Sunday, October 14, 2018

I walked through a door sideways (Bangkok)

Hey! I'm finally caught up to where I am. That being said, I'm scheduling this post for ten days in the future, so who knows what I'm actually doing.

I arrived in Bangkok on October 1 around noon. The flight, having been delayed from around six at night to seven in the morning due to Typhoon Trami was okay enough - I finished Agatha Christie's The Mysterious Affair at Styles on the way. Going through immigration was a bit different, but easy enough and I'd arranged with my hotel (technically a guest house - I don't know the difference) to have a taxi waiting for me. Sure, it cost extra, but I wasn't super ready to start my Bangkok adventure with a taxi driver who didn't understand me (Anchorage was enough of a headache).

In a room that had its own bathroom for the first time, I was feeling pretty well set to go and explore. After a nap, of course.

For the most part, I've just been exploring the mile or so radius around Bangkok's Democracy Monument by foot. On my first expedition I found a museum of coinage (which had a great exhibit on the late king), the post office (now to find postcards!), a cool fortress, and the famed "Backpacker Street" - which was pretty tame on a random Monday afternoon.

The fort overlooks the river here and I've spent a few days in the area just watching boats go by. It's a cheap way to spend a few hours. The first time I went there was a whole class of art students, who I think possibly came from an art studio nearby. There's a museum that cost money to the east of the little fort and a very nice museum that's free just a bit south of it.

In the museum of coinage, I learned that the late king was a bit of an inventor - he came up with ways for the Thai people to thrive and survive given their status as a nation. One of his inventions was a water aerator that, by simply lifting water and letting it fall again, added oxygen to the water which somehow helps with pollution.

Just west of the Democracy Monument is a very easily overlooked monument to a protest held in the 70s. The tippy top is a spire just a little bit above ground height, but it's actually a three-story convention space to encourage people congregating and taking part in the political process.

The big hit of my first few days in Bangkok was the Siam Museum (Mu-SIAM, as one poster put it). Free after 4pm, it's a cool collection about the history of Thailand and what it means to be Thai. They have a very weird and cool box display where one flips a lightswitch to see "what the world sees" and "what Thai people see" - my favorite was Ronald McDonald doing the Wai turning into some god.

I'm afraid I don't really have much to report on this entry - either I was sightseeing, writing in the library, or consuming media at the guest house. Expect little else from the next update as well!

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