Thursday 8th March
We flew out with my dad in the morning from Hanoi and arrived at Bangkok airport around 11am then took the sky train and then a taxi to Khao San Road where we arrived around 1.30pm. Ah Bangkok and its crazy traffic jams!! This is really insane, people loose so much time in traffic jams here. I hope at some point they do something about it…In Khao San Road we met with Michael I had met in Phongsaly, and we left the bags in his room. Then we had some lunch, and took the boat on the Chao Praya River.
We went to the Nikon Service Centre on Silom Road to give my broken D700 body for a repair estimate of the broken screen and dead shutter. They told me it would cost 750 dollars and take a month. Considered it would be more expensive to repair it in Europe, I gave it to repair there. It will be ready around 12th April. Then we went for some shopping and back to Khao San Road where my dad had a quick shower, and we had a quick dinner and a quick last beer before he was off to Bangkok airport again, this time going back to Paris. Same as when Anais and Neringa had left, I felt suddenly strange and empty, and not realising that was it, already! His presence was floating around, especially as he had time to drink only half of his beer, I was expecting him to come back from the toilets too. Oh well…Time flies way too quickly, as usual.
Friday 9th March
I woke up at 5am and went to the Chao Praya River to check on boats but they were not running so I took a taxi, direction: The Embassy of Burma. I was there at 7.06am and yep, I was first in the queue indeed!
One Thai guy joined the “queue” at 7.07am. Pfiou, I would have hated to not be first, hey. Then one by one, some other people starting joining little by little from 7.40am until 9am. At 8am, we were about 15 in the queue. At 9am when it opened, maybe about 100 or 150, not sure. I had all my documents ready, including the form filled that Michael had taken for me when doing his visa a few days before. The embassy opened at 9.15am, and at 9.46am I was out, with a yellow paper to pick up my passeport and visa back between 3.30pm and 4.30pm in the afternoon. Oh beautiful Bangkok, so much easier to make a visa for Burma here than in Hanoi, for sure!
Michael met me when I exited the embassy and we walked slowly in the direction of the Champit Piaza where I wanted to check on 35mm lenses. On our way, we tried lots of different fruits. Thailand, and especially Bangkok, has a variety of food and fruits which is incredible! We tried that one for example, which tastes like a young pear, not mature yet:
We saw a really funny dog in the street, quite fat, smiling and begging to get more food. Poor dog.
We drunk a lot of fresh mandarin juice also, something that wasn’t available in Bangkok in November or December. The colour of it seems unnatural but it is pure mandarin juice, really good and refreshing.
We walked through the Lumpini Park where you can see some huge lezards called varangs.
This park is beautiful and a really great place to have a quiet walk while looking at the high skyscrapers which are in the background.
We took a taxi to the Champit Piaza, but got stuck in the traffic. We stopped at the Boyoke tower thinking to go at the top, but that was the wrong one ahahah. The great views one is the Boyoke 2 tower,that will be for another time. Exiting that tower, heading to the Champit Piaza building, we tried a few more fruits, but not always successfully as these small yellow ones were really bitter, yuk.
We realised we were running late and finally didn’t made it to the tower, but walked back to the closest skytrain station, avoiding taking a taxi back considered the crazy traffic:
We had some quick soup before, and headed back to the Burma Embassy where I queued again and was not first this time, but still on time to pick up the visa. After that, we took a boat back on the Chao Praya River to Khao San Road.
The distances are so huge in Bangkok, and the traffic so bad, that you can easily spend hours of your day commuting! Walking around Khao San Road, we went through some temple which was a haven of quietness compared to the hastiness of Khao San Road.
While walking around to get some dinner, we ran again in…Fabio and Giusy! That was really cool. Remember I had met them first end of January in Phongsaly in Lao and done a walk with them and then a 2-days trek, and then had been with them in Muang Khua, Muang Ngoi Neua, and met them again in Luang Prabang, then at the Lao-Cambodia border going to Kratie, then in Phnom Penh again. Seeing them here after a month was awesome. They had been to South Cambodia and then to the islands of South Thailand for some beach and showed me how heavily bitten they had been by sand flies. Oh man, sand flies. You don’t wanna get that either. Compared to my few bed bugs bites, I felt it looked much more itchy and painful than what I had got. Giusy was actually even limping as her leg was so painful with the sandflies bites!
We had a last beer together, as this time they were flying out on the Sunday back to Italy. We said good-bye for the 5th time since we met, but for the last time. Snif, I really enjoyed meeting with them and sharing all these moments with them!
Saturday 10th March
At first, we had the ambitious plan of going to the Champit Piaza tower to check on camera lenses on our way to the airport, but when we considered the commuting time it would actually take us, we just quickly forgot about it, ahah. So we just walked on Khao San Road to the post office instead, much easier and less stressful, hey, going through the quiet temple complex there, enjoying its three-colours trees like this one.
We ran into Fabio and Giusy again but hey, enough uh, this time we said “See you again” and not a huge heavy goodbye. We know one day we will meet again, that’s for sure! It was quite quickly time to have some lunch and then take the minibus to the airport. We got there at 2.25pm for a flight at 4.25pm.
Bangkok airport is so huge that it was just a good timing. Air Asia counters take at the same time people for any flight and it took ages to register the backpacks. The departure gates also take anyone for any flight at the same time, and it took ages to go through passport control and bags x-ray checks. We almost thought at some point that we would have to cut off the queue, but it finally went smoothly and we arrived at our gate just enough time before.
And here we were, off to Burma, for a month to discover this country! Yeah!