Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Bangkok Street Scenes

This posting is mostly for the pictures of things we see every day. The parrots are only two out of the five, plus a cockatiel, that live in cages next to a building we pass every day. We also pass the trash heap every day. The construction scene with the backhoe is next door to our hotel. While it may appear to be a construction project, it is actually a mosquito farm. You can see the way rush hour traffic backs up on our street, Sukhumvit Road, and the picture with the yellow/green taxi shows the entrance to Bumrungrad International Hospital. The taxi is on our street; the line of cars is on the entry street. You can see the yellow polo shirts that everyone wears, especially on Monday. They are yellow to honor the King who was born on a Monday, and who is very much loved by the Thai people. In Thailand there is a color for every day, worn to bring good luck: Monday = yellow; Tuesday = pink; Wednesday = green; Thursday = orange; Friday = blue; Saturday = purple, Sunday = red. Based on people's attire, in Bangkok it appears that every day could be Monday. Riding in a tuktuk is a real adventure, not to be missed. Street vendors are everywhere. Some are stationary, others are mobile, moving from place to place. The push carts appear quite modern next to the basket-toting vendors. It is also always interesting to look down all the little side streets to see the colorful variety of small businesses. The public works project where they built the tent was interesting, both from the standpoint of watching the process of installing pumps and from noticing that the workers all wore flip-flops instead of work boots. The tent has subsequently provided an overnight home to the occasional visitor, including a parking space of the obligatory moped.

There are some important survival techniques to remember on the streets of Bangkok. For instance, it is okay to walk past beggars without contributing to them. It is okay to say, "no, thank you" to cabbies, street vendors, or anyone else who wants to sell you something you don't want. And if you happen to be a female and want to cross a busy street at an intersection where there is a security guard, know that the guard will stop traffic for the man to cross, but usually will not do so for a woman. Crossing when the locals cross is also good policy. It is a good idea to watch how people order their food, so you can do it also if somehting looks good. Also pay attention to how they clean their utensils, where to get water, etc. in places like the Dairy Express at Bumrungrad International Hospital. Get to know the local currency and check prices against what the item would cost in dollars and at home. Always ask the price for your cab ride before getting in: "how much to the Blank Hotel?" And finally, while you may have to walk around the stray dogs, they generally will ignore you.

No comments: