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Posts Tagged ‘bangkok’

Road? What road?

February 7, 2005 Leave a comment

We’re back in Thailand, arrived yesterday afternoon after a totally hellish bus ride from Siem Reap to the Cambodia/Thailand border. 159 kilometers in 6 hours. They allege that there’s a road along that route, I’d like to dispute that. Most of it is a two-lane dirt track, and the bits that are tarmacked are so damaged that they may as well not be.

And it feels so wonderful to be back in this country. :)

We stayed in a very nice place called the Aran Mermaid Hotel in Aranyaprathet last night. Worth a stay if you ever happen to be in the area.

Up at 5am this morning for the 6:40 train from Aran to Bangkok. We’re now staying at the Atlanta Hotel. A very cool place with a great 1950s vibe, and well away from the Khao San Road backpacker area. Between noon and 1pm they play recordings of jazz tunes composed by the King (of Thailand that is, not Elvis), so we’re looking forward to hearing some of that.

I also discovered that I will be in Hong Kong on the night of Chinese New Year, the year of the Rooster, which is also my Chinese astrological sign. Synchronicity?

That’s it for now. Take care.

Cheers,
Paul C./Karsoe

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City Of Angels

January 14, 2005 Leave a comment

Hello from Bangkok.

Officially known as Krung Thep.

More officially known as Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Ayuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit.

It seems as if any city known as the City Of Angels has a very long official name. Los Angeles, for example, is officially called El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina de los Angeles de Porcincula.

Jen and I are still here, but have booked bus tickets to Koh Chang on the way to Cambodia. We head off tomorrow, ETA in Cambodia currently unknown. We have visas, that’s the main thing.

We’ve been having loads of fun exploring the city, finding new and cool placs for food and drink, visiting temples and other sacred areas (the pub for instance). :) And meeting some very friendly cats at a monastery. Getting a bit of writing done. And some reading. Letting the important lessons of life filter through my mind and into my heart. And also getting some tips on how to bring it all back to Australia with me and make it a part of my everyday life. That’s one thing I really hope to accomplish.

So yes, the amazing adventure continues. Not sure of the Internet situation in Koh Chang, but I’ll be sure to get in touch when I can.

Cheers,
Paul C./Karsoe

Categories: Travel Tags: , , ,

Home again?

January 9, 2005 Leave a comment

Here I am, safe & sound and significantly less hung over than when last we met…

Getting on the Thai Air flight from Siagon was a little strange. I was greeted by the flight attendant with “Sawadee ka” and felt instantly comfortable. I could’ve only felt in more familiar surroundings if I’d stepped onto a Qantas plane and met with a “G’day”.

Landing in Bangkok 65 minutes later was also a very cool feeling. It really did feel as familiar as landing in Mascot.

Getting through to the outside world, however, was a total balls-up on my past. Knowing you could get a visa on arrival, I then proceeded to follow the completely wrong process and delayed my exit from the airport by an hour. Grr… I then got a taxi but failed to factor in the Friday arvo traffic. Another hour to the guesthosue Jen was staying in.

Seeing the tuk-tuks, Golden Mount, Democracy Momument, Grand Palace, and yes even Khao San Road filled me even more with a sense of coming home rather than landing in a foreign country. And while there’s a lot more traffic than in Vietnam, it’s also a lot quieter. No vigorous tootling of any kind. :)

FINALLY met up with Jen, we talked, we laughed, we ate some great food, we spoke vaguely about our next move to Cambodia, and we slept soundly. It was the first bit of quiet I’d had in 18 days. Magical.

This evening after dinner we found a department store and bought a kettle so we can enjoy the Vietnamese coffee I bought in Hué. Then bought a few more things from a nearby supermarket. The whole time it kept hitting me that this felt truly like where I lived. It was weird, but very cool.

[yawn!] I suspect I’m still somewhat knackered from my Vietnam adventure. :) So I’ll head off and wish you all a good night.

Old bicycles and ancient temples

December 2, 2004 Leave a comment

BANGKOK, THAILAND – I’m back in the capital after a restful week near the Kwai River. My Irish and German travel mates have gone their separate ways but I’ve since met up with Jen, an amazingly cool Canadian, and we’ve been seeing the sights around Bangkok, sampling some awesome food, and taking some scary tuk-tuk rides. We found some very interesting areas of the city away from the “tourist track” of Khao San Road, great market places and food stalls and temples.

On Tuesday we went to a town 85km north of Bangkok, called Ayuthaya, which long ago was the capitol of the Kingdom of Siam before the Burmese invaded and destroyed most of the city in 1767. There are many Khmer style ruins in the town, so we rented a couple of fairly dodgy pushbikes and cycled about to check them out. It’s been a damn long time since I rode a pushbike, but I survived and even today am kind of surprised that my legs don’t feel like jelly.

As someone from a fairly young country, it was truly awe-inspiring to stand among structures that were 400 years old at the time Australia was being settled by Europeans. At one point I walked into what’s left of an old temple and felt something flow through me that I can’t explain. Nor can I yet describe how it felt, I guess you’ll have to wait for my travel journal to be completed. :)

We then got on the oldest train in the universe (maybe) for the ride back to Bangkok. I’ve heard that the trains in Vietnam are older, and slower. I’d like to see that. :) Might generate a more charitable attitude towards CityRail.

Still haven’t fully decided what my next move will be; the prospect of going to Laos makes me a little nervous now, but I still want to go to Vietnam, and Angkor Wat in Cambodia is a must I reckon.

Many of the reasons I came here are a little obscure, I guess, but some of the changes I asked for seem to be happening. It’s not easy to explain. This is the most laid-back place I’ve ever been to. Everything runs at it’s own pace. Things just work, despite the chaos on the surface. I just can’t understand how or why the West in general gets hung up on trivial matters to the point where things that should work just don’t. One thing I wanted to learn was patience and gratitude, and these things are definitely forming within me.

I hope everyone is well, take care, will write again soon.

Moving On

November 19, 2004 Leave a comment

BANGKOK, THAILAND – I’m off to a town called Kanchanaburi tomorrow. The town is not well known, but the river near it (and moreso, the bridge over that river) is quite famous, it’s the Kwai River. I suspect it will be a nice break from Bangkok, there’s apparently some good hiking to be done and some spectacular waterfalls nearby. I’ll be there for Loy Krathong, which is held on the full moon in November (the last full moon in the Thai lunar calander). It’s a ritual that involves floating a candle and incense down a river, and if the candle stays lit until it’s out of sight you will have good luck for the following year.

Today I visited the Grand Palace, and as soon as I entered the gate I got a sense of the history and power of the old Saimese kingdom. The buildings are just spectacular, and the military guards looked more like they should be studying for their high school exams rather than guarding the Palace. :)

I also went to Wat Pho, a very old temple complex which houses the largest reclining Buddha in Thailand. I spent about an hour just strolling around the grounds there, and left with an amazing feeling of serenity (which, surprisingly, has not been shattered by the chaos that is Bangkok’s peak hour).

I’m a bit miffed that I didn’t bring a camera, but honestly, photos can’t do justice to half of what I’ve seen.

Categories: Travel Tags: , ,

Greetings from Bangkok

November 14, 2004 Leave a comment

Well, I survived the trip. I’m just surviving Bangkok too. Anyone who reckons Sydney is intense should pop over here for a while, it redefines the term.

It’s alledgedly almost winter here too, but you wouldn’t know it. The humidity definitely prompts bulk consumption of beer (which, to the surprise of many of you, I’ve not yet done).

I haven’t really done a lot yet, the trip knackered me (I was awake for 27 hours), so I’ve just been strolling about and trying to get oriented and resting. Well, trying to. It seems that I landed in the middle of a large and surprisingly boisterous Buddhist festival, which basically involves lots of very loud music, lion dancing and fireworks until about 2am.

I have to find somewhere else to crash today, and will have a look at some of the temples later this arvo.

Two things about Bangkok:
1. They don’t seem to have traffic rules here, more like traffic suggestions.
2. I’m yet to figure out what purpose the pedestrian crossings serve.

I also saw something very scary last night, a tattooist who operates out of a Kombi van. I’d like to get some more ink done but I think I’ll wait until I get back home.

Better go. Hope everyone is well.

Take care,

Paul C./Karsoe