April 17, 2004

One day in Bangkok

Day 6 : April 17, 2004

Arrived at Bangkok at 5:30 AM. Couldn�t get a sleep in the flight. The night flights are really awesome. I do not consider the timing of a 1:40 flight when the fly time is only 3 hours. Actually these are all scheduled for the Airline�s comfort, not the passenger�s. The Thai flight comes to Colombo at 00:00 hours and goes back at 1:40. This leverages the Airplanes usage of time. If the crew and the plane opts to wait for the night then the time costs would surely hit the Airlines bottom line. All at passengers expense.

Me & Pawan both were tired when we landed. We parted soon as he went to the transit area. He has to wait for another 4 hours for his flight to Kathmandu. I got stuck in a snail like queue. Three flights have landed at a time, but there was only a couple of immigration officers were putting the stamps. Everybody was getting irritated and I had to wait almost 40 minutes for my turn. I then went outside after completing the usual procedures. The customs officer was surprised at the number of gift packs of tea. Actually I bought 1 kilo of tea in ten packets @ 100 gms for gift. This I found hard to make him understand. He got the look in his eyes that I am trafficking marijuana or what.

I got a map from the Airport and went straight to a hotel. I found it unusual that the hotel guy kept my passport with him. When I protested, he told that this is the way it is done in Thailand. Well I had no idea. After having showers and a bit of rest I took the map, my backpack and went to explore Bangkok. I first pointed out the key locations and the shopping malls around them. As my other intention is to do a bit of shopping, this plan really worked out.

After having a late breakfast (tuna sandwich + Coke) in a nearby hotel, I had a stroll towards Phloen Chit shopping mall. After scanning through those shops and getting my backpack a little heavier I went outside for a taxi towards the Victory Monument. After taking pictures of the monument, my next stop was the nearby Center one shopping complex.

One thing I got to tell about Bangkok, that if you�re against shopping you won�t be able to resist you. Eight Alkaline batteries for only 45 Baht ($1.2) cheaper than most countries in the world. I avoided the sales of soaps, shampoos & alikes� as I have got a limitation of 20kg to carry baggage home. Bangkok is really a shoppers paradise. You can find almost anything, from Armanis to street duplicate brand watch I purchased for $5. I walked a lot the whole day, went into internet kiosk and covered shopping malls like Central one Plaza, Bangkok Bazaar, Big C etc. Bangkok is a bustling city. People are lovely if you could avoid the Tuk Tuk & Taxi drivers. I then used the metro to come back the hotel. After telling the location of the metro station on my request, a local boy wished me good luck. It came to me as a surprise making me recognize the humbleness of the Thai people. Really a learning thing. My lunch was in Mcdonalds, and am going to dinner now somewhere else. I will be going home tomorrow morning, but one day in Bangkok was really a wonderful experience.


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