Avoiding Happy Songkranners
I head out early to scout around.
There is nobody on the street, so I am safe, for the moment, from the happy Songkranners. But the streets of Surawong are deserted. This is the most important day of Songkran, and it appears that most of the shops and businesses, at least in our part of town, will remain closed today.
One that will open, according to its sign, is our internet café, and so Greg and I head there shortly after it opens, at 12:30, to update the web, check email, and make some reservations for the next part of our trip. We spend a couple of hours there, and by the time we head out to the street, it is mayhem. There are more people throwing water, and more pick up trucks full of people driving the streets throwing water, than we’ve seen so far. We head into a little restaurant for lunch, while we try to figure out how to get back to the hotel without our computer having a pail of water dumped on it. We come up with a strategy, and it works! We get back safe and sound. Safe and sound (and dry!) in Surawong.
Going in Circles
It is Graeme’s last night in Bangkok, so he comes over and we have a drink at our hotel. We head out to dinner to a restaurant suggested by a Thai friend of his, San, called Ban Klang Nam. It is right on the river, and San tells us that it serves excellent seafood. The taxi ride is, as all taxi rides are, disorienting – we seem to go in circles, down a major street that inexplicably ends, through 4 or 5 sois, then back onto a major street that will soon change directions – all 10 lanes will all of a sudden become 1 way, the wrong way, so we will head down more back streets. Finally, we turn down a soi that could be a movie set of the kind of street you don’t go down after dark, and down at the end is the restaurant. The only other farang in the place have also been brought there by Thais. We are lucky – we get a table right on the water. San orders the meal, and it is as billed. The fried whole fish is delicious, and the calamari with chillies is even better. We have a nice Australian white with the meal – a real luxury in Thailand, where, as has been true throughout SE Asia, wine is expensive. The meal is still a bargain, just over 500 baht each, about C$17.
We taxi back to Surawong, and carefully shop the night market. Patpong 2 is safe – it has no cars. We move over to Patpong 1, and Graeme and I say no – there is water being thrown everywhere. So we shop back down the other side of Patpong 1, back to Surawong. On the way, we buy a couple of CDs, about $3 each, and I buy a new wallet – no major label, so unlikely to be counterfeit, but made of stingray leather.
We sit and have a beer on the street – the craziness at midnight seems confined to Patpong 2, and then head back to the comfort of the A/C.
Thursday, April 15th, 2004: Bangkok, Thailand