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.