Sawatdee krup from Thailand!
I am one week into my Asia trip and am getting well adjusted now. The 13 hour flight from Vancouver to Hong Kong was a little rough but I was lucky to get a fair amount of sleep in. Believe me Air Canada economy class seats do not have much leg room! My first five days were in Bangkok, which is fine for a short time like that and good place to take care of any business or shopping you need done and generally ease into the Asian way of life. I stayed at a really decent small hotel called the Stable Lodge. It is located on a dead end soi (street) right by the beloved Skytrain. This means it relatively quiet and yet has speedy access to a lot of places on the airconditioned Sktytrain.
I plan on eating a wide swath across Thailand and my first mission was to try eat at all the street vendors on my little soi. There are about a dozen or more and I think I made it to about 90% of them, not bad for the short time I was there. The food was consistently great and average price for a meal was about 35 baht (1$). The only mild disappointment was when I ate something looking fairly western, fried chicken, which was only average. When the bug cart wheeled in I must admit that I chickened out but this is early days. I love the iced coffee every morning, sweet coffee goodness, ice cold.
A fun thing to do in Bangkok is checking out the gigantic Chatuchak market on the weekend. There are aound 10,000 stalls there with a huge array of goods. I believe a GPS would be quite handy because if you are browsing and think you can find your way back to that shop with the great siIk pyjamas you may be sadly disappointed. I mainly checked out the great food stalls. I hope to catch the market again when it closer to my return home to do a bit of shopping. My bag weighs a ton as it is.
I am still a country boy at heart so I have made my way to the village of Nong Khai in the quiet NE of Thailand. I caught the night train from Bangkok which is really convenient, leaving Bangkok early evening and arriving here about 8:30 AM. Shortly after departure a very efficient steward comes around and makes up the little beds with crisp linen. I got to see miles and miles of rice paddies as we rolled towards Nong Khai in the morning, they are such a beautiful deep green.
I am now settled in to the ever-so-charming Mutmee Guesthouse (thanks for the recommend Marie!) on the banks of the mighty Mekong. Check out their website www.mutmee,com . I stayed here back in 2006 and it is still a winner. It seems like there may be a more traffic in town now but it is hard to say as I was in a Sangsom whiskey haze a lot of the last trip. I had the barbqâ€™ed street pork last night and it is still to die for. My goal here is to get into eating the grilled river fish I see around.
I have a small photo album you can check out online at http://bracz.jalbum.net/Thailand/