this is a quote from the book flatland by edwin a. abbott which was originally published in 1884 and which i highly recommend.
the flight to Bangkok took about 8 hours. I arrived at 7:30 in the morning. at 5 a.m. I started to watch a hilarious film. it’s called fantastic fr. fox and i really enjoyed it. like the congress, it is directed by wes anderson.
WELCOME TO BANGKOK
from suvarnabhumi airport i take the train to the city centre, phaya thai station, and then walk southward. to ratchathewi. to khao san road. an australian guy i had met at the station accompanies me. we decide to share a taxi. of course, once we arrive at khao san, people start to check us out. ‘whatcha need? any help? massage? girls? two girls?’ we walk together for a while until we split up. all the best, good luck, be safe! same to you, my friend, peace.
i start to look around and ask a couple if they know a good place to stay. they said ‘all over’ but couldn’t quite pin one down for me which excels (and why should they?). they told me that cafes with free WiFi abound. shortly after that a man points out a police station to me. says I can get reliable tourist info there, on accommodation, travel tickets etc. so i go in and I am welcomed by a friendly man. he hands out a map to me indicating areas I shouldn’t book cuz it’s overpriced. shows me the way to the next tourist information centre. tells me not to give the tuk-tuk driver more than 20 baht for a tour to the info centre and the ride to my hostel. two minutes later i am sitting in a tuk-tuk. the driver’s name is Ko. let’s go.
what follows is a two-hour odyssey through the city.
in the first info centre a very nice woman called Aon gives me further advise. she organizes the days until the end of october. only 8,900 baht. i tell her i will think about it. she says I can come back every time. I go out. ko is waiting for me. he says it’s good i did not book. ‘too expensive, they are,’ he says, patting my left shoulder confidentially. I tell him where I’d like to go, namely a guesthouse that had been recommended to me by a good friend (thank you, dear nina!) and he replies: ‘i know something better.’ and transports my greenhorn ass to yet another travel/tourist agency.
so i introduce my vague plans to this lady. that conversation got weird when she began to push: ‘so are you going to book or not? what are you waiting for? don’t think so much.’ outside the monsoon rains started to transform the streets into rivers. i ask if there is WiFi available here at Tourist Information Thailand. no, there isn’t. maybe she could help me check if the guesthouse i’d like to go to is full already? she don’t know that guesthouse. i pack up. sitting outside, Ko and I watch the rain pour down for about ten minutes. we small-talk about the weather in Austria, then fall silent and let the sky do the talking. when it is time to leave, I indicate an intersection where he should please bring me. he says: ‘no good, it’s full of mafia!’ -‘alright, then put me there, Ko, next to the bridge.’ but instead of doing that he brings me to a different inn. given that this time i had followed the tuk-tuk route with the helper’s map in hand i can tell he stops somewhere else. i give him 20 baht, tell him i am disappointed he won’t bring me to the place I want to go. but thanx for the ride. hav a nice one, ko.
i fetch some water at 7-eleven and walk through the heavy rain to an area near the chao phraya river. water inside. water outside. water everywhere around. i look around, try to get a room at one of the hostels but two. guest house is full. the second one, flapping duck, has got a bed in a 4-pax-dormitory. i meet a guy from pinzgau. friendly people. river view. i feel at home at once.
during the day i got to know people from spain and mallorca, china, canada, germany and austria. i went to the pier, strolled along khao san road. in the evening i ate spicy veggie curry and got a great foot massage. and i learned some thai: sabai sabai!