Day life, night life:The contrasts of tourist friendly Bangkok

Steaming from a long hot shower I leave the warm humid bathroom and throw myself onto the bed in the freezing air conditioned premises of my hotel room. I  pick up my laptop and start tapping away on my keyboard…

Loud banging tears me away from some unimportant long forgotten dream as I lazily turn to see my teacher in the doorway of my room. My roommate Kasper also stirs from his sleep and sits up in bed.
The time is 9:00 AM Day 3 of our adventures, were late, breakfast is closing and we’re scheduled to leave the hotel now.

The last remaining  leftovers of the breakfast buffet are hastily consumed before my and Kasper meet up with the rest of our group  in the hotel reception.

Today our travels take us to the waterways of Bangkok city. Once a primary transport method, canals were used extensively to transport goods and sell wares (in floating markets). Nowadays it seems they serve one purpose alone. A drainage system for the city slum sewage and waste.
We chartered a river boat. I regret not having asked the name of the boats, but as our guide Mr. Pom so proudly told us people called them “Bond Boats”. As one of the James Bond movie scenes had been filmed on the canals with these boats.

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Mr. Pom, our guide for the day

Our guides for the day were the above depicted Mr. Pom as well as our driver Mr. Dang (hehe) .
Mr. Pom eagerly informed us that  Bangkok is not the real name of the city but that it is used to make it easier for tourists to refer to.
The full name (which I’m not even going to try to remember), he said is written with over 100 English letters. WOW I say!

After boating for a while we arrived at a snake farm mini-zoo-with-primarily-snakes-fo-sho.
Here we proceeded to take photos with what I seem to remember was a python snake.

Lovise Holding a python at the Snake farm

It was doped/drugged and blinded I think.
My classmates were shocked at the sight of animals put into small cages the size of closets and I don’t blame them. It’s not like they have lived in a third world country for 13 years like I have. Believe me, I have seen Zoos in worse conditions and animals treated worse than these.
But, whether  you like the conditions they live in or not I did get some pretty nice photos of some of the animals.

Iguana

Lovely bird with a magnificent display of feathers

Not only were the pretty animals there, but also some lovely ladies! 🙂

Mari and Audhild

But things are not all milk and honey in Thailand.

A few hours later in the evening after being at the night market, me and some of my classmates decide to take a taxi to the nearby hotel where another class from our school is staying the night before bussing on to Cambodia. It’s around 11 o’clock now and the streets are beginning to bustle with a whole different kind of activity. The infamous night life of Bangkok.
With no regard to this we call a cab and head for the Mandarin hotel.

After spending about an hour at the hotel we leave for our hotel again. We flag a cab and set off. We show the driver the card of our hotel and he sets of. It doesn’t take long before he has tried to sell us sex. Not my first encounter of this sorts.
Only hours earlier arriving at one of the many famous night markets, the first thing we were offered was free entry to the “Pussy Bar”.
Here in a bustling square souvenirs, trade and prostitution coexist. On both sides of the stands there are dimly lit bars and clubs emitting muffled sounds of hit songs and sketchy asian women hanging around the doorway beckoning you to enter.
Not even 3 meters from where tourist families casually shop for traditional Thai souvenirs.

Behind the facade of exquisite hotels, luxurious shopping centers and tourist mockups lies a dark and depressing truth.
Ever since the cold war, prostitution in Thailand has escalated at immense rates.
Official  government estimates set the number at 65, 000 but international and NGO agencies estimate that 2,000,000 people in Thailand practice prostitution as a means of earning a living.
This trend isn’t decreasing, rather the opposite. The heightened tourism industry is boosting prostitution  levels to a sky-high level.
Thailand has earned the unfortunate “sex tourism” title.

One of many

 

 

Our taxi driver proceeded to become more and more insistent on selling us sex. He even handed us a little leaflet.
We found the whole situation quite amusing, and laughed when he drove us into a yard surrounded by bars and clubs. This is one of many “red light districts” in Bangkok. By now I was quite irritated. And made it very clear that we didn’t want to “lady dance”. That we just wanted to go home to our hotel! Well he seemed to soften up a bit now. After all he was quite an old shriveled man. (I got the impression that all taxi drivers turned Pimp after midnight).

Just to expand on it a bit: What has this country come to if a regular taxi driver assumes (he didn’t know english) that a foreigner (or farang as they refer to us as) out after midnight is automatically looking to have pay for sex?
Food for thought.

He seemed to try to apologize after that and drove us towards our hotel.

He apparently didn’t know where it was exactly but we recognized the place and got out.
20 minutes of walking later we got to our hotel. At 2:30AM.

But I wish to leave you on the happy note of a GOOD MORNING! as it is now 6:06AM and I’m supposed to be up in 4 hours for breakfast.

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