Last week and the week before, I managed to wade through all the interviews, exams and paperwork associated with the end of a semester, and now I couldn’t be farther from that atmosphere. I’m writing this post sitting in an outdoor bar/restaurant in Bangkok on one of the side streets of Sukhumvit Road, one of the main thoroughfares and tourist areas of The Big Mango. I said goodbye to each of my classes and most of my students were happy to see me go, ummm . . . , that is to say, they wished me well on my vacation. If you’re interested, you can view the class photos I took here.
When I left Incheon Airport yesterday, it was raining and had been doing so for hours. Bangkok, in contrast, was sunny, humid and hot. When I walked out of air-conditioned Suvarnabhumi Airport, I was smacked in the face with the sights, sounds, smells, and feelings of Bangkok. I suppose it was more like my senses being eveloped by a big, wet dish rag as I was immediately soaking with sweat. However, it was not an unfamiliar nor unpleasant feeling, but more like a welcoming one. For those who’ve never visited Thailand before, the impression can be overwhelming and off-putting, or addicting. I’m addicted.
The best time to see the city is in the early morning, before all the hustle and bustle begins and when it’s still fairly cool. That’s what I did today, taking the sky train a few stops up Sukhumvit from the Nana stop, where my hotel is located, then walking to the MBK (Mahboonkrong) shopping mall, with time out to take a few photos of the Central World mall, site of a huge fire during the recent protests.
Here’s a shot of the former Zen World, an upscale portion of the huge mall. This one’s from my compact digital cam, and when I return to Korea, I’ll post some from the big DSLR.
(EDIT: I keep beating my head against a brick wall, trying to upload the photo using the computer from an Internet shop near my hotel, but it just isn’t working. I’ll try again at another time and place.)
(EDIT AGAIN: Got it uploaded finally.)
It was a nice walk, with the only bummer being that I lost my Mio watch, which has a built-in heart-rate monitor, timer, and calorie counter. It cost about $100 and it was great for jogging. The watchband had broken and I had put it in my bag where my camera was at. There was about 3/4 of the band still attached to the watch, and when I took out the camera, the band must have hooked onto the camera strap and then fallen to the ground unnoticed by me. I’ll probably order a new one from Amazon.com. In the meantime, I’ll get a cheap timepiece here. In fact, I saw a street vendor who is selling Rolexes for $20. Wow, what a great deal!
I’m taking the train to Nong Khai tomorrow evening to go see Nai. I’ll post more later.