Day 1: After zero sleep and too much excitement to meet everyone, we woke up early to be sent on a scavenger hunt. We went (via tuk tuk– we tuk tuked?) to a local’s market. LOCAL’S. We were possibly the first farang (foreigners) to ever pass through the stalls of meat (organs strung everywhere; not my favorite smell) and mountains of fruits and vegetables, amazing food carts, and stalls full of rip-off crap. Our assignment was to buy two types of veggies we had never seen before, so that took about .8 seconds to find. The other group was sent to a temple, where they, too, were met with amused confusion. Basically, we’re the only non-Thai people in the ‘hood. I have yet to see any other farang or tourists on our daily adventures, except when doing particularly “tourist-y” things. Which are fun in small doses.
To begin our day’s journey, we all drove out of the dense urban landscape to Lad Mayom Floating Market (again, virtually the only farang), where we checked out some more artisan goods and rode through the waterways. Which, apparently, is the means by which the residents access their front doors. Venice of the East!
Next, the Temple of Dawn. Temples are very photogenic. Amazing detailing, spectacular views up the Chao Paraya River and of the endless (no, really) Bangkok skyline. Also, our first reality check as we were among countless tourists and tacky souvenir peddlers. This is the haven of supreme souvenirs: always cheap, and either hilariously tacky or beautifully traditional. I’ve been steering towards the former.