Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Bangkok Boatride

Footpath in Siam SquareImage via Wikipedia
Mother of ass, it is hotter than a pot of coffee here.

After breakfast, I went out for a walk and was soaked in sweat within minutes. I walked around for about an hour and was forced to retreat to the air conditioned confines of my hotel room to change and recover.

I'd only been awake for a few hours, but I was completely wiped out. I lay on my bed while cursing myself for doing so. I did not fly halfway around the world to watch women play ping pong on a Chinese TV broadcast, as exciting as that is. So I look at my city map and weigh my options for the day.

Make no mistake, Bangkok is a big ass city, three times the size of Toronto, and I am clearly daunted by its sheer magnitude. I want to go to the temples but they are spread around the city. I would also like to take a boatride in the harbour, but I opt for Siam Square, only because it offers the promise of air conditioning. It feels like a lame compromise, but it beats the hell out of women's ping pong.

So I venture back out into the unspeakable heat, planning to flag a cab, but I find myself walking. I stumble upon one of the many boat docks in the city, and opt instead for a boatride, thinking that it should be cooler on the water.

There are two types of boats, one for tourists and a myriad of others that are part of the transit system. I was tempted to just hop on a local boat, but it was not apparent to me whether I needed to buy a ticket, or pay while on board. I am very leery about breaking the rules.

Instead, I opt for a tourist boat. Without realising, I have booked the whole boat, and I find myself being personally chauffered around the harbour and canals. I have also committed myself to a visit to the snake farm, whatever that is.

It was a great trip, and a nice opportunity to see the city from the harbour, which gave me a much better chance to view the city from a long perspective, thus better understanding its layout.

We also wound our way through the many ancient canals that were built way back when to foster commerce and provide defense for this aged kingdom.

At one point, we stop at the snake farm, where a show is put on featuring a python, a cobra and another Asian snake. There are also a bunch of other animals here.

The whole experience reminds me of why I hate the zoo, which culminates when, to my horror, I see some douchebag getting his jollies by teasing a monkey with his beer bottle. What kind of people get their kicks tormenting imprisoned animals?

I head back to the hotel feeling oddly demoralized, as a wave of melancholy washes over me. Can we not just show a shred of respect for ourselves, each other, and the creatures that surround us?