We rode the train like children, full of curiosity and wonder, looking at the city with new eyes – no longer as tourists, but as future residents. Comparisons to Tokyo are inevitable, and in most cases, Tokyo’s going to win. No azure sky, sometimes so impossibly blue you can’t believe it’s real. It’s not even fair to compare the train system as I don’t believe there’s anywhere as efficient, to-the-minute, as Tokyo. The traffic! I’d heard about the traffic, but oh my! The good news is Brad isn’t allowed to drive in Thailand so he’ll (we’ll!) have a driver. I should get a lot of reading done. The heat and humidity reminded me of Tokyo (I made it to 11:00 before I had to pull my hair up. I’m thinking keratin and a short, choppy bob.), but in Tokyo you get a reprieve – October through May. Here it’s just going to get hot, hotter, and wetter. (I’m thinking cute little sundresses, cute little rain boots, and cute little umbrellas.)
Tokyo is vibrant and bustling but in an organized and polished fashion. Bangkok’s vibrance is chaotic, noisy, colorful. Street vendors at every turn beckon you with their wondrous aromas – noodles, curries, sausages, exotic fruits, incense. It’s a toss-up as to whether we’ll lose weight due to all the sweating or gain weight due to all the deliciousness.
We did the usual “Brad’s Walking Tour of (fill in the blank)”, trying to get a feel for the neighborhoods. We found the US Embassy, important in the event of an emergency, and the Holy Redeemer Catholic Church, important for my well-being. It’s a Thai-styled church, big and white, with a giant golden Jesus at the altar. People were spilling out on all sides, seated in white, plastic chairs. It felt like home. The words and music were the same. Brad said the Catholic church is the same everywhere. (I beg to differ. See Vietnam post, December, 2010.)
We met Daryl, a former ASIJ colleague, for dinner at Face. I predict Face will become a regular haunt. A rustic, old Thai wooden house with many levels and cozy nooks. You can choose from 3 restaurants – Thai, Japanese, or Indian – but who wouldn’t choose Thai? It was on the pricier side, but nowhere near as expensive as Tokyo. (1 point to Bangkok) We (I) peppered Daryl with questions. We already have a friend in Bangkok! (if I didn’t scare him away)
A new adventure awaits!