Bangkok is growing on me.
It really is.
I couldn’t say exactly why– only that, as I walked over the Pinklao bridge on my way home tonight, I found myself feeling some sort of affection for the city. And I can only imagine that this feeling will grow ever the next nine months.
Where else, after all, can you go to a milk & bread bar like the one I went to with some friends after class today? The premise is simple: the shop serves different types of milk (sweetened, chocolate, etc) and various types of toast.
From left to right: Bread with yellow custard on top, bread with green custard on the side, toast with butter, sugar and cinnamon, toast with condensed milk and cinnamon, toast with pineapple jam and bread with chocolate spread. My coffee, sweetened with condensed milk, was very tasty.
Speaking of foods, as per various recommendations I’ve received, I have tried the following foods:
-Phad Thai (not remarkably tasty, but probably more due to the chef than the dish)
-Green coconut (ha!–)
There’s a small park-ish area across the river from my apartment (10 minutes away walking, 5 jogging) where I’ve put up my line three of the last four days. Josh has gone with me twice, and he’s slowly improving. The Thais’ reactions have been just outstanding. A lot come and watch for a while, and then eventually wander off. Tonight I met Aat, who sells flowers for a living. He wandered into the park, watched me for a while, walked off, and eventually came back to stay and watch and, in his own fashion, cheer. Aat, like two others before him, was willing to try it, but after only a few shaky steps holding my arm, he laughing gave up, saying “it’s very difficult!” Yesterday, I was offered Thai whiskey by four old guys who watched, sitting around, talking, smoking and drinking whiskey out of water bottles, and tonight received a free massage out of the deal (a little sketch, but hey– it was a good massage! It’s all part of the experience, I suppose).
Of course, I shouldn’t be surprised by the generosity I’ve been shown. Thai culture is one that makes offering to figures they respect or revere. I visited a museum last weekend that where the entire second floor was just filled with various offerings to the Emerald Buddha– thousands of ornate Buddha images made out of precious metals, and other pricey handicrafts, all left as tribute to the Buddha. And that was just one temple– with thousands and thousands of little offering. And Bangkok has several hundred wats. The aforementioned flowers that Aat sell are for one purpose only: leaving as offerings in front of Buddha images.
Curiously, (like hobbits, I suppose… heh, too much LOTR!) the Thais seem not to have much sense of adventure. Of the few that I’ve managed to encourage into trying it, none have been willing to risk a fall or try it a second time. One, using a tree, didn’t even make it all the way on to the line before he gave up. Of the Americans I’ve introduced to slacklining, I can’t think of any who gave up after a single try, and only the most bland of individuals have refused all-together. Most Americans seem willing to fall and otherwise risk injury and sterility and to do so repeatedly until they improve.
Of course, Bangkok, population seven million, probably has fewer car accidents in a day than Wyoming, population 450,000. Correlation? God only knows.