Thai Adventures - Part 1
A first night on Khaosan.
It's busy, it's hot, it's Bangkok. Arrival in the concrete jungle.
A considerable lack of trees. Instead there are tall grey buildings, they look weathered. The billboards are huge as well. The streets are teeming with the howl of motor vehicles. I've heard that Bangkok is where the hungry come to feed, that it is the gateway to South East Asia. Damn right it is. Like any good backpacker I found myself on Khaosan road. For those that haven't heard of this street, it's a walking street lined with restaurants, bars, massage parlors, clothing merchants, and a range of accommodation.
The atmosphere is exciting. As night falls over the city there are no stars in the sky. My theory is they all fell to the ground, all those thousands of stars are shining, burning, orbiting around the streets of this city; there are no sky lights, all is illuminated from the floor-up. Bangkok, Khaosan in particular, is filled with transient, like-minded characters, everyone on their way somewhere, this is a stopover city, this is the nucleus that links the whole travelling world of South East Asia together. It's filled with the ambition of thousands of travelers, all of them in the orient to see something that home just cannot offer. Now, I am one of them.
I go to a bar, as all good travelers should on their first night in this steaming city. It's a great atmosphere to meet other travelers. I order the standard – the right of passage meal of Thailand, a pad-thai. Conversation at the bar is all about what is where in Thailand – and further, in South East Asia. Conversation mounts on the pinnacle of people's experience, people that have been south to the islands, people that are going North to Vietnam, people that are on their way from Laos or Cambodia or Myanmar. There's insurmountable knowledge being transferred from being to being about how and where to travel. This, mixed with the excitement of fresh faces and people embarking on their journeys makes for an incredibly animated, spirited atmosphere.
The street is also packed with merchants selling 'cheap for you, a good price my friend'. There's all sorts of useless junk being sold – little ornaments, things to play with - cheap treasures reign supreme. I'm approached from all sides by all sorts of grinning men with these toys. On Khoasan, 'no' means 'maybe'. I visit a few different bars with some new friends, testing the deals on offer from each. It's always happy hour. The nightlife on Khaosan is a rich tapestry of travelers all seamlessly weaving into each other, creating a beautiful, coloured, textured, material that is worn over the heart of every wanderer passing through.
This concrete-heat-swelled-city is matched with a fierce sense of individuality endowed upon the people within it. The Thai people themselves are sparkling, cheeky, colourful, and the travelers are shooting in a million different directions, but for a moment they are trapped in time together, on the hustling, bustling streets of Bangkok.
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