bangkok chinatown

chinatown street food

selling amulets

popular vcd's

this morning after partaking in the complimentary breakfast buffet at d&d inn, i gathered up my stuff and moved a few blocks away to the sawadee inn, about US$2 cheaper for pretty much the same quality of room (although i do get windows). the d&d felt too much like a dorm. early in the morning there were drunk backpackers cranking the volume on the tv and having some sort of stomping party. i was too tired and angry to call up the front desk and complain, although i don't think they'd care anyway. my room had no windows, the floor was this cold faux stone laminate, and every still smelled of cigarette smoke from previous occupants. the tv got enough reception to get some channels in black and white, the remote doesn't work, and i couldn't get any hot water. i think sawadee will be better.

the main thing i had to do today was to fix the time on my open ticket to myanmar and to get my visa. i didn't expect it to take the whole day, but that's what happened. i took the ferry into downtown bangkok then walked. i passed by many tuk tuk drivers without being hassled; they look at me confused, unsure if i'm foreign or native. the rare times that i do get a, "where you go?" i stare back with angry wild eyes, scaring them back into submission. part of the trick is to walk slow, and look like i know where i'm going, when in fact i have no idea.

when i got to the myanmar embassy they were closing for lunch (12pm), and when i got to the thai airway office, i had to take a number because there were already so many people waiting for service. after fixing my ticket (i rescheduled, i leave for burma saturday morning), i had lunch at a chinese restaurant, my fluent mandarin made me seem like an old customer. i ordered some beef noodles (80 baht, didn't even look at the menu, ordered by asking), ate while watching the 60th WWII annivesary parade in moscow (on tv), then went back to the embassy. a lot of tour companies have representatives that just basically hang out there, doing the visa paperwork for their clients. they've got the place so much under their control that when you go there independently, you pretty much have to wait until they process the dozens of client passports before it's your turn. the embassy was almost about to close for the day (3pm) when i finally made it to the counter. i pick up my visa tomorrow afternoon.

afterwards i went around bangkok on the skytrain, riding from terminal to terminal. i got off near patpong road, the infamous red light district. it was pretty quiet though (since it was still daylight), just some suggestive unlit neon signs, and some bored girls sitting around inside of bars. for some reason the whole area is surrounded by japanese restaurants and guesthouses. i'll try to go there again at night, when i can muster enough courage. it's hard going to a place like that alone though, might as well wear a placard that says "fresh meat."

i got the skytrain back to the ferry dock, a boat ride back to the backpacker slum, and now i'm waiting until it's late enough so i can quickly grab some dinner before going back to the hotel.

tomorrow, i promise to finally visit some famous wats before i pick up my passport/visa at the myanmar embassy.

sawasdee inn

bangkok ferryboat

something old, something new

sri mariamman temple (hindu)

"super pussy"