weeks is a long time away to be wishing you a safe and enjoyable trip, but maybe it will add to your excitement. I remember a woman who worked with me in the lat ’90s. She and her husband were going on vacation to Disney World and she started checking the weather in Orlando daily, about 5 months in advance. It’s always good to have that childlike anticipation working for you. I look forward to the posts after the trip.

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  4. Looking forward to your posts on Laos Jill. I agree with the travel light, I used to, but now with all the technology and peripheral stuff almost need a second bag for it all…Love the busyness of Bangkok, been a long while since we were there.

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    • Thanks Pommepal, Bangkok is growing so fast – so much construction – and I read somewhere this week that more a thousand new vehicles are registered each day. I know that Vientiane (capital of Laos) is growing quickly, too. But it is quite a lot smaller – I think the population is only about 750,000 – still more than ten times the size of my town.

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