I have been used to spending a minimum of 3 hours on the road from my university days. And this is not in the good ‘stare out in a melancholic stupor while the rain makes pretty patterns on the window’ sort of commute. It was hell on the road, breathing in carbon fumes,cigarette smoke and the stench of sewage mixed with sweat and breathing out the most innovative curse words known to man. Riding the scooter is not as fun as the Italian movies make it out to be.
Sometimes the nightmare scenes would have music playing through earphones. This was cut short because of how unpredictable traffic was in Bangalore and how quickly people move from the right of the “lane” on to the footpaths. That’s not to say that all of my life’s commuting was nightmarish. There have been moments of great enlightenment. Still, you can imagine that traffic in Bangalore is the 7th level of hell! It really is!
Since moving to Bangkok though, I’ve rediscovered a love of letting someone else do the driving. They have an elaborate Sky Train and Metro service that connects you to almost all of Bangkok. The BTS is the skytrain system and the MRT is the underground metro system and they teach you a thing of two about life. Having travelled extensively on the London Underground, I find the Bangkok Mass Transit system to be more … laid back.
You don’t have men in suits cursing at you if you accidentally stood on the left instead of the right (OH MY GOD IT IS THE END OF THE WORLD) and everyone seems to walk at their own pace so that the heat doesn’t smudge their makeup. I’m all for leisurely strolling and zen like stances so this is a big plus in my book (except when you’re in a rush and are likely to knock down 25 petite women on your way). And while you get crushed in due to the morning rush, you are taller than most people and so can read your book at leisure.
YES, I CAN READ WHILE TRAVELLING. FWORD YEAH!
I cannot understate how amazing it is to be able to carry a book into an air-conditioned carriage and zone out for 20 minutes while you get pulled in to a spectacular story. In London, sight seeing (aka subtly watching Hot Dudes Reading on Trains) was my pastime. Here, the sights are so few (if you count out all the sexy legs strutting around) that you can actually get into reading. I have read more books in the two months I’ve been here than I have in the months coming up to my move!
I am winning at life!
Okay, enough showing off. What have you been reading lately?
I went from travelling to England at Rs. 80 to a Pound in 2013 and Rs. 105 to a pound in 2015 so you can imagine just how quickly my savings wiped out and just why currency rates are so important to me. I am not high maintenance and I went to Tanzania with $1000 and made it work for a year (I didn’t earn a single buck when I was there). Luckily for me, I earn quite the good wage now so I’m no longer worried about the Rupee vs the World. However, till the boy gets his first pay-check, we’re living off 1 wage and this causes similar budget constraints that feel way too familiar for me.
Instead of letting that ruin our weekend fun, I remembered a trick I picked up while in the land they call Great. The sheer delight of lying in parks and doing nothing, it’s under-rated. I never realised the value of parks, having so few of them in Bangalore within easy reach. It took me the shock of seeing shirtless old men (they come out in hoardes when the sun is out) to realise the joy of having grass under your feet. The only difference between them and me, apart from the obvious reasons, was that I enjoyed sitting under the shade of the tree while they basked proudly under the sun.
Here, everyone was in the shade so I didn’t feel like a total weirdo. A couple of cold drinks and we were set for a nice, relaxing evening in the park. And rather than wax on about how peaceful it was and how the breeze just blew the right away, I will let these photos do the talking. After the park, we went to the water garden at Em Quartier (the poshest mall in the world!). We had spectacular views of the Bangkok Skyline as well. Ladies and Gentlemen, the Benchasiri Park of Bangkok (Directions: Get off at the Phrom Phong BTS station et voila!) and The Water Garden at Em Quartier (Directions: Right opposite the park) Budget – 35 Baht for two drinks.
P.S. There are turtles and moustachioed fish in the murky water. They, apparently, like bread and corn puffs.
We spent the rest of the evening in the pool – which, if you’re renting a condo in Bangkok is part of the deal = FREE! YAY! Hope you’ve had a great weekend as well!
Other than being utterly shocked, the boy and I are totally okay. The shock factor comes from the fact that the explosion happened less that 400 meters away from where I currently work. It’s also absolutely terrifying to think that I have passed the shrine many times before for lunch and yesterday could’ve been one of those days. It also opens you up to a lot of unpleasant ‘what if’ thoughts.
The above is a photo I took that morning. Below is the photo of the devastation caused by this absolutely senseless act of cowardice and violence.
The streets and the BTS is eerily empty and our bags are being checked at the entrance and exit of every building. I am all for being extra careful especially in the wake of the news that another bomb went off near the river a few hours ago (no casualties reported!)
I hope people find the strength to continue on after this disaster and live life without fear ruling it. What a terrible tragedy for those who lost their lives and who were injured for no apparent reason.