Thursday, January 3, 2013

Bangkok Day 1

 Off to the airport:  Two taxis to Central, then MTR Airport Express to the airport, a little over an hour.  Everything was running on time.  The three-hour flight on Hong Kong Airlines included dinner, something we’ve never experienced on a short domestic flight.  We made it through immigration without incident and all our checked bags appeared at baggage claim.  Rick Caynor spotted us at the airport – somehow he was able to pick out the non-Asian family of six passing through the Bangkok airport!
Waiting to take-off on our adventure!
Forgot to bring a book!
The meal was a surprise for a 2 hour flight and it was pretty good!
Ice Age was the length of the flight.

Terrible traffic.

Did you see those guys on motorcycles weaving in around us as we drive?!!!

Bangkok the city was different that anything we imagined.  Our only exposure to Asia has been Hong Kong.  In our naiveté, we expected Bangkok to be another huge Asian city with many of the same attributes as Hong Kong.  The similarities are easier to list than the differences.  With a population 1.5X that of Hong Kong, we expected city streets even more crowded.  Compared to Hong Kong, Bangkok seems like a sprawling metropolis.  While Hong Kong’s population is largely confined to Hong Kong Island – and much of the mountainous terrain is not buildable – Bangkok is afforded the luxury of expanding from the city’s core.  So the streets don’t have quite the dense crowd feel.  Before coming to Bangkok, we heard of its reputation for horrible traffic.  The stories were not exaggerated.  It can take hours to travel from one part of the city to the other depending on the time of day.  As in any big city, motorcycles weave in and out of traffic uninhibited by lanes.  Because this nimble freedom is not enough respite from the Bangkok traffic, motorcycles make use of the sidewalks.  It took some time to learn to get in the habit of looking over our shoulder for motorcycles wanting to pass as you are strolling along on the sidewalks.  That’s not to say the Thais are uncivilized.  After all, ladies ride sidesaddle on motorcycle taxis.

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