Every morning as I leave my hotel, I am greeted the same friendly way by the same woman; "allowayoulookyfo?" as she thrusts brochures for women I might like to buy. She is the first and from there it just keeps coming. That and the offers for massage, sometimes with 'happy ending'. I am staying in the area known as Silom, and area where pretty much everything and anything goes. The night market of Patpong is a couple of streets over and sells fakes of whatever brand you want and while some is obviously junk, some of it is impossible to tell. Tiffany, Bulgari, Cartier, DSquared, Gucci, and on the list goes ad infinitum. More often than not, the giveaway of the fake isn't really the way it looks and feels, but more the packaging, like the Gucci dog tags I almost bought which were in a soft carry case and box of Tiffany. I passed and instead I satisfied myself with a U-Boat watch I have been wanting for years.
The Patpong market itself is set up every afternoon and torn down about one in the morning, every day of the week. It also runs the length of one of the most famous or infamous streets in Bangkok, where the ping pong girls work. I am dying to go to one of the shows and see it for myself, but don't want to go alone. I am sure I will be shocked and mortified and will need to share the moment. Just in case you don't now what a ping pong girl is, she can expel many items with surprising accuracy from her area 'down there'. I have heard that the girls even have their own version of darts, and the clubs have very discreet names like my personal favorite, "Super Pussy", which I have yet to visit, but is top on my list. I will write more about all of this in detail once I have seen it with my own eyes.
But my trip has not been so much about fakes and ping pong, I have done an enormous amount of sightseeing. One thing I love about Bangkok is the ability to just walk and explore. Delhi does not really have that expect in certain pockets and just to be able to walk and get lost and discover a city has been great. I walk until my legs turn to rubber and then grab a taxi back to the hotel. And there is tons to discover here in the city. Everyday produces story after story, which I will start writing out from tomorrow when I reach my next destination, a tiny, non-touristy beach community about 5 hours outside of Thailand. Prachuap Khiri Khan is my next destination, a decision that was made when I read that there was very little to do there but relax and take in nature.
After two years in India, I am up for some serious isolation and sensory deprivation. Also, the last days in Bangkok have just been an overload of sights and I need a break. There really does get to be a point when it all just becomes too much and the mind and eyes need a break from it all. So, I am taking that before I head to Ayutthaya, the ancient capital of Thailand (actually Siam) which was destroyed by the Burmese. From there, I have no idea what my plans are, maybe more beach, maybe heading north to the area of Chiang Mai. It is supposed to be beautiful and the only thing stopping me is that I don't know how much I want to do alone. I am fine being on my own. I enjoy my own company, we all do, but sometimes it is great to have someone to share it with. It just makes it so much nicer.
So many more stories are on the way and I will write them as soon as I am sitting on a pristine white beach with clear blue water.