I thought I would share some details about what I did this past Saturday, to give you a good idea of an average, ordinary day in Bangkok.
My day began by meeting a friend in the lobby of my apartment building, so that we could catch the bus together to meet a few friends for breakfast. We said our usual “Sa wat dee kha” to the lovely guards at the bottom of our building, and headed out on a walk to the bus. At only 10am, it was already 85 degrees outside; the sun was shining, and all of the street vendors who crowd the Bangkok streets were just beginning to set up their food and clothing stands to begin their long weekend of work. We climbed up the stairs of the overpass, which provides a safe way to cross the huge, 10-lane highway, passing the usual homeless men lying on the concrete, and the standard installments of individuals singing into a microphone hoping to make some money. We hopped onto our bus, being careful not to touch the monks, clad in their orange robes, who were also boarding the bus. We sat down, and the bus “tout” came over to collect our money – only 8 baht (about 25 cents), because the bus was open-air and not air-conditioned. I quickly noticed what looked like an animal’s cage resting at the front of the bus next to the driver – based on the tail that was visible we assumed it must be a squirrel. Well, that’s odd. After the bus tout was finished collecting money, she proceeded to the front of the bus, opened the cage, pulled out what we think was a baby squirrel, wrapped it up in a small baby-squirrel-sized blanket, and proceeded to feed it with a syringe, squeezing something into its mouth for the remainder of the ride. I tried to get a good picture, but the bus ride was so bumpy that a blurry one will have to do.
We then proceeded to Ethos, our new favorite earthy-crunchy, all-natural, sing-kumbaya, can’t-wear-shoes-inside, sit-on-the-floor type of restaurant. We had the most incredible banana mango gluten-free pancakes. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but they were delicious.
Afterwards, we ventured out to the main road in the now sweltering heat. We waited for a bus that we knew would take us to the mall right by our apartment complex. We fully expected to have at least a 30 minute bus ride – it takes minimum of thirty minutes to get anywhere in Bangkok, because there is always traffic. Well, no one had mentioned to us that this bus takes the most roundabout, absurd path to go from point A to point B. The ride ended up taking us 2 hours. Don’t get me wrong, seeing the scenery of a weekend in the city was great, but my gosh, in that heat, with no air-conditioning, it was rough.
After two hours, our mall destination was finally in sight, so we got up and pressed the red button which signals to the driver that we want to get off at the next stop. He was driving particularly aggressively at this point, especially considering how bad the traffic was. And then, like slow motion, I saw it: bus jerking left, small helpless car turning right, and then — CRRUUUNCCHHH. The horrible sound of metal crunching. Our bus crashed straight into the car next us. We all looked at each other, decided it would be best to just get off that bus as fast as possible, and into the refuge of the huge and nicely air-conditioned Central Pinklao mall.
Just another morning in Bangkok, Thailand.