Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Welcome to The city of angels, the great city, the eternal jewel city, the impregnable city of God Indra, the grand capital of the world, aka Bangkok

We flew into Bangkok about a week ago and were blown away by the abundance of delicious street food and creative sidewalk sale fashions. Bangkok is a very modern city. Every once in awhile you can spot an old wooden remnant hidden in the shadow of a Vegas-style hotel. Bangkok's public transportation and mall selection is more diverse and classy than San Francisco's: brand-new-looking Skytrain monorails, squeaky clean subways, neon pink cabs (though prices are still negotiable) and a phenomenon that has not yet reached SF: VIP movie theater seating that combines luxury clubbing table service with lazy boy cinema.

Even the trains are classy. We caught a train down to Surat Thani en route to the ferry to Koh Samui and Thai trains put China's to shame. Fold down beds luxuriously wide that convert into comfortable chairs. People selling ice cold cans of beer for a dollar. Windows that open. What more could you ask for from a sleeper train?

We have worked our way up the Samui archipelago. Although palm-studded white sand blue water beaches are beautiful, Koh Samui seemed disappointingly overdeveloped. Koh Phangan was better, but we missed the half moon party and left before the black moon party and didn't want to stick around for the real deal Full moon party so it seemed like it wasn't quite reaching it's full potential. A beach community waiting in the trough for the next monstrous wave of tourists to come crashing down on its shores. We just arrived on Koh Tao and it seems to come the closest to a remote island paradise, but I feel like all the cultural awareness and worldliness I have gained over the past two months in China, Lao, Cambodia and Vietnam have been blasted away in one short week of bucket cocktail, white sand beaches and tourist overload.

Soon we will escape to the west coast, which may or may not be different. Soon enough we will take a one-way visa run to Malaysia because we actually want to go to Malaysia rather than go there just to renew our visas so that we can come back to Thailand... I can see how this would be a good place for a relaxing tropical vacation. but I am here to learn.

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