Day 157: Bangkok, Thailand. We woke to a surprisingly cloudy and cool morning – a nice change after the baking heat yesterday.
We whiled the morning away drinking coffee on the guesthouse balcony, watching the comings and goings in the lane way below through the tangled mass of overhead cables.
While we were consuming endless cups of caffeine, Jim spotted a guy with a DHL shirt pulling up on a motorbike in the lane way below. He sprinted down and hallelujah, it was his replacement debit card, delivered only two days after it was requested. A very different experience to our recent endless wait in Mandawa, India.
After lunch we wandered out for another long walk through the city. We badly needed to replace some now very worn out walking tops we bought before we left Sydney. Decathlon has a local branch about 8km away from our guesthouse, so we headed there for a mini shopping spree. Our Sydney membership number also worked, which is pretty cool.
Another of our ‘must-dos’ today was to get one of Lil’s walking boots repaired – the rubber sole had started to come away from the leather upper, and every time we go hiking Lil fears she will end up tying her boot together. We found a tiny shoe repair shop on Google Maps, which was tucked down a small alley way next to shops selling motorbike tyres, hammers and paint. Despite the language barrier, we managed to convey what we needed and the lovely man in the shop stitched the boot there and then – refusing to take any money for his work.
By now it was after 6pm, so we decided to skip walking back and catch a bus home. On the way to the bus stop, we wandered through a busy local market selling fruit, vegetables and meat, including live chickens, dead chickens and – much to Lil’s horror – dead rats. A quick search on Google confirms rat meat is a delicacy, costing as much or more than chicken. The hope, of course, is that the creatures on sale are farm rats, and not rats caught from the city sewers. Quite how you can tell, we have no idea.
While we waited at the bus stop, Lil asked Jim whether he’d eat rat. Perhaps no great surprise, his reply was “Yes of course. So long as it’s cooked. Then it’s just like eating pigeon.”. Lil suspects it’s nothing at all like eating pigeon, but as she’s not going to attempt eating either any time soon, she said nowt.
We waited and waited for a bus, walking out into the busy street every couple of minutes to see if we could spot one coming in the distance. Despite online information saying they run every 15 minutes, after 40 minutes or so there was still no sign of one appearing, so we gave up and walked to the metro station further along the street. The metro here is fab – fast, clean and frequent, and at 7pm there was hardly anyone at the station. The nearest metro station is only 10 minutes from our guesthouse, so it was still a nice easy trip home.
We had dinner at a local restaurant – more big bowls of noodles and stir fried chicken and vegetables. Then we wandered home to start our planning for the next stage of our journey through Thailand. We have one more night in Bangkok before we start our travels north.
Tomorrow we’ll finalise our plans, find somewhere to watch the rugby world cup final, and enjoy a last dinner in Bangkok. And hopefully we won’t find any rat on the menu.