Friday, January 30, 2009

Kolors Explode on Khao San Road

beads beads beads beads beads beads beads beads beads

cushions, shawls, rugs, bags, table runners, hats, whatever

Colorful, brand new taxis abound in left-lane-driving Bangkok. Just be sure to ask the driver to use the taxi meter before you start the trip. And if mid-trip he suddenly comes up with a story that the traffic-is-so-terrible-at-this-time therefore could you just cough-up-a-certain-amount-which-he-specifies instead of letting the meter run, don't you budge. A verbal contract is a verbal contract.

Oh, and here's a very helpful tip: before you go anywhere, ask a travel agent, or better yet, ask several travel agents in any of the many travel agencies in the vicinity, what is the estimated cost and time of travel to a certain place. With this information, you now have a better bargaining position with the taxi or the tuk-tuk driver. The tuk-tuk, by the way, is an open-air taxi that is driven by a motorcycle. Much like the pedicab of Dumaguete, only of a different configuration.

Khao San Road could easily be any street in Quiapo or thereabouts with its assorted street merchandise, varied business enterprises, crawling traffic and multitudes afoot. This was taken around nine am, when most of the tourists were still in bed, therefore there were not too many people or cars around yet.

Perhaps even more colorful than the beads, taxis and goods for sale on Khao San Road, would be the skin of the people present there. It was like a United Nations Convention of sorts as I met visitors from Israel, Germany, London, Indonesia, America and yeah, Quezon City.

There was a sort of special bond among the foreigners there. I was a foreigner there and several times it was some other foreigner who helped me out in what would otherwise have been a frustrating situation. For example, when I couldn't figure out the Thai inscriptions on their ATM machines, it was a caucasian couple who told me where the button for English instructions was. And when I couldn't understand what the waitress was saying in English, another white woman kindly explained to me what the waitress meant. The very few Thais there who spoke English did so with an accent that was difficult to understand.

This elderly Thai was peddling his wares along Susie Street, the little side street that connected Khao San Road to Rambuttri Road, where our hotel was. I wasn't sure if he spoke English so I didn't ask him what he was selling. Thru gestures I asked him instead if I could take his picture, to which he paused and posed.


SONIA said...

I love how i'm getting to be a vicarious traveller through your pics. hehe. thanks doc!

ness said...

mao nay gitawag ug "ride on" na! :-)

Bonnie M. said...

I sincerely hope you went to see the Golden Palace in Bangkok...

ness said...

The Golden Palace? What Golden Palace? hehehe. Op cors we went there. And that's where my 2 GB memory card got filled up with pics.

I've realized too that a DSLR does not a good photographer make. There is an art and a science to this thing that I am learning yet. Delightedly!

More Bangkok travelogue and travel guide in upcoming posts.