Bangkok Canals

One of my favorite bits of my stay in Bangkok was a longboat ride through some of the city’s canals. I did basically no research about the city or the country before we went, so I didn’t know about the canals until we got on the boat and headed up river. But, turns out that there is a large network of canals that spider throughout the city, connecting all corners to the big slow river that the city straddles. And, while the streets are crazed and crowded, the canals are downright placid. Aside from boats full of tourists, there were only a handful of locals scooting around in little skiffs.

It’s a completely different side of the city.


Nikon D90

Practically idyllic, by comparison.


Nikon D90

The open air and sunlight make a good place for growing plants:


Nikon D90

… or for putting up art galleries:


Nikon D90

And the canals are home to thousands of catfish which hang around waiting for people to feed them.


Nikon D90

It’s good luck (or so the signs all say, in English) to feed the fish. And so there are people who make a living selling fish pellets.

And then there are the monitor lizards who lounge around on the banks of the canal, menacing anyone who gets close:


Nikon D90

A bit of nature, in the middle of a city of more than 6M people.

Bang

Bangkok is enormous and crowded and stinky in the way that most big cities can be, but more so.

IMG_2794.JPG

There is great food and beautiful stuff everywhere. But you often have to walk through some unbelievably horrid smells to get to it.

IMG_2443.JPG

IMG_2452.JPG

And yes, it’s hot. While the air temp is actually cooler than a summer in NC, the humidity is always near 100% – and, we don’t go outside at home. Here, you sweat and sweat and sweat.

There was a lot of sweating at the beach house we were at, too. But this was the view:

IMG_2618.JPG

And this is the dining room and kitchen. Open to the air. And to the critters.

IMG_2635.JPG

It was a pretty swank place, but it was cheaper than most any beach house we’ve ever had in the US. And far nicer. There was a driver on call all day to take us anywhere (we used him to drive us to the supermarket for beer and wine, mostly). Also as part of the house package, cooks were available to come in and cook dinner for us. We paid the cost of ingredients plus a small charge for their labor. Homemade Thai food! We tipped them well.

The Thai food we get in the US is pretty much identical to the dishes in Thailand: a green curry here is the same as a green curry there. The differences are that there is a lot of dishes there that we never see here, and the ingredients in the dishes we do get are slightly different (different greens, different fish, etc.). But, overall, if you like Thai food in the US, you’ll like Thai food in Thailand.

Food on the street is crazy, everywhere, and cheap. It’s also a little squicky. There are, apparently, no sanitary regulations and so it’s not unusual to see a big pile of raw meat sitting uncovered on a cart before being fried, surrounded by flies and bees.

I’m happy to not have to drink water from plastic bottles anymore.

Thailand is pretty cheap: most things, most places. Taxis, clothes, food and the little wooden Buddhas you see everywhere are super-cheap. Booze and electronics and jewelry are not. Also, you have to watch out for people trying to rip you off, for they are everywhere. Do not take a taxi or tuk-tuk (little open-air taxi carts) if the driver says “just one stop” – he’s going to take you to a bespoke tailor who will try to sell you a suit – happened separately to two couples, one day. The clothes are cheap, though – can’t speak to the quality.

Getting there ain’t easy, though. It took us 29 hours to get home yesterday – Bangkok to NC. Zero layover – running from gate to gate.

Long boat

IMG_2604.JPG

Thailand has some spectacular stuff in the water.

And to get to it, you ride in these crazy long boats that have, no shit, car engines mounted on long poles – one end has a prop, the engine is on the other and the driver swivels it around to steer.

IMG_2615.JPG

They just park them on the beach. Docks ? None.

But they can take you here :

IMG_2605.JPG

Which is just up the beach from this huge cliff.

IMG_2607-0.JPG

And if you go into the gap on the right side of that, you can see this guy climbing up the 70 feet or so on the side of that small rock:

IMG_2608.JPG

And this woman doing sexy poses for her guy:

IMG_2606.JPG

And there are monkeys.

Adventure

19 hours in the air. A half dozen in layovers. We turn on our cell phones for the first time to learn that the key we gave the house sitter did not fit the door. She’s more resourceful than we imagined – she got in through a window, somehow. The cats probably appreciate that.

I don’t know what day it is.

IMG_2390.JPG

Small Town Values

This is where I graduated from high school:

HUDSON FALLS — Numerous teens face criminal charges after a series of incidents in which they lured victims to places where they beat them and videotaped the attacks as they occurred, police said.

One of the victims later brought a knife to school to protect himself from further attacks, according to Hudson Falls Police.

Hudson Falls Police investigated three incidents in a matter of weeks involving different groups of teens, charging several people with conspiracy to commit assault and endangering the welfare of a child for incidents that happened at a home, in a convenience store parking lot and at Hudson Falls High School.

No serious injuries were reported.

The motive seemed to be the perceived thrill of assaulting other people, videotaping it and sharing the videos through electronic devices, Police Chief Randy Diamond said.

In a previous post I said my friends and I were no strangers to the police. That was true, but we never did anything like this. We never hurt anyone.

Start Your iPods

Double-stuffed this week, because there won’t be one next week!

  1. Smashing Pumpkins – Smiley. From their Peel Sessions. I like.
  2. Jim Kweskin & The Jug Band – My Gal
  3. Pavement – Date With Ikea. That’s a great, late, Pavement song. Melodic enough, slack enough.
  4. Boris – Electric. Grinding, screeching, noisy: Boris.
  5. Bishop Allen – Rain. Pleasant guitar pop. Probably would fit well on a triple bill with Vampire Weekend and Matt Pond PA.
  6. NiN – Gave Up. Wow. I haven’t heard this in forever. Classic fast angry NiN, live!
  7. Beck – Scarecrow. Another one I’d forgotten about. Good stuff.
  8. Hilkka – Last April. Very post-rock: angular and cyclical with spoken vocals, very Slint / June Of 44. Good, though!
  9. Elliott Smith – Needle In The Hay. Verses are good, but I do not like the chorus. He had better.
  10. Wye Oak – The Tower. I resist this album because they traded her guitar for synths, and I loved her guitar. But, these are good songs. Kindof a mid-80s feel.

U?