Happy Halloween! It’s actually the start of our second full day here in Bangkok. Before we leave the friendly confines of our guesthouse to check out this massive weekend market today, I wanted to tell you about our first day and first impressions of this massive city.
#1: We are slowly adjusting to the time change
We are far away from home. I am reminded by that when we want to send friends and family a quick picture or text and we have to stop and think about what time it is at home so we don’t wake everyone up. Time difference is twelve hours (for Chicago – Central time zone) here and we are feeling the effects still of the change. Yesterday we we woke up at about 4 am ready to go. We forced ourselves back to sleep for a few hours and then decided to start our day around 6:30. As a result, we hit a wall around 3 pm and took a two hour nap. It was awesome, but we almost didn’t get up for dinner.
#2: Jim Thompson was a pretty neat guy
Yesterday, we checked out the Jim Thompson House which is nearby our hotel. For $4 per person it includes a 40 minute tour of his home. So who is Jim? Jim is an American who made Thailand his home after visiting here during his stint in the military. He dedicated most of his life to collecting unique Asian art and has an impressive collection of old Buddha statues. His house in a main tourist attraction here in Bangkok and was formed by combining 6 traditional Thai teak style houses. He also was responsible for starting the Thai Silk industry after WWII. His house was completed in 1959 but unfortunately he had a short time to enjoy it as he mysteriously disappears in 1967 in Malaysia. Till this day, they are unsure exactly what happened to him.
#3 Thai Massages are awesome
After our visit to Jim’s house, we treated ourselves to our first Thai massage. It was awesome. For $10 (that includes a nice tip) we each had a 60 minute massage. It begins with a lot of stretching, which I was not expecting. Much different than your traditional Swedish massage. After you arrive, you are given clothes to change into and we were walked up to our room. It is a big room with several mattresses on the ground separated by curtains. Jeff and I had our own area with two beds next to each other. After 15 minutes of stretching out the legs, they move to your arms, and then back and head. My favorite part was the back and shoulders, but a word of caution because they don’t mess around with the pressure. Parts were a bit painful, but in a good way. We left there feeling pretty energized and ready to find a local spot for lunch. We actually plan to get another one today, and maybe every day we are here. How can you go wrong for $10 for an hour?
#4 The food is SPICY!
We had lunch at highly rate local spot in Siam Square. Luckily most restaurants have translations in English so you have some idea of what you are ordering. Jeff chose the green curry and rice, and I took a completely different route and just pointed to a picture they had that looked good. It ended up being a common Thai salad called Tom Sum, both were very very good, full of flavor – but also full of spice. By the end of the meal we were sweating and in a bit of pain on the account of the spice. I am sure the locals were looking at us like, are they going be ok? Another rookie mistake- I kept drinking water and the heat just kept spreading. I would have done anything for some milk. Instead, I just had to sit it out and wait 15 minutes for the heat to pass. Woah- it was intense. Given the level of heat on those two dishes, I will probably steer clear of any menu items that are specifically called spicy because I can’t imagine how hot those would be. We are looking forward to trying some more of the local dishes and seeing if we can build our heat tolerance. Oh, and the price- just $6 total.
#5 It’s getting hot in here
I read about the temperature here. I looked at it on our weather channel app. I knew it was going to be hot. It’s different though when you actually experience it. We’re land-locked in a concrete jungle with daily highs in the mid 90s. It’s steamy to say the least. What makes it more tricky is the fact that at temples and other religious spots you cannot wear shorts, tank tops or other “revealing” clothes. Long pants or skirts and shirts that cover the shoulders are required. Jeff brought jeans. Somehow he convinced me to bring jeans. Terrible idea. We’re headed to the market this morning in search of some linen (maybe silk??) pants that will allow us to visit the top sites in Bangkok without embarrassing ourselves with a nasty case of swamp-ass. I am looking forward to getting south to the islands for sure!