Sawadee-krup! (Hello!)

I’ve been tasked with giving the ‘first impressions’ post for Bangkok, and it’s really an interesting challenge. Landing in BKK was a whirlwind… we were still sleepy getting off the plane, slightly on edge by all of the people in uniform (free stay in the Bangkok Hilton?  No thanks.), and trying to take it all in as we tried to stay focused on the task of collecting our luggage.  Taxi touts called out to us, but we knew to ignore them and get in the official line. Money changers and banks were everywhere (literally – I counted over 12 in the arrivals hall.) A few thousand bhat in hand, we hopped in a cab, hit the highway, and became one of the millions driving into the city.
 
I won’t go through the play by play of check-in, but as soon as we got out of the cab, an army of bellhops and attendants was ready to whisk us up to our room on the 24th floor. It had a beautiful view and matched our expectations of the impressive hotel decor (but… Kavitha soon made a little more magic, upgrading us to a huge suite on the second night for the rest of our stay.)
 

Stepping out onto the street, ready to explore our new habitat – with a goal of finding lunch – we got our first taste of Bangkok, necks spinning round and round. Everyone who goes to the East loves to do a “here’s a list of juxtapositions” rant. Here’s mine:

  • Skytrain zipping along the elevated tracks above the road, with traffic in a standstill below.
  • Hawkers selling trinkets on the sidewalks in front of designer clothing stores.
  • A blend of shades of brown and gray from the ground to the buildings to the sky, with neon colored streetfood, taxis, and signs jumping out and grabbing our attention.
  • Everyone moving with a purpose, with children, workers, and revellers weaving confidently around the hesitant and the aimless.

Our experiences follow in later posts… but suffice it to say, we soon found our stride, no longer looking in from the outside, but truly joining the fray, and IT IS AWESOME.

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