My first 2 days in Bangkok (BKK) were spent in a sleep mode. It took me a while to recover fm the stress of work, tying up loose ends & the last min change in travel plan. Thankfully i love reading maps & details of a city before reaching…so it wasn’t difficult to find Chulalongkorn Univ. Yes, came alone from the airpot to Vidhaya Nives.
A past fellow had drawn the entire Chula, MBK, Rama road, etc for me. So i trudged to the MBK in search of food…before i came to BKK i had read of the impact of recession on the toursim industry. I must admit i needed to search the impact wt a magnifying glass. There were people & more people pouring out of that MBK! Scores are buying by the dozens, another 100 odd Indians falling out of every nook & corner of MBK. thai youth eating, shopping like there is NO tomorrow. wow…i was tired, but roamed around. Plus thanks to the last min schedule change i needed clothes desperately.
Food I know was going to be BIG oroblem for me, considering im a veggie. Yes initially it was tough adjusting. it was worse b’coz the canteen where we have our daily lunch, they made me feel like a recuprating invalid!! No lies. Boiled veggies thrown over a lump of boiled rice! or boiled noodles day in & day out till 2 weeks passed and i decided to speak wt Jen. She understood why me a foodie wld always sit wt my head down & eat it mechanically…taste, i guess it varies frm culture to culture. Here the concoction of 4 items -sugar, chillies, lime & salt is taste! I cant call them spices -i mean its not cinnamon, clove, garlic, turmeric, et al….its NOT flavour either!
In the thai class i asked the kids to tell me a thai word for ‘flavour’ & they were whats flavour? What flavour?? i now udnerstand their predicament….
I liked the city. Its clean, most of it. What i liked most is that they use bottled water even on the carts along the streets for food off the roads…now that’s where India fails miserably, although we have some great street food wt flavour. The roads are broad wt clear deamrcations for Zebra crossings…yes, i did a story 2 yrs ago on how the zera crossings in Mumbai were fading…its a fundamental rt of a commuter, if ofcourse they are enlightened of their rts!
They have broad paements, bt like in India i have a grouse they are really high. There is no desecent and ascent to climb unto them easily. Yet, they are clean, broad, even if there are hawkers. Some places the tiles have come off, but that’s common. They have good sky walks that wc dont shake…yeah in Mumbai it was like as if im giddy with the sensation of the sky walk shaking. These are well tiled, solid and one doesn’t feel tired. I dont know why back home when i walk so much despite the same kind of weather i feel drained, tired. Yes, may be bcoz the people are lot more peaceful.
Have roamed the streets and numerous areas of BKK already. I liked the BTS trains. Oh how i wish those stupid politicians fm my country come here & replicate the BTS instead of the hideious skyscrapers that seme to crawl on our skyline….yes ive a grouse abt them & i dont like them. May be our builders can come & see the architecture here, but im intersted in the public transport. Their aircon buses are good, but otherwise the normal buses need imrpovement.
The Chulalongkorn Univ is a city byitself. Yes, im sure univs world over are like this. I’ve visited Stanford – love those alcoves, arches & architecture there, other univs in california & Washington, yet there is something different abt this place. But…i’ve NOT understood one thing. Whats wt the thai obsession for water, fountains?? They have a severe problem of malaria & then they have GREEN, STAGNANT water bodies all over the Univ & the city…what mosquitos, their bloody grandfathers will be bred here….i simply cannot understand how they can live that much stench and mosquito breeding problem…otherwise i’ve bene comfortable.
The people are warm, helpful -though have faced some stray crazy types who i give a benefit of doubt to…they must’ve NOt understood us, english, sign language, one must excuse them. All the while they are ever smiling, warm & helpful. Now im waiting to explore the rest of Thailand.