Bangkok is one of the better cities I have visited in the world. It is relatively clean. There is something happening at every street corner, the people are very friendly, and I have felt safe all the time on the street.
The pace here is slow, the walking pace that is, I walk fast and Debbie and I have had to adjust our walking speed by half. This is partially due to the heat and partially by the volume of pedestrians. Also the sidewalks are not in pristine condition and care must be taken to not trip or twist an ankle.
The traffic is a bit crazy but much more orderly than other Asian cities. The talking horn is non-existent here. The cars and motor bikes ebb and flow just as in other places but no one toots the horn. The drivers have their spidey sense engaged and there is rarely a conflict. Traffic lights actually mean something, the traffic stops when a red light appears and goes on green.
Every one is quite patient and pedestrians have some sort of right of way. Debbie and I have been mid street when someone will actually stop and give us a wave to continue. When we actually use a crosswalk the traffic stops in both directions and lets us pass. I do not think this is because we are obvious tourists, this happens when locals are poised at a crosswalk as well. Debbie still uses the old “latch onto a local and cross with them” technique, which works very well but if a local is not available it is easy to get curb to curb here.
Our first tuk tuk ride today. The fellow at the front desk said a taxi would be cheaper but we had to get into one of the three wheeled motor bikes and take an open air ride to Chinatown. Chinatown epitomizes what Asia is all about, crowded streets with open air stalls lining both sides of the road and taking up most of the sidewalk. The difference here is the sellers are not aggressive. Everyone waits for the customer to come to them.
We are on our way to a night market tonight. The Asiatique has a free shuttle boat from the skytrain line to the jetty adjacent to the market which is open 6pm to 11:30pm every night. SKIP IT. It is a very nice absolutely sterile place, an open air shopping mall with zero personality. Debbie had thought it might be the case but we thought we would go and see anyway. Although prepared we are disappointed anyway.
Three nights in Bangkok and our third night out. Debbie makes two observations while we are walking the streets after dark. One is the number of single women out after dark and the second is the fact no one carries their bag in front of them and most do not have it across their chest. As I mentioned above I have not felt threatened here and these two notings help to back up my ease.
We have one more full day in Bangkok and we will travel the river to some sights and visit another, hopefully more real, night market.