We spent the next 2 days in Bangkok organizing our further travels and getting ready for the trip to India.
First we took our bikes to a bike shop to get them cleaned an put into boxes – that was a 14km cycle into town (luckily all along the same one major road, making navigation easy). It looked like a great bike shop – high quality bikes, well equipped maintenance shop, and very helpful staff. We picked up our bikes the next day, in boxes – looked great what they did, though they took the bikes further apart than we did coming over here to Hanoi, so I am a bit concerned about how much work I will have in India putting it all back together again (also because I was not involved in taking them apart). Getting the bikes back to the airport was the next hurdle – fortunately, the bike shop had a van and offered to take us and the bikes to the hotel – all in all, bikes cleaning, in boxes and transfer cost us around 30€ a bike – not nearly as cheap as in Cambodia or Vietnam, but still a great deal.
Then we needed bags for the flight to India for the rest of our stuff – something cheap that we could throw away when we got to India – after much walking around the big fashion “market” in the center of Bangkok, and seeing hundred upon hundreds of stalls selling all sorts of clothing and not a fake rucksac/luggage stall in sight….
After about 2 hours of wandering through the very confusing and not-navigable market (I am sure we saw some rows multiple times as we got lost so often in the warren of stalls), we finally stumbled upon a store that had a handful of rucksack and bags….and that was enough – for 7€ a piece, we both got a huge soft bag that would fit all our luggage for the flight to India….
One more task on our agenda was getting haircuts….. as we were wandering around the area waiting for the bike store to open, I saw the traditional symbol of a barber in the distance – the red/white striped mini-pole. So, after dropping off our bikes, we wandered over and in, and after looking in the window, realized that it was more a hairdresser for women (including nails, makeup, etc). As we were peering through the window, trying to decide whether we should keep looking or not, we were quickly ushered in (after Jörg asked/gestured if they would cut our hair also…)…so in we where, and Jörg was up straight away….so I watched…after a few minutes, another woman came out of the back and I was up – trying to explain to her what I wanted was a challenge, but eventually she just smiled, nodded and said “ahhh…number zero”….and, well, that’s what I got – was quick, effective, and (oddly) I got my “hair”/head washed AFTER she was done with everything….was weird having my pretty much bald head washed, but was also nice an refreshing. They unfortunately did not do shaving – that was the only thing missing. But we all had a good laugh, our hair got cut, and almost all our tasks were done.
Next day, it was off to the Balluff Sales office in Bangkok – we sent our box of un-needed items from Vietnam to the office here in Bangkok (in case we wanted to add things to it, and we thought it was more likely to get to Bangkok than to Germany from Vietnam (an unfair prejudice in retrospect). We took a taxi to the office and met up with Heiko Landauer there, who had received the box a few weeks back from Vietnam already. Repacked it with a few additional items that we probably wouldn’t need any more, and after much discussion with the staff in the office as to best method to send, we headed to the Thailand post office in a couple of buildings over. A long wait in line, multiple forms to fill out, passeports scanned, and €40-odd handed over, and hopefully in 3 months or so the box will show up in Germany….
It was certainly interesting meeting up with Heiko – I did not know him well before this trip, but he is young dynamic and enthusiastic about running the Thailand sales operation. It was also interesting getting his view of what it is like working in Thailand, especially in setting up a new office and subsidiary…. In the afternoon, we picked up our bikes (or rather had them deliverd to the hotel) – they looked extremely well packed (they took the bikes further apart that I had done on the flights over to Vietnam) – I hope I can get the bike together again in India…
With that, all our required tasks were done – the rest was sightseeing and enjoyment…
I set up for a massage at a spa that I looked up in the internet – I was looking for something that didn’t offer any “extras” as I was really looking for a GOOD massage to work on the tight muscles in my legs and shoulders. I showed up at 5pm for the massage in a small boutique spa, had to wait about 45 minutes yet, and ended up with a portly middle-aged woman who would be my masseuse for the next 2 hours – her name (believe it or not) just happened to be Porn. I couldn’t help but smile and laugh inside when I saw that.
The massage was wonderful – the masseuse managed to hit all the tense spots without overdoing it so that I would be sore for days afterwards. And for those who have already had a thai massage, she used lots of her own body parts to massage me, we’re talking hands, elbows, feet, knees….but it was VERY effective, and the outside thigh muscles were suddenly soft again….wonderful.
On the last day in Bangkok, we did sightseeing – went to the river, and paid for a 2 hour river boat (longtail boats) and probably paid way too much for it. But the trip was exceedingly interesting – I was not aware that Bangkok itself had such a integrated canal system running through it – much more extensive than Venice (felt like it to me anyway) – it was most interesting also to see some more traditional architecture of single dwellings, as well, as some of the poorer corners of Bangkok.
We also head to Wat Pho – the temple with the largest reclining Budda – a serene amazingly quiet garden in the middle of downtown Bangkok, with a huge reclining Budda (as advertised)…. I was most fascinated also by the hundreds of sculptures in the gardens – I followed a series of statues that I dubbed “I stubbed my big toe” series – a number of statues where the character is holding his feet….
One last expensive dinner, on the river front with an amazing view of Wat Arun at sunset.
That was it for Thailand – tomorrow at 11:00 it off to the airport, and the “luxury” of Thailand will be replaced by India – we are expecting a step back in development and convenience…..
Pictures and general impressions of Bangkok
Other random Bangkok pictures
The tourist sights – Wat Pho
River/ Canal cruise