We have now left Bangkok and Thailand! The first part of our big journey has come to an end. Thailand was both fantastic and overwhelming. A very intense experience. Especially Bangkok, where the heat and the many impressions took some getting used to.
We stayed at a hotel right at the Chao Phraya river. 24 hours a day we could follow the life in the big city, full of activity. Very often I would just sit and watch for a while. For me, this is the best way of getting to know a new place. Just sit and observe the locals! Quickly we learned to take the local ferry across the river to the central pier on the other side. From there we took the faster water-buses that would take us to China Town, the temples or the Great Palace within 10 minutes.
At an early stage in my “life as a traveller” I learned, that in order to get to know a city, you should really start to get to know its public transportation system. Metro-system, Regional trains, Trams etc. In Bangkok the water-buses and small ferries were the perfect combination for us, in order to go exactly where we wanted in remarkably little time. For Anton it was always a great adventure. He always looked forward to the next boat trip. Only a few times we took a Tuk-Tuk or Taxi back to the hotel, and this was mostly outside the operation hours of the water-buses. Or the one day with tropical rain-showers where we took a Taxi to a fancy shopping-mall, which was also an interesting experience. Accustomed to copied items at a very low price-range as we were, all of a sudden we now saw only real Luis Vuitton bags and Gucci belts. I stood for quite a while at the front of the Officine Panerai store, gazing at the watches that I have dreamed of for the last 10 years, but most likely I will never be able to buy. You have to have dreams anyway!
On the ground floor of the mall they had a “Food Mall”. You buy a plastic card or coupons at the entrance, and use this to pay for your food at the countless small stalls on site offering warm or cold meals at very low prices. We saw two such Food Malls while in Bangkok, and the fact that even the locals find their prices reasonable, is a pretty good indicator! A meal there is priced at about 2 USD. On the same floor of the mall they had a supermarket. This was one of the more fancy ones, targeted at the upper and upper-middle class families. I always find it interesting to see local supermarkets wherever I go, as this is also a good indicator of how (and of what) the locals live.
Towards the end of our stay in Bangkok, the intense heat and humidity started to take its toll on Anton. On top of that, he was constantly the center of attention from the locals, who had to come over and touch him and talk to him. I can understand that this is not always fun. Especially when you are already uncomfortable. So the last couple of days we mostly stayed at the hotel in the air-condition, or outside by the pool. We certainly appreciated that pool!
Just before our departure on Wednesday afternoon, Alexandra took another course in Thai cooking. There will be an article about this at the soonest. I am also preparing a longer article telling about our adventures and impressions from Thailand, during this first month of our journey around the World.
Now we are in Brisbane, Australia. This is something COMPLETELY different. We are far away from the myriads of people and the heat. Not to say that its cold here. Average temperature during the day is apprx 18 degrees Celsius. But this feels quite refreshing after at month in 37-39 degrees Celsius and high humidity. And the air is clean! We felt this immediately when we walked out of the arrival terminal at the airport and went towards the train station. We looked at each other and said: AHHH! Lovely!
We arrived Thursday mid-afternoon in our cozy, little hostel. It’s a brisk 10 minutes walk from the city center. The house is a beautiful old building, over 100 years old. Neatly renovated. And even though there are other guests, it’s really QUIET here. We are accustomed to sounds and impressions all around us by now, but I actually enjoy the silence! Well, we will have plenty of silence and quiet moments as we start our 20 day journey by camper-van towards Cairns on Monday. It’s a 1800 kilometer drive and it will be a fantastic adventure!