35) Update from Bangkok

I arrived in Bangkok, Thailand 5 days ago, on September 21st.  I’m in an Airbnb apartment on the 19th floor of one of Bangkok’s hundreds of high-rise apartment buildings. I’ve got a really nice view of a really big city.  There are 8 million people living here in Bangkok, and another 14 million living in the surrounding metropolitan area, so it’s size is on par with the larger Chinese cities like Beijing and Shanghai, and much larger than Saigon & Hanoi.

My apartment building. Pool and fitness center on the 20th floor. Some of Bangkok’s newer buildings offer some really interesting architecture.

I’ve got time to spare here in Bangkok, I’m kind of at a watershed moment for this trip.  Having arrived here on the 21st of September, my container ship to Perth, Australia doesn’t leave from Singapore until the 21st of October.  But Singapore is only a 48 hour train ride from Bangkok (if you go non-stop), so I’ve got 4 weeks to spend between here and Singapore, before my ship leaves.  My plan is to spend 3 weeks here in Bangkok before I head south down the peninsula, then 3 days in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 2 days in Malacca, Malaysia, and finally 3 days in Singapore, where I will board the CC Bellini for Perth.

I’m spending the bulk of the time- 3 weeks- in Bangkok because it’s a hell of a lot cheaper than Singapore.  Singapore is ranked as one of the most expensive cities on the planet, and I’m still operating on the Woody Guthrie Rule (see rules of the road on the home page).

It’s hot and humid here.  Any time you go out walking you’re gonna get sweaty.  Fortunately transit options are cheap- a taxi ride clear across congested Bangkok will cost you around $8, a shorter ride may cost you $3.  City buses cost $0.50 for air conditioned, $0.25 for non-airconditioned.  I haven’t ridden on the Bangkok subways yet, but they are cheap also.

The congested lane on the right goes on for miles, but the relatively clear lane on the left is clear only for about half a block.

Bangkok has the 2nd worst traffic in the world.  Only Mexico City is ranked worse.  With prosperity having come to Thailand, every citizen wants his own car, and there is 1 car for every 4 people.  They’ve built a lot of elevated freeways and increased their subway & skyway lines, but it hasn’t caught up with the increase in the number of cars.

Sunday afternoon at the park.
Harvesting plastic water bottles for salvage value.
It’s 95 degrees with 100% humidity, yet this guy is napping in the sun wearing a sweatshirt & ski cap & goggles.
Some sort of promotion for a cell phone company. The guy and the girl are singing and dancing with a drum corp backing. Weird stuff.


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