Friday, September 27, 2013

Bangkok from a Taxi

Since I'm on doctor-ordered bed rest, aside from visits to the hospital each day, I'm not seeing much of Bangkok, which is a shame.  The good news, though, is many of the taxi drivers take the back roads to avoid the very crowded Sukhumvit and Thanglor roads.  Some things I've noticed...

  • I keep passing a Japanese pizza place.  I'm intrigued and a wee bit frightened.  Raw fish on pizza could work.  Wasabi could be ok.  But in general?  No, the idea of Japanese pizza doesn't appeal.  But, they deliver and it's not far from my hotel.  I might have to give it a try.
  • Clearly Bangkok is the place to go if you'd like to do a little something to improve your appearance.  The 6 minute drive from the hospital to the hotel stretched into almost an hour today even via the backroads.  While I sat in the back of the taxi I contemplated all the signs at the clinics offering all sorts of treatments to make me look younger and more beautiful.  Frankly, I'm just not sure where I'd even start.
  • I love the creativity in the driving here.  The back roads are very narrow.  If traffic is heavy in one direction, cars and motorcycles will just take over the other lane as well.  Too bad for oncoming traffic, who actually have the right of way.  They just pull into a side street.  I also like how people will stop to let cars turn or pull ahead.  If they didn't, traffic would eventually just stop.
  • How much do you suppose the security guards are paid?  Part of their job is to step in front of on coming traffic to stop it so that cars can come out of whatever business/residence they're guarding.  They do the same thing in Myanmar.  I've never seen anyone hit but I've seen some guards leap out of the way when drivers don't stop for them.
  • Bangkok is divided, informally, into ethnic areas.  My hospital is in the Japanese area.   One hotel where I stayed was in an Arabic neighborhood.  My current hotel seems to be in an Irish area, or at least a neighborhood where Irish pubs are popular.
  • I ordered food delivered from Sunrise Tacos.  It's a good Tex-Mex chain that offers 24 hour delivery.  I'm using the excuse that I'm supposed to stay in bed as an excuse to order the delivery.  And because I like Mexican food.  The desk clerk at the hotel just called my room to ask if I was having American food delivered.  Yes, I guess this type of Mexican food really is American food.
  • Driving past the many high end furniture stores and car dealerships says a lot about the amount of money people in Bangkok have.  Mercedes?  Bentleys?  Really beautiful Persian carpets and extraordinary furniture?  All readily available.
  • There are many high-end eateries in this part of Bangkok.  In front of or very close to many of them are food carts on the street.  I wonder if it bothers the restaurant owners or if the clientele is so different that it doesn't matter.
  • As I sat is completely stopped traffic, a food vendor road his bicycle past.  I knew he was a food vendor because he'd tricked out his bicycle to have a "table" holding his cooking area on the front of the bike.  It included a small grill, which was cooking some type of meat skewers as he pedaled past.  Smelled delicious. 

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