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.
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.
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.
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?