Asia | South East Asia | Thailand | Bangkok – Day 2 – Khao San Road, Thailand
When I finally did plunk myself down, sweaty and tired at 3:30 or so this afternoon, despite my fatigue, I got this little surge of excited energy. I had made it back to Bangkok, to Khao San Rd. Once again I walked through the grounds of the quiet wat (Buddhist temple) at the west end of Khao San. This particular Wat is almost chimerical in the midst of the Khao San Scene, the latter still a boisterous, blaring, unrepentant fiesta of a traveler ghetto in the midst of a city which is no stranger to urban intensity. The air is steam of fetid ghoulash, with pungent punches from garbage and sewers. The faces have changed but the axioms, the dreads and hippy gypsies, the neon and the rib-rattling bass beat, remain. So I choose to stay on the far side of the wat.
Exhausted from lack of sleep, a result of the jet lag which hangs on someone who, in the last four days has flown Toronto-Tel Aviv and then Tel Aviv – Bangkok, I’m ensconced in my little sweat-box room. The ceiling fan is humming and rattling overhead, and I have assumed the night time journaling position: comfortably undressed, legs stretched out before me, my back nestling the pillow propped up behind me against the tin head-board, journal in my lap.
I realize at this moment that the unwavering pace of my life over the last month — including two round trips from Israel to Toronto, moving out of my temporary accommodation in Jerusalem, preparing for this trip — has caught up with me. Despite the energy all around me, and my own anticipation of the road to come, I am feeling quite mellow. Bangkok’s Thai name (I couldn’t make this up – in fact I can barely transcribe it at this point) is Krungthep mahanakhon bowon rattanakosin mahintara ayuthaya mahadilok popnopparat ratchathani burirom udomratchaniwet mahasathan am onpiman avatansathir sakkathatitya vinukamprasit. Somehow it is an appropriate name for a city that is over the top in so many ways. Fortunately, the Thais seem to be practical too and the name shortened to Krung Thep (City of Angels) in every day usage. A city of intense angels.