I’d like to remember all the tiny details that made up Bangkok but I can’t help my first thoughts; they always go back to the heat. The abominable prevailing heat that engulfed Bangkok in a bubble of sweat meant that I had to slow down my movements to a strict minimum. Every move I made was thought out carefully in hopes that they would result in the least bodily sweat production possible.

Our hostel is on Khao San Road, the tourist spot of Bangkok. I don’t mind it. While floating through the sea of necklaces, shirts, trousers and other happiness possibilities, we turn down another tuk tuk ride and nibble on animal intestines. We walk lazily further down the rabbit hole, discovering that day has turned to night. On that night, we embark on a treasure chase. Hair in the wind, heavenly pleasure after a too hot sun, we zoom across town in our first tuk tuk ride, heading for the night market where we hope to find our deepest desires. We enter the crowd with high spirits, the stalls illuminated and vendors grabbing for attention.

While floating through the sea of necklaces, shirts, trousers and other happiness possibilities, we turn down another tuk tuk ride and nibble on animal intestines.

The bargaining game is always difficult at first. It requires talent I do not possess. I am uncomfortable upon being captured into debates I am not interested in. The vendors’ insistence as I move away makes it all the harder to slide away. But it has nothing to do with me. The game isn’t personal. Further back are nicer sellers, less aggressive. We enter in bartering matches, like a table tennis tournament, smashing numbers across the table. We laugh in the end as they hand us our win. As we get better, we buy more and at lower price. It is a thing of an hour before we run out of money and take a taxi home.

Khao San Road is lit up. It is essential to experience it. We stop at the insect trolley, trying desperately to keep the promise we had made whilst still in Europe; one saying that we would definitely eat a scorpion or a grasshopper - or anything insect-like - during this trip. We stare in regret at the trays loaded with piles of fried worms and cockroaches. We walk away without mentioning it again.

We stare in regret at the trays loaded with piles of fried worms and cockroaches. We walk away without mentioning it again.

We climb up to a bar where we sit on cushions and order a bucket of rum and coke. It is strong, exactly how it should be. We order another. We fight over choices; dancing or sleeping. Our bodies are exhausted but our minds want to continue living Bangkok. We join a crowd of onlookers and become mesmerized by the impossible moves of a nimble break-dancer. Our debate over “what to do next” turns into fighting and harsh words. Even if our screams seem deafening, Khao San Road’s raucous drowns us out. We are tiny beings in a chaotic moment.

Marina is short. She wears rectangular glasses and speaks good English with a sweet Thai accent. Her husband left her with the hostel. That’s all he left her with. Her bedroom is made up of a bed behind the bars that are the main entrance to the hostel. She is the only worker. She rarely leaves. I myself have never seen her bed empty. But you wouldn’t know this. Marina smiles a lot. On this night, she sees our turmoil and tries to sooth it. She succeeds somehow. I lock myself into my room and curl up in the dark, the hushed air con a soothing purring sound above my head and Marina’s sweet words of love and respect embracing me in my sleep.

Buddha figurines amongst other figurines are found, some ranging from 10 baht to 1000. The price difference is huge but entitles you to more benefits from the divine.

The morning comes and I stand in the hallway in only a tshirt. I am told this because I don’t remember it. I remember seeing Lucie sleeping rolled tightly in a blanket. She comes into the room when we wake her and falls asleep again.

We wake up passed noon and head out into a scorching heat. Our feet stick to the soft pavement. We walk away from the hostel and towards the amulet market. There, ordinary Thais and Monks scrutinize different amulets, taking out tiny magnifying glasses, enlarging all qualities to make sure said amulet will bring the most luck and protection. Buddha figurines amongst other figurines are found, some ranging from 10 baht to 1000. The price difference is huge but entitles you to more benefits from the divine. We are the only tourists. The market stalls stand close together so we all brush against one another. A metal ceiling covers the area, making the air sticky. Sweat drips uncomfortably between my breasts and my neck is covered in a thick film of wetness. My clothes stick to me. I imagine becoming a snake just to allow the shedding of this unwanted second skin. I question a woman about the turtle-shaped amulet I have found. I buy it and we head off deeper into the maze.

Meat is laid out on counters for you to choose from and broths of all colors and smells are boiling away in big cauldrons. The heavenly fumes make the tiny corridors steam.

Food is served here and it has nothing to do with Khao San Road. These kitchens are ones you see but look away when ordering. It will be the most amazing food you have ever eaten. It also most probably will make you ill. On the ground, a cockroach is expertly avoiding heavy feet. At the stalls, only Thais are sat eating, gobbling up noodles professionally, their chopsticks expertly grabbing at every bit of food. Meat is laid out on counters for you to choose from and broths of all colors and smells are boiling away in big cauldrons. The heavenly fumes make the tiny corridors steam. We walk out into the sunshine and buy watermelon water. Into a tuk tuk we escape the crowd and finally smile under a cold shower. We nap to wait off the heat.

Today is Pancake Day. I feel slightly guilty as we sit in an obvious tourist spot and order a pancake. A pancake topped with banana slices, hot chocolate syrup and chocolate ice cream is put before us. Even here, we cannot forget our traditions – that’s rubbish, I just love a good pancake. We spend time choosing bracelets to send home, a tiny thought of a distant land. The day ends again.

Our bowls empty, we know our stomachs will not be able to keep the meat down for very long. As we walk briskly towards the hostel, we know that it was worth it.

Walking further into Bangkok, we point at duck thighs to adorn our duck soup. Noodles and greens onions are expertly tossed into a boiling pot of dark broth. The duck is hacked apart and tossed into the steaming dish. It is brought to us on cafeteria-style tables put together to create a small dining area on a corner street. We dive into the beautifully salty mixture, broth splashing around our bowls as the chopsticks ungracefully bring noodle after noodle into our hungry mouths. We slurp each mouthful avidly, unable to stop, sucking on duck bones to make the most of the flavor before the end. We resort to fingers and hear a giggle from our neighbor. Our bowls empty, we know our stomachs will not be able to keep the meat down for very long. As we walk briskly towards the hostel, we know that it was worth it.

It is 5AM and we walk out, our bags lifted onto our backs. We wait. It is 30 minutes passed the time and I am starting to think of alternate plans. Then, an engine in the silence. “Airport” rapidly said and a follow-me hand gesture. We follow and are pointed to a white bus. We hop on.

             

The Writer

I write stuff for fun, if it was for a living I would be homeless.

Find out more about me, Stefanie, here.

Quotes

There is nothing safer than flying – it’s crashing that is dangerous. Theo Cowan