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1000 riels=16000 dong=10000 kip=35 baht

Jo does Bangkok (& the end of the road!)

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I find it a bit surreal sitting here in a Bangkok guest house, at a coin-operated computer, on my last day of traveling. I've always thought of this day as so far in the future- and now I’m actually here, about to go home!
Bangkok...where to start... After coming from Cambodia, and then Vietnam and Laos, Bangkok is quite the place to be dropped at 10 o'clock at night! I have to admit, I was a bit overwhelmed! I suppose I've been to a couple cities (in Vietnam) since I've left Cambodia, but even Hanoi, the bustling capital of Vietnam is like "city-light" compared to Bangkok -I'm talking Miller Light to Guinness, seriously...
After wandering around for quite some time, I ended up in a crappy guesthouse with bugs and cold water. I was also tired from my travels and, overall, couldn't be bothered with navigating the city for a day- I even thought about seeing if I could move my flights up.
Well, I woke up this morning and decided I was being a wuss and ended up actually having a pretty good day! I started out wandering all over the city, visiting various Wats and some other random sights. I ended up getting a really cheap tuk tuk fare- except that every so often, I had to stop and look at gems at various stores so the driver could get gas coupons. I ended up (not quite sure how) at a giant shopping mall -actually more like 4 shopping malls connected by giant walkways across various streets. It was like nothing I've seen in a LONG time! I found myself walking around with my eyes wide open like I was from some remote tribe and this was my first time in the "big" city! I did get a bit lost for a while but then I realized- how lost can you get in a city that actually has Starbucks! I ended up getting a ride in a van with a bunch of school kids heading home (still not quite sure how that worked out.) I've also broken my record for the most time waited to cross a street, EVER.
Later, I walked over to the Grand Palace and temple of the Emerald Buddha. By chance, I managed to slide right into the temple just as it was closing and a huge celebration for Buddha day was starting, which was quite cool. After that it was back to Khao San road for some exploring...
I'm excited to be going home -if not a bit exhausted from my travels as well. It's going to be weird coming back to the "real world." What do I say to people when they ask the inevitable: "how was Cambodia?" How do I explain the things I've seen? What's the best way to explain the feeling you get when a mother in the slums offers to give you her son because she knows anything you could offer would be a better life? Actually, there's a better question: how do you fix the things that I've seen?
On a lighter note, I feel like I've definitely come a long way, literally AND figuratively. It's been one hell of a ride...

Posted by jmalsch 02:56 Archived in Thailand

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