June 9, 2015
Having ended our first day in the Thai capital by turning on the air-conditioner and snuggling under the covers, the blast of hot air that greeted us as we opened our door was grossly unwelcomed. Running out of ideas of things to do apart from engaging in intense haggling (all those time spent playing Neopets was worth it) with the vendors in Khao San Road, we headed to the tourist office. A tentative plan to visit the beach in Pattaya the following day became a concrete plan to zipline through the rainforest. We emerged slightly more than a hundred dollars poorer and a thousand times more excited for the days ahead.
Cradling a cup of ice-blended mangoes in our hands, we made the agonizing 15-minute trek to Panfa Leelard Pier where the khlong service runs. Calling it a river taxi service doesn’t seem to do it justice, because you begin to realise after five minutes on the boat, that the houses lining the water body all have their backs towards you. As a fellow tourist wrote on an online board, you more likely “dissolve” than drown if you happen to fall into the, well, smelly water. It didn’t matter much to us though, because we got to avoid the incessant jams at only 9 bahts and zoomed to our destination, Pratunam, in a matter minutes.
We were more than relieved to take shelter in Platinum Mall, the only course in our menu for the day. The air-conditioner was set at a comfortable 24 degrees Celsius, with digital thermometers reminding customers of it on every floor. There’s nothing much for me to say about this mall except that it’s huge. As with street-side stalls, haggling is also welcomed here. I walked away with some clothing items (they mostly sell clothes) for my family and myself, the catch of the day being two black sleeveless tie-dyed graphic tops from a tiny stall called Little Rock. If you’re into rock ‘n roll and black emo stuff, head to the 4th storey to check it out.
Also, if you love fat and stubby animals, owls in particular, then be sure to stop by one of the stalls right outside the mall. You’ll know what I mean when you see hundreds of fat cloth owls swinging about. You can get those little squishies alone, in pairs or in family sets and they throw in free name-writing to mark out each member of your family. When you finally get home, you can choose to show them off by hanging them on your front door, but because I’m paranoid that someone will steal them or record our names for evil purposes, I’m locking them in the house.
By this time, we decided we’d had enough of shopping and boarded the boat for home. The return journey was significantly splashier and smellier, but the experience of commuting via canals was worth the “dissolved” skin. After all, dirt can always be washed off, but nothing beats giving yourself the liberty to run around and get grimy.