Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Tuesday, August 26th - Bangkok, Thailand

For our final days in Bangkok we decided to keep it simple.  So today we began with a long, long walk to and through Lumphini Park, which looks to be the largest park in the city.  We meandered through a couple markets, down a few busy streets, packed with traffic, across a footbridge, then hopped Frogger-style, across a crazy busy street and finally arrived to the green oasis.  The park itself had quite a few people there – many bikers, locals doing Tai Chi, backpackers strolling around, families having picnics and a lot of folks just sitting around, enjoying the sunny day.  There are several small lakes in this park, so we headed towards one of them, and as we approached saw something long swimming through the water.  As it came close we realized it was a monitor lizard!  And he wasn’t the only one, as we walked we saw dozens of them, some smaller ones who were on land, digging in the ground for worms, and some really big ones who stayed in the water and on the banks, and eyed us warily as we passed by.

We found a big playground so the kids played there while and Ana and I sat on one the benches, discussing our impressions of this city.  Bangkok is truly a world class city and really has something for everybody.  Besides the many rats Ana has seen lurking both day and night around the outside food vendors (she HATES rodents, like I mean she has a spaz attack when she sees one), she has really liked Bangkok.  It is quite clean, very cheap for a major city, has so much variety, great shopping, cheap markets, great food, and so much to see and do.  The air pollution is quite nasty, but that is probably unavoidable with all the two stroke motorbikes buzzing around and all the other millions of vehicles belching their exhaust into the air.  I think it’s a place we could easily live in for a while, perhaps a future contract here when the time is right?

After touring the park (and on the way out passing by an outdoor gym with the oldest and rattiest fitness equipment you could imagine) we walked back through the congested city, passing by Patpong road and an awesome open sewer river that smelled so bad it made my eyes water.  At the end of this long, sweaty walk was the Neilson Hays library, located right beside the British Club, and keepers of the largest English book collection available in Thailand.  Whenever we travel I like to visit libraries, and this one was especially fantastic as it was in the middle of a ferociously busy area, but was nestled away behind a barrier of beautiful trees and offered a peaceful, quiet refuge.  We each found a book to read and collapsed on the bean bag chairs and read for a couple hours.  They had an area with books for sale so we also picked up some reading material for the long plane ride home, which was fast approaching.

Beside the library was a cafĂ© so we had lunch, then walked back to the hotel and spent the rest of the day and evening chilling out.  One day left…

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