Bangkok and the journey to same

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The journey to bangkok itself was a good example of what to expect to be different between Cambodia and Thailand.  Siem Reap had been essentially a 4 road town, two of which were major national streets (the other two were constantly under construction/repair).  We elected to take a taxi from Siem Reap to the border crossing since - it being a total of about 100 miles - the taxi would be substantially quicker at only three hours I've wracked my brains to think of a suitable analogy for the roads but really the best I can come up with was that I didn't ride in a car, I rode in a tumble dryer cleverly disguised as a car.  Of the 100 mile stretch probably about 15 miles were actually paved (rough pavement but paved none the less) while the rest were a mixture of rock, loose sand, pot holes and wandering cows.  Our taxi driver tried his best to shorten the trip by flooring it whenever there was a relative short spot only to have to break suddenly to go down and through a river rather than over a bridge current being repaired or built for the first time.  It was exciting to say the least.

The border itself turned out to be pretty effortless.  I'd been prepared to have to bribe an official so that it would take a manner of hours instead of days to get through (this was Hank's experience the last time he was through) but sadly they've since cleaned up the system so a bribe - or technically "elevation to VIP status" - was no longer in order.  It was still entirely possible to be stuck in no-mans land though, the cambodian hut to get your passport stamped on exit was cleverly disguised as nothing (Hank had detailed directions so we managed to find it) and we made our way through to the BKK bound train.

The difference in countries was obvious immediately.  Everything was paved and a good portion of the building had lights on during the day (a needless expense).  The train was still, quoting hank here, worse than even the cheapest train in china but it was functional and that was saying something.  More akin to an above ground subway car the six hour ass numbingly long ride went smoothly, I got to get glimpses of the country side between sleeping and sharing food with random thai folk.  It felt pretty similar to normal pastoral countryside until you'd see someone standing in a marsh picking (I assume) rice or a water buffalo or something.  There was much sleeping.

Now in Bangkok I've spent a day getting a rough bearing of the city.  I'm staying conveniently close to the Amulet Market (which sells disappointingly few occult amulets and many many budhas).  I found my way to china town where I saw far more plastic piece of crap than I thought could exist in the world, ate some form of fried corn and maybe a meat or vegetable (hard to tell) from a nice woman with a giant meat cleaver, and completely missed "little india".  It's been a little difficult adjusting to a place where I don't have to take my shoes off before entering the hotel and there aren't a thousand people screaming at me "hey mister, you buy!".  They're content to just wait until you start looking before descending upon you.

Today I'm off to the electronics mecca of bangkok, followed by a couple of good leads on quality suit makers.  I've decided that for shirts and whatnot - things I want to actually wear - I'm going to go at least a little upscale and maybe they'll last.  When researching I found this little gem in the Thorn Tree (lonely planet's forums):

Finally, I did leave out one other great thing you can get from the cheap tailors. If you've ever wanted anything absurd: a bright green coat for St. Patty's Day, a suit in the colors of your team, or a great vampire costume, this is the place to get it made.

I hadn't considered a lime green saint patrick's day suit or a purple and gold sports coat until now, but they do have a certain appeal...

Not many interesting pictures from the wandering or the train so thing to post, I'll see what electronics mecca turns up.


The purple and gold sportcoat will just make you look like the Husky band leader. Do the bright green suit - it will make a great leprechaun costume for Halloween as well :)

I can see you getting a leprechaun suit... and breaking it out for your birthday :)


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