Laura recently arrived here in Bangkok, and I met her at the airport. Her flight was delayed, so I got to spend some time people watching, and was practically laughing out loud by the time she came around the corner. Almost every single person had the same reaction as they came out of the low, dimly lit customs area into the cavernous, full plate glass windowed terminal greeting area. Their gaze slowly drifted up to the top of the terminal, leaving their chin hanging slack below, and their eyes took on an unfocused “I’m so lost right now, help me God” look. Laura took on the same expression before I walked up and we headed out to the bus that would take us back to Kao San Road. We got settled in, and went out to do some shopping for Laura, because she needed a backpack and many other little things.
I had forgotten how Bangkok makes you feel when you first arrive and was going along like I always do, but Laura was looking at everything, taking it all in. I finally got the point and slowed down. That night we met up with about 30 other couch surfers for a birthday party that ended up going pretty late.
Today, we set out to do some sightseeing, and either because we were tired, hungry, caught unawares, or simply distracted by each other, we got scammed. I knew that this scam was in existence, but it was so flawlessly executed that I did not even catch on until it was too late. We were going to see the Grand Palace, and on the way met a guy who was getting food at a stall who told us it was a special day where admission was free to several temples. He mentioned that government tuk tuks were cheap today because the government helped pay for their gas to promote tourism to the temples. He also mentioned that there was an export market that had a big sale going on and if we had time, we should stop by it. We jumped in a Tuk tuk, which took us to a few temples, and at one of them, we met a guy who was praying. He started talking to us and mentioned that he was in town to see the lucky Buddha, where we were, and that he was getting married and had just gotten two suits at: the export market. He then left us without any pressure, so we had two separate references for this market. Surprise surprise. The tuk tuk then took us to the export mart (because we asked him to) which was just a big tailoring house. I had been planning on getting a suit anyway, so this was not a big problem for me. We went in, and we both got suckered into paying way more than I should have for two suits, a shirt and an overcoat. Less than the states, but expensive for here. Good news, I don’t have to buy a suit again for a looooong time and I will have a custom tailored cashmere suit. Bad news, I don’t even need to wear a suit in the near future and I feel retarded! Whatever, we learned our lesson and won’t be taken again anytime soon (or ever hopefully!) We have tried not to think about it, but damn… we are smarter than that and it pisses us off that we went that smoothly.
We just bought our tickets to go to Chang Mai in the north of Thailand, where we will go trekking before we cross into Laos to take a slow boat down the Mekong river. It is so hot and humid here that we cannot wait to get up where the weather is cooler, but we would not mind the heat if we were on a beach, so that is always an option too. Who know right? Plans change all the time… the only sure thing is that we are on an overnight sleeper train to Chang Mai on Saturday night.