For most people, running errands is time-consuming and boring. And while it’s a necessary evil, they’d rather be doing something else. But for me, changing countries every few days will certainly take the “boring” out of the equation, and in some cases will add some excitement. This was the case in Bangkok.
The agenda was simple – print a few e-tickets, get cash at an ATM, search for a jogging route to a nearby park, and pick up a few groceries. The fly in the ointment, and the cause of the excitement was a tremendous rain storm.
Two steps out of the apartment and the sprinkles started, but the clouds didn’t look too threatening, so I carried on to the internet cafe.
Next came the search for a route to the park. I had hoovered up about six maps on my way through the airport, none of which were quite accurate. We were staying in the Sukhumvit neighborhood, and in this part of Bangkok, when you wander off the main streets, things get complicated. I was lost in a manner of minutes, and in the process stumbled into one of the things that makes Bangkok so different. It’s a city of amazing contrasts.
This modern high-rise is two blocks from our apartment. It’s immediately obvious that the people who built this fabulous structure knew what they were doing, and must have used state-of-the-art technology.
On the same street, I saw the power supply for the building. Unbelievable! How would you like to be on the 50th floor when the juice stops?
The rain stopped and then restarted, so I looked for a dry haven. I ducked down a small covered alleyway which lead to a street market and a food court. If your mind pictures a mall with chain eateries, think again. This food court had a corrugated tin roof, metal folding tables, a tree growing up through the middle … and women holding umbrellas to avoid the inside drips. I knew that I was in the right place because there were about about 100 Thais … and me.
Also, the food looked delicious.
I had a tasty Pad Thai, prepared by this chef.
Watching her cook was almost as much fun as eating the noodles. These street-vendor cooks are a study in practiced efficiency. Her movements were smooth and swift. She added what appeared to be 10 ingredients from squirt bottles and small containers scattered around her kitchen. All the while stirring vigorously in a wok the size of a trash can lid.
While having my lunch, the rain started ping-ping-pinging on the tin roof, but I was dry, had good food, and was unconcerned. This changed 15 minutes later when the rain was ham-ham-hammering, and the water started rising in the food court. When the lightning started, a cat crawled stealthily under my table. I wasn’t sure if he was only looking for higher ground, or because I was the tallest person around, was hoping for the “lightning rod” effect. Long story short, by the time the rain slowed, the water was 4-6 inches deep. I waded out and finished SOME of my errands.
I reached the apartment with money in my wallet, wet e-tix in my backpack, and a full stomach. I didn’t accomplish everything, but on a rainy day, it was good enough for me.
That building is TALL!!
I love the look of this building, and you’re right, it’s very tall. It is condo, and the sales office was very near our apartment. The modern architecture of Bangkok is very cool. ~James
Sounds like the very sort of mini adventure that makes travelling in foreign countries infinitely enjoyable and fun.
Vicki, mini adventure is exactly the right word. And luckily, it was an adventure that was very enjoyable and fun as well. It was funny that, other than the vendors scurrying around to protect their food stalls from the rain, the other locals acted like it was a daily occurrence. And the pad thai was super. ~James
Great photos – did you price the condos?
“when you wander off the main streets, things get complicated” – not just around Sukhumvit, lol!
Thanks Kathy. At the time, everything we owned was in a 10X10 foot storage unit, and we were definitely not in the condo market. So we didn’t get the price for the condos. It was a large building, and it had some very interesting floor plans, and a few huge penthouse condos. ~James
You got my curiosity up, so I did a bit of research. This condo is called the Millenium, and according to the website, the prices are 95,000 baht / sq. meter. According to my math, a 60sqm, one-bedroom condo is approx. $208,000. ~James
Ah, thanks. Not the place for those retiring to Thailand to live cheaply.
I assume the cat disappeared when the water started to rise. Or did it climb into your lap? 🙂 Those power lines are amazing. What I did note, however, was the lack of the jury-rigged look you see so often in third-world countries. –Curt
You know how street cats are Curt (especially in SE Asia.) They can certainly take care of themselves. So I’m sure he had a nice warm, dry spot somewhere. And I agree on the jury-rigged wiring. When we lived in Khartoum, the wiring was so bad that an electric razor plugged into the wrong outlet would bring down the neighborhood. ~James
What a fascinating life you two have led. 🙂
Days like this in Bangkok certainly qualify as fascinating, and lots of fun as well. BTW, don’t I remember that you two are planning on a trip to Bangkok?
Yes we are but plans seem to be a little up in the air with the folks right now. We will see how this all shakes out. If not this winter, then perhaps next.
Sounds like a perfect day in a new locale, James!
Other than wet feet, you’re right Ruth. The noodles were wonderful, spicy hot, and the people-watching was excellent. ~James
The building is beyond gorgeous…but with the electrical wiring…oh boy! I am so glad America is starting to put all of theirs underground now.
I agree Laurie, this is a beautiful building. It also demonstrates one of Bangkok’s incredible contrasts. I’ve worked in high-rise buildings, but honestly, I don’t think I’d like living in one. ~James
That looks like such a charming place for lunch! It’s casual community places like that which always have the most satisfying food.
Thanks for stopping by my blog, and yours is fascinating! Hopefully someday your travels will bring you out to Japan’s San’in region.
Thanks for the comment Brittany, and for dropping by the blog. The street food in Bangkok is usually very high quality, and you can always tell the best places by the crowds. This particular place was perfect because there were about 10 different vendors turning out food, and you could peruse their tables for the best looking stuff. ~James
That pad thai looks AMAZING and brings back such great memories of Thai street food. Inexpensive and fast. Miss it very much. Glad you were able to get some of your errands done, at least. 🙂
Gwynne, this pad thai was as authentic as it gets. It had exactly enough heat, and the first bite hit my mouth about 15 seconds after it left the wok. The woman who cooked it was a marvel. Like most accomplished cooks, she made it look effortless. The food was delicious, and she was a joy to watch. It doesn’t get any better than that. ~James