February 2nd 2016, Bangkok, Thailand
Around noon, at the 11th floor of the hotel I know so well by know. I am again in Bangkok, one of my top 3 destinations in the world, for 3 days. Indeed, tomorrow I go and return from Hanoi, Vietnam, but when was work a problem. I look at the skyline out the window and I remember first time I was here. First month of flying. I think I will never forget it.
So, I’ve planned already. First day shopping and partying. Second day, another fancy rooftop bar – I want to drink cocktails in all. Third day more sightseeing. With this trip I will have completed all the main attractions of the city. Fair enough, the real adventure begins after.
I’m not a fan of malls and I rarely visit any, but Platinum in Bangkok is just a wonder of shopping. You can find anything here, things you can and cannot imagine, it has tens of sections, many floor and entrances, selling mainly anything. Started off at the top floor food court with some sushi and tom yum soup. I love this soup and this year I think I had more than 10. Spicy for me, please!
In two hours I managed to buy around 10 dresses, two skirts, two pants, some blouses and other small things. Shopping is just not for me. But twice a year I stack my wardrobe with things and it is actually smart, because you buy ahead and you’re not forced to buy things you don’t like when you really need it.
In Bangkok even shopping is s spectacle because you arrive in a colorful taxi through the crazy traffic, then you have a mango or pineapple fresh smoothie or juice, then you follow the amazing lady boys shop next to women in abayas, you admire the wigs, the make-up, the very high heel shoes. You can print anything on anything and personalize any item. On the street, right there, in front of the mall. You can bargain and get a very good price for anything and if you buy more, you get them for almost nothing.
Time for Khao San Road again. Man, I’m scared for my brand new phone. Last time this street put a game over to my other brand new one. Area is crazy as usual, although it’s a Tuesday, I guess. Not sure and do not care. Bars, pubs, ping pong shows, massage in the street, vodka-tequila shots.
I need 3 minutes on the watch to buy a two piece swimming suit and a small wallet. I am going soon to Maldives and I have no two piece as my bag disappeared in Seychelles. In January. Yes, I know, sad life!
Close, but wrong, weak frequencies.
The good fucking life. Like this 60 year old in good shape coming to the club in Khao San in his pajamas pants and without any top. With a tattoo as big as his back to show his glory years.
There’s a Romanian song saying “I shall write when the moment comes/My will with red wine” And you know what? That’s how I want it. In Buenos Aires or in Bangkok.
In this dirty toilet of Bangkok, I realized all you need to do is to stay away from drugs and use condoms and the fucked up life works perfectly. You can do whatever. I think of the Mexican guy having tattooed on his arm: “I’m the master of my fate/I’m the captain of my soul”. I did not know it back then and I recently found out, but it is from a poem called “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley.
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
Bangkok, 11 PM, again, everyone sleeping in the taxi back to the hotel and I don’t know what their names are or where they are from. Listening to Second Hand Heart. I think of him and what a coward he is. For not facing this love.
“The light of the morning finds you sleeping in my bed
And it’s not like the stories, it’s never like what they said
I know who you want me to be, but I’m just not there yet
Yeah, the broken road’s always been home and it’s so hard to forget
I might think too much, drink too much, stay out too late
I know I’m just a fool, but I swear I can change”
For a moment I remember when we were cruising fast with the music shouting out the windows in the hot air and then…break. And he did what he did, but the first thing was to put his protective arm in front of my chest. By chance or not, my reflexes are flawless, but even when you’re strong it’s good to know someone has your back. Or, oh well…your pretty face.
Bangkok is inspiring to me in the craziness of the streets, in the fluorescent lights tuk tuk driving faster than our taxi – 80 km/hour, in the cheap things, in the fake alcohol, ping pong and fu****g shows, in the 20 floors parking lots, the lights of the night and the height of the rooftop bars and gardens and the view of some penthouses I know…
Makes me feel alive, makes me want more.
February 3rd 2016, Bangkok, Thailand returning from Hanoi, Vietnam
The red sunset over Bangkok city lights seen from my window seat. Again in Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok, Thailand.
Of course I’m in floor 11. Back from Hanoi and ready for the crazy Bangkok nights. Three kids and two parents and 7 bags on one motorcycle.
Good we’re on the way to Lebua at State Tower, the place where Hangover 2 movie was filmed. I have not seen the movie and I guess I will not see it soon. Or ever. But I love rooftop bars and this seems to be one of the most famous. It is at 60 something-th floor and they have a Perrier Jouet glasses tree. Once outside, there is a Perrier bar, an observation deck and then you can go down the stairs to the restaurant called Sirocco and the bar which seems to be hanging on top of the city lights. Live band, lots of pretty faces and beautiful people, a good, chilled atmosphere, cocktails.
It’s a good place to start out the night fancy and continue to some other rooftops or even to some clubs, like we did. Not before I had another tom yum soup and a huge seafood platter with fresh lychee juice.
Crew life is awesome and although I stick to them, I like my secret, alone, thoughtful traveling pattern. I’m just like that and I guess I’m too old for clubbing although in a pretty cool club.
February 4th 2016, Bangkok, Thailand
Off in the streets of Bangkok again to finally make it to the Grand Palace. It closes down at 3:30 PM and although I have been 3 more times in the city, I did not make it.
At the hotel the concierge greets me and I say I want to go to the temples. He looks at me from up to bottom and he gives thumbs up. I’m wearing long green dress and blue think blazer long as a short dress. I chose the colors on purpose to fit with the temples scenery and did not go for any patterns as the landmarks I’m visiting today have rich embellishments and style.
Street food, temples, colorful taxis, helpful people, amazing shopping and impressive design. Some kitsch, lady boys, poverty, flashing wealth. Tom yum spicy soup, sea food, pad tai, fancy rooftops and dirty mobile food stands. Living huts in the waters under the highways with clothes drying in the sun. Crazy traffic, skyscrapers, racing nightlife, strange taste sometimes.
Every minute I try to open my mind, to run from the clichés, the blockages, the preconceived ideas.
We pass by the 1st Army Area and the UN, ministries and huts.
I see the first book store in Thailand as we approach the Palace after 50 minutes in the traffic. The Contemporary Art center is close to the Independence Monument. Again in the place where, a few months ago, I got stuck with no money. Office of the Attorney General, The Ministry of Defense, Bangkok City Pillar Shrine. I remember the attack in the shrine in Bangkok and the one in the Starbucks where I had been a week before the attack in Jakarta.
In a chic restaurant across the Grand Palace where there is an exhibition of paintings representing the King.
After the tequila (bottle) last night I’m hungry. I order pad thai and mango smoothie. Obsessed with mango – smoothie, with sticky rice, however. But not from a box. I am alone at a table and the waiter keeps telling the people trying to get in it is full, but I invite two ladies to my table.
It’s so crowded by the Palace and most of the women carry canvas umbrellas.
The Palace is absolutely worth half a day. The decorations are breathtaking and the place is huge, each corner is wonderful, the peace gets to your heart.
He is drinking from his milk bottle while the tuk tuk is moving fast in the traffic. He’s around 4 and he’s standing between the legs of a man driving the tuk tuk. So his balance will be excellent when he grows up because he will have had plenty of practice. I’m thinking “don’t underestimate” anyone, especially the ones coming from less fortunate backgrounds.
I keep looking at my schedule for the month and I cannot believe it. This is an anniversary month, one year since I’m here and probably the most exciting flying month from the destinations’ point of view.
Not more exciting than May 2015, my very first month of flying when I was barely keeping up with the wow of everyday. Indeed, this fast and glamorous life has become somehow routine. Yes and no. Crew would say it’s not all glamorous and it’s true. But for sore it’s much more glamorous than any office job if you look at the places we go, the hotels we stay in, the benefits we have. I truly believe we are chosen ones. By fate, by destiny. With different purposes. And I’ll say it over and over again we are all in different stages of our evolution.
Again thinking of fate, of the threads of destiny. How they braid and then become lose, they break, they knot. And I’m thinking of some aspects of my life, some things I know I’m doing wrong, some I’m running away from, some I should be working on and I don’t, some people I know I’m connected to.
I write in the pink taxi I’m in and I’m caught in the thrill of the last hours in lively Bangkok. These three days here started to put some order in my current life and lifestyle. I’m building a normality in this racing way of moving and suitcase wardrobe life. I’m well sentimentally or at least at peace. Yes, I gave up on this, on him, on all.
Walking for a few more minutes. I buy a Red Bull in a glass small potion looking bottle. Actually one owner of Red Bull is Thai and it is said the original one is sold here.
I arrived back at the hotel in less than 25 minutes at 3 PM. Army song – really don’t know who to dedicate it to, but I feel like it. Arrived home dead tired. My trolley broke, I fell asleep on the bus home, I took by mistake someone else’s suitcase. Went to bed at 2 AM, woke up 30 minutes before pick up and still, I look acceptable. Praise the make-up although I haven’t done it properly.
To wrap it up, this 4 trip to Bangkok meant a real familiarization with the city. It’s good to have a place you love and you get to know so well. I guess I’m not a tourist anymore.