Bangkok. Been in Bangkok for good 3 full days and 4th started today. I must say that this place is wonderful, has a lot to offer and I feel more like home because of the great people and environment in every aspect.
Saturday 05.09 Bangkok. On Saturday we went to the Grand Palace tourism attraction and.. decided to walk around town instead and see more of local life instead of the “must see” sights. We found a park with people relaxing, exercising, playing badminton and ping-pong. Also people photographing for.. the start or end of school (year) – did not ask. There were also quite a few people running in jeans and cotton shirts – which for me seems very interesting, but maybe this is their “winter time,” so it can be understood 🙂 We met a few girls from Taiwan on the way from Tallinn to Riga in the bus and, for us, the temperature in the bus was high e.g. warm, but the girls had winter jackets/jeans on, so with that comparison in mind, it can be even more understood.
Then we continued roaming around local neighbourhoods and found an semi-underground (probably Chinese) market. It was long every which way and had almost anything electronic you could imagine besides of high-end, probably. Even though I found a few high-end products there as well, but they could as well have been knock-offs. Oh, the thing I like about this place is that most people do not want to rip you off – they actually like people and want to make an honest living. A lot of places have signs e.g. “Not real leather” or especially marked “Official products.” To the trained eye – it can be seen that most likely they are telling the truth.
Why I said maybe Chinese market? Well, as we continued walking further, we reached some kind of a Chinese street. Not sure if it was THE Chinatown, but it was Chinese all right. We ate there, porkrib rice with Fantas (60-80-100 baht for food small-med-large and 10 baht for 0.5 Fanta) – will explain more about prices in the end of the post. Saw some cockroaches, which was fun – but it was “Woah” even for locals as they were walking by and seeing a couple of white people photographing something they too don´t like to see.
So we finished there, ate and were walking around and then as the time was reaching 7:30 pm we started going back home as I had a badminton play-training with the locals at My House venue with the Saturn club at 8-9pm. So we took the taxi from alleged Chinatown. We live quite far from the center, in a local area, but this place is very nice, I´m happy we´re staying here and not an apartment in center town. We are renting a room here through AirBnB and we love the hosts a lot – wonderful people and relaxing to stay here. So the distance between that place and home is about 14km, which is quite a lot and.. we took the cab – think for a moment, how much you think that trip cost? And by taxi I mean a proper taxi, with the taxi meter and air conditioning. Guess for a moment (you can guess in euros).
The cab ride was 135 baht, which is about 3€ and 40 cents. The exchange rate is about 39.41. Came home, packed our bag for training, hopped by the 7 Eleven to get some snacks and we were off. Again had to take the cab which was about 80 baht (~2 €) and back 80 baht later (~ 2€).
Once I arrived at the hall I was amazed at how good the conditions here in Bangkok (My House venue) are. It was hot as hell, though, but the courts and the hall was amazing. They had the rubber floors and very high ceilings, the lighting was actually rather okay – it did not disturb me at all, Estonian courts had worse lighting than here, at least it seemed to me. Or well, the lighting here doesn´t light AS MUCH, but it doesn´t disturb AT ALL – so that can be counted as a difference.
I played a few games and most people were on my level and higher, which was wonderful, but I had a lot of disturbing factors which were hard to ignore once playing. Firstly I think this is the first experience to actually play a decent match in a hot weather – I played in Ghana 3 years ago, but not as intensively as here. After playing first 7 points I felt like I needed a rest – heart was racing, also sweating strongly. I played like 2 games and then took a break – sat down and relaxed. Then the local coach who was organizing games set me with stronger players and played there – that became a lot more difficult – as now it was more about control and speed and those were something I didn´t have. Missed the shuttle a lot because of the fact that they had different shuttles then I was used to and well.. the weather as well – shuttle flight was a lot different – I can´t say faster or slower, just different. The local players were great – they had a lot of skills and were extremely fast with their shots. They did not run continuously as much as I´ve seen Europeans run, but they were much faster and had more skills. Maybe they did not run as much because of the weather here – as it tends to get very hot. But as the local players said – the conditions and temperature were “normal” for them 🙂
After a few matches I was extremely tired – had chills all over my body (hence the title), head was aching and legs/body felt like a very hot radiator. After a few minutes of downtime I was recovering, but really had to rest and lie down in order to feel better. Started needing cold drinks and later already took a small bucket with ice and added a local sweet drink there that was a present from Anek (the master of the Saturn club).
Anek was the person I contacted through BadmintonCentral Thailand, Bangkok training center possibilities and he welcomed us with grace. Wonderfully cheerful and friendly person. I think I like this fact most about Bangkok – most of the people I/we meet are very friendly and sincere. They are usually very honest and are not afraid to make/admit mistakes and forgive mine.
Oh and something interesting for me – I was able to do a few trickshots and saves that even the local people responded to with “wow” – well, heard that four times 🙂 That is nice that I can come to Asia and show a little bit of badminton that even they can be amazed at. To be honest those were very good trickshots that for some reason were easier to do here than back at home – maybe because of the temperature? Don´t know, but as it was a first time experience for me, I was still “stiff” and trying to control my body so I wouldn´t over heat and get sick.
Spot the difference(s) between these two pictures.
So yes, among other differences – the temperature in the hall was 33*c and later 32*c and we played badminton until 2 AM – from 9:30 pm to 2 am and started walking back to home and caught a cab on the way. Before catching the cab, we walked through some local places again to see a bit of what people are doing at night. There were a lot of motorcycles/rollers gathering and then driving all together – a local culture in a way 🙂
Sunday 06.09 Bangkok. We took a cab to the Chatuchak as that place had a weekend market. And oh boy, that was HUGE. There were so many “streets” of market that we just picked like a shortcut to pass from one point to another and walked a little on one side and we were there roughly for 1 hour without actually stopping anywhere. Huge. They were selling everything there – from street food, to clothes, to materials, electronics, souvenirs, crafted statues and wooden.. things – everything. Except for food products, but for that you need to go to another market.
After the market we head off to a local park where we saw a few cute animals with their alleged owners chilling in the shade. And we took the Skytrain from there for a few stops to go to the shopping center Siam.
Three short videos taken from the metro.
Firstly we went to Pantip Plaza, then to Siam center and then to MBK (which is considered nr1 shopping mall in Bangkok) – and they all were huge. Pantip Plaza had a lot of IT products – from computers, to coolers to mobile gadgets and were at quite a reasonable price. MBK was I think the biggest mall we have seen – we literally got lost there a few times – also a lot of clothes, IT, jewelry, ATMs/currency exchanges/4 or 5 bank offices, food, pharmacy, Watsons – anything one can hope for in possibly the biggest mall. After looking around and buying a few necessary things we ate there as well- bought some rice with mixed vegetables and shrimp and it was about 80 baht for a big plate (~2€).
Before going to MBK we found a milk cafeteria and bought a kiwi milk shake with fruits and oreo´s and – it was very delicious 🙂 110 baht, but it tasted great and was a good feeling to have a little sip of a milk product 🙂
After MBK we cought a little bit of cold as everything inside has air conditioning turned very low and outside the temperature is high – so the difference and having it constantly can not be very good 🙂 So we thought to take the metro Skytrain for a few stops and then get on a tuk-tuk, but.. the metro seemed more expensive than taking the cab. The metro from Siam to the final stop would be 52 baht per person + from the final stop to our house about 20-30 baht while taking the cab from mid town would cost about 120 baht. So strangely – getting more convenience, faster ride and private costs less, but well – that is mostly because we travel together. So when travelling with 2 or more people in Bangkok – a cab/tuk-tuk is recommended. When alone – probably the metro (Skytrain).
So we walked a bit – got some watermelons from the street carts (are about 10-15 baht for few slices), also got grilled chicken for 15-20 baht a stick. There´s a lot of street food you can buy and they´re quite close to each other. Water from a convenient store or somewhere local is about 5 to 10 baht, sometimes 20 baht for a big one, but rarely. One place I found 0.5l fanta for about 15 baht, other places it is from 20 to 25 baht – depending on the size. The shrimp here.. the shrimp 1kg is about 100 baht – ONE KILO of shrimp is about 2.5€.
We are still tasting the local food and trying to eat at different locations from time to time. It seems local Thai food is close to what me and Katja are used to eating – rice or noodles/spaghetti with seafood/pork/chicken with mixed vegetables/eggs etc. So the food here fits very well with what we like 🙂 We are planning to go to the food market soon and cook a few dishes for a few days and try to do it our own way – firstly much cheaper and secondly you have the endless possibilities to cook as you wish 🙂
If you have any questions, don´t hestitate to ask either on Facebook or write in comments – I´ll do my best to answer.
So we have about 11/12 days left here before we start moving to the South – quite possibly Chumphon/Mu Ko Chumphon National Park/Lamnm Kra Buri National Park/Ranong/Ngao Waterfall National Park and later maybe to Phuket/Krabi and then local islands and then off to Malaysia in the beginning of October.
OH, oh, and there was a meteorite here today it seems, did not see it with my own eyes though.