Tour Over. Bye.
For the life of me, I cannot understand why helmets are not mandatory in every single country.
I will admit, I have not seen as many mopeds here as I did whilst in Vietnam... nor have I seen the amount of people jammed on to ONE solitary seat of ONE solitary motorbike as I have in other select countries. BUT... I have been witness to some of the same hazardous driving.
So... why no helmets?
Have they managed to beat the odds?
Are deaths at an all time low?
I just read an interesting stat... only 7% of kids wear helmets and even LESS of them even have a license... so I'm assuming road rules aren't much of a priority.
If I decide to rent one of these monstrosities, please stop me... Same applies for if I hop aboard.
I decided today was the day to beat jet lag. This flight fatigue had interfered with the day-to-day of my adventure for long enough. The intention was to head out into the city and just see where the day swept me away. Sightseeing would obviously deny me any easy access to whip home for a quick kip. I would be forced awake for the entire day.
... or so I hoped, anyway.
My plan went a bit sideways... but we'll get to that.
Some friends had made recommendations and I had pin-pointed a few places on my map. It was enough to fully occupy me for the entire day. Off I went...
My first stop was boarding a water taxi across the Chao Phraya River to visit the monumental Temple of Wat Arun Ratchawararam. Wat Arun is a Buddhist temple that derives its name from the Hindu God, Aruna, who is often personified as the radiations of the rising sun. He is the red sky of sunrise. Not too shabby, eh.
So many gods and goddesses in this world, it's hard to keep up.
In addition to being one of Bangkok's most famous landmarks, Wat Arun is also considered to be one of the most beautiful temples in Thailand. Seriously... I was impressed by the craftsmanship and the architecture... but to be honest, I'm pretty impressed by everything right now.
One of the many trials and tribulations of traveling by yourself is taking photos... of yourself.
Yes, I can just take a bunch of photos and be on my way... but sometimes I want to capture the moment with ME in it. Not necessarily always... but definitely maybe sometimes.
Why I would wish to insert my enormous gob in the middle of something extraordinary doesn't really make sense to me either, but sometimes I just gotta plunk it in there.
Maybe it's an opportunity for me to express myself.
Maybe I'm presenting myself to the world.
Maybe I'm documenting the fact that I was there.
Maybe it's a disorder.
I don't know.
I'll shut up.
Anyway... this particular photo ⬅... right here... took me forever because this silly, little man kept backing into my shot in order to get the perfect picture of his girlfriend. Of course, he'd already taken 890 photos of his girlfriend. I just wanted one. One photo. I don't ask for much. After I had remained patient for eternity, the clowns had the audacity to just SIT DOWN.
Life is hard for me.
I had to seek out another wall for this compelling and intense visual masterpiece.
Side note: I was wearing shorts underneath... and had to throw on my sarong overtop in order to be permitted entry. No shorts in temples.
It was around this time that my day decided to pull some pretty heavy strings
❌ Sightseeing plan over.
I got heat exhaustion.
There was no denying it. I had all the usual symptoms; headache, nausea, dizziness, weakness, irritability, thirst, heavy sweating and elevated body temperature.
I've had it before and I'm sure I'll have it again. I'm really a lucky, lucky girl... because I tend to fall prey to all the fun stuff.
Aviation nausea • Jet lag • Heat exhaustion.
Sometimes they will all strike at once... when I'm having a particularly good trip.
It hit me like a wave. I was doomed.
It was a sluggish, yet surprisingly swift trip back to the hotel... and back to bed for the remainder of the day... or so I wished...
There is nothing I would have enjoyed more than spending the remainder of the day in bed... but I had gone and booked myself up for a tuk-tuk food tour.
Although slightly expensive, what a brilliant idea this tour was going to be. What better way to see the sights of the city, admire the colourful & luminescent lights of the famous landmarks, learn a little bit of history, zoom around the bustling streets in a tuk tuk AND enjoy some delicious Thai cuisine.
It was treacherous.
It was downhill from the word go.
They set our meeting place in a location so far removed from anywhere significant in Bangkok, that it was actually comical. Farcical. It was nowhere within the vicinity of any well known local markets or famous landmarks. The meeting place was a skytrain stop, up above a highway, in the middle of nowhere. It cost me quite a lot to get there, and when I arrived, I was beyond befuddled. I had NO idea where I was or where I was supposed to go
I wasn't the only one.
When everyone had finally arrived, we all journeyed down to meet our drivers. Our tour guide, Kevin, quickly broke us all into pairs and assigned us each a tuk tuk for the evening. So without any explanation as to the location of our meeting, where we were or where we were going, we jumped in our tuk tuks and proceeded to head directly back to where most of us had come from in the first place. It was bizarre.
Kevin was... odd.
He barely interacted with us... and when he did, it was as though he was making stuff up to practice English words. Nothing he said made sense... and I mean that in the most literal way. In addition to speaking complete nonsensical gibberish, his intonation & word stress for the English language was completely off... and it was a chore to try and comprehend what he was saying.
It was nauseating and I eventually had to tune him out.
If you don't believe me, watch the video I made. It's on my Tik Tok. If you don't have Tik Tok... I can send it to you. Maybe I'll put it on Facebook...
*Anyway... watch it and then think of spending 4 hours listening to that drivel.
I was shocked when he told us that he'd been guiding for eight years.
I refuse to believe. No.
8 minutes... maybe.
There was no rhyme nor reason to any of the stops we made. And if there was, he didn't share any of it with the group. One of the girls actually inquired as to the peculiar route we'd been driving, as well as the obscure food stalls we'd visited. In addition to getting flustered, he blethered about someone once being Catholic many 100 years ago.
*Again... watch the video.
His historical explanations were either non-existent, ignored or they were so convoluted in their simplicity that I don't even think he really knew where we were or what we were looking at. On more than one occasion, he was reading directly from his phone. There was a point he went to show us a Google image, and he whipped the phone past us so quickly, he almost gave us whiplash. On the street, he walked so far ahead of us that I imagine each of us could have disappeared and he wouldn't have known until later.
Each stop was 10-15 minutes away from the previous one, which meant more driving than quality time seeing the city, taking pictures and sampling food. Personally... I think it was their way of biding time in order to accomplish the advertised 4-hours.
We were treated to a dried up piece of fried chicken, a small round of sausage, a hard boiled egg (with soya sauce in it), a miniscule pancake... and a slice of pineapple.
I think we peaked at pineapple.
There are so many unreal night markets in Bangkok... and I don't think I need to tell anyone that Bangkok is listed as one of the TOP destinations in the world for street eats. This tour... no... don't do it. I want my baht back so I can actually go to fabulous markets that offer an abundance of tasty temptations.
*None of the food depicted in these photos were on our tour. I just threw them in to show what a decent food tour might consist of.
We finished off in a large, desolate banquet, which obviously catered to bus tour groups. Our table was set and within about 15 minutes, a few dishes were put in front of us.
There was no personal touch.
The cuisine was meh.
It was, altogether, disappointing. All of it.
The best part of the tour was rolling our eyes and making fun of Kevin.
It was actually the mango sticky rice we had in Chinatown. Maybe...
We didn't really make fun of Kevin, so to speak... though I did roll my eyes a LOT.
I just don't think any of us could believe we'd PAID for this...
BUT... the mango sticky rice was to-die-for-delicious.
As soon as we had devoured our last of our traditional Southeast Asian delight, Kevin was quick to announce that the tour was over.
No "Thank you for coming."
No "Does anyone have any questions?"
No "We've all enjoyed having you on the tour."
Kevin simply said, "Tour over. Bye."
Ok... bye, Kevin.
He watched us all get in our tuk tuks and zoom off into the night.
Guess it saved me an unwarranted tip.