Bangkok Reflections

Back in Bangkok now after leaving Vietnam on Sunday (it just took me the best part of a minute then to remember a: what day I flew & b: what day it is today, I stopped keeping track so long ago!) Been a tricky few days as had some very sad news re a friend that I won’t dwell on here but my thoughts have been very much elsewhere, and coupled with my impending return have left me in an unusually melancholic mood. I initially decided to book into a nice hotel in Bangkok with a pool & spa and just chill out in the heat for the last few days but then was brutally reminded that our time here is finite so have ended up out exploring and discovering once again, although not with the same enthusiasm.

Went a took in the Jim Thompson house yesterday, a beautifully preserved traditional house chock full of antiques & textiles collected by an American ex-pat before he mysteriously disappeared while in the jungles of Cameroon. Went there on a recommendation from my Cambodian travel buddy as passed on it the first time and it turned out to be an interesting afternoon so cheers Leighton Thomas, good shout!

Then spent the evening at Bangkok’s seconds oldest Thai boxing stadium taking in a night of brutal fights, its an insane sport! The crowd was split pretty much 50/50 between the tourists sitting ringside and then a massively animated group of locals who were wildly gesticulating at each other the whole time placing bets on the fights. They’d get more frantic once someone landed a big hit or there was a leg wobble. The there were 10 fights, 2 ended by knockout and 1 just appeared to randomly stop halfway through and not even the locals could explain why! There was even a kids fight to close out the night (looked about 11-13, not 4 year olds or anything, that’d be cruel but also I suspect, very funny) although most people had left at that point, the championship fight for some reason was the 7th and the majority of the stadium left after that.

Today I took in the red cross snake farm which was very interesting and mildly terrifying and the same time. They have a good collection venomous snakes as they harvest the venom daily to make anti venom. The show where they do this in the morning was great to watch, but the afternoon show where they have snake handlers managing, displaying, goading and the catching (bare handed) a selection of some of the most deadly snakes around was really the main attraction. Siamese & king cobras are some gnarly looking beasts, you wouldn’t want to bump into them in the wild! One of the cobras in the exhibition case took a particular dislike to me and that was disconcerting enough!

 

Between the morning & afternoon shows I went for a stroll in the nearby Lumphini park. It’s a goods size with some lakes around for boating and some gardens and statues, I get the impression it would be really relaxing if they weren’t setting up hundreds of stalls and stages everywhere ready for the tourist festival which starts Friday, although enjoyed the aptly named ‘Tat’ souvenir stall  Combination of the walking, the heat (92 degrees here today but cloudy) and general winding down took everything out of me so back to the hotel for a steam and jacuzzi session and now getting an early night. Final day tomorrow, nothing specific planned, will likely just wander the streets taking it all in pending the flight back on Thursday/Friday but will try and find something cool to do and go out with a bang!

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