Saturday, 31-01-2015. Day 164.
Ghosts, Lizards, Mama Cats.
Despite the title, this post won't be about food. That's coming later. Instead, it's about some of the events and things we saw while we were on our food tour in Bangkok.
Our food tour started at 8:00 a.m. at the Sukhumvit BTS (Bangkok's skytrain) station some distance away from our hostel. We weren't staying near any BTS lines at all, so we decided to try to get a taxi down there. Because it was still early, we figured our chances were pretty good—and they were.
We hailed a taxi right away and got in. The driver had his daughter with him, and, since there are four of us, she had to sit in the space between the drivers seat and the passenger seat. She wasn't a distraction at all. Incidentally, our 20-ish year-old driver didn't look a thing like the 50-plus year-old man on the taxi license. He "only" charged us 200 baht, about a 100% mark-up based on the rate card posted in the taxi.
But we got there in one piece, and, after a little waiting around (we were early), met our tour guide Nussi. There were six others on the tour with us, and, once we were all checked in, we walked over to Mr. Su, a nearby roast duck place. On the way there, we got a glimpse of the somewhat famous Bangkok Ghost Tower.
The Ghost Tower was supposed to be an apartment complex, but it fell victim to the Asian financial crisis way back in 1997. It's not in the best of shape, and it tilts at a noticeable angle. Additionally, as it was described to us, the feng shui of the place is all wrong, and some even think it's haunted, so no one wants anything to do with it. It sits near the bank of the Chao Praya river, partially completed and perpetually unoccupied.
Before we got to our next restaurant destination, we stopped at a small temple. I'm not entirely sure why, but then we ate at an Indian Muslim restaurant, which had some delicious dishes before heading toward Oriental Pier to take a ferry across the Chao Praya so we could try some isan-style cooking.
As we waited for the ferry, we watched a water monitor next to the dock as it gulped down something that looked like a bird.
Brave Mama Cat
As the lizard swallowed its meal, a black mother cat was transporting her babies from one side of the pier to the other. She had to make a few perilous jumps with kittens dangling from her mouth to avoid the water monitors on either side of the pier.
When we came back across the river after trying the food on the far bank, the kittens had been moved and the mama cat was reclining in satisfaction right in the middle of the pier.
After that we tried a bakery and then a traditional Thai-style restaurant that was owned by the grandson of the previous king. Then the day of food was over, and, after we said our goodbyes to our fellow tour-goers, it was time to get back to the hostel.
We managed to snag a taxi to take home, and after a little negotiation, settled in at 300 baht. No one knew where the Golden Mountain Hostel was—it was pretty new—so we often used Wat Saket and Golden Mount and the Democracy Monument as landmarks (we were only partially successful with this strategy).
And then we were home. We spent a frustratingly long time looking for the Australian Open on the television in the common room, but all we could find were music videos, soap operas, and home shopping channels. So we went to bed.
Sharing a bathroom
One of the things that can be a downer about staying at a hostel is the shared bathroom. For the most part, it wasn't a big deal and most of the other temporary residents were quite considerate.
But for two nights we shared the bathroom with a trio of Korean party girls. They came home at 4:00 in the morning and loudly stumbled around and yelled at each other as they took showers and got ready for bed. In the morning, when we'd get up to use the bathroom, the place was a mess with water all over the floor. At least we hoped it was water (a good reason to use the slippers the hostel provided).
But what was really odd, to us at least, was all the stuff they'd leave spread all around the sink of the shared bathroom—toothbrushes, contact lens cases (sometimes open). The first night wasn't too bad (evidenced by the picture below), but by their second night, they settled right in. But their toiletries were all pretty cute.
- Taxis taken: 2
- Water monitors seen: 2
- Kittens seen: 4
- Boats taken: 2
- Ghosts seen: 0