Health paranoia be dammed, the first place we went to eat on our first night in Bangkok was a street stand. And then we hit a second stand. And then a third. The food was great!
We didn’t want to get too crazy on the first night so we had decided to try out options that we could walk to from our hotel. The first stand had these amazing coconut and pineapple pastries, the second had the best spiced omelet I’ve ever tasted and the third had a seating area so we sat down for a plate of spicy chicken with basil, rice and a fried egg.
“Until you’ve eaten on a Bangkok street, your noodles mingling with your sweat, and your senses dulled by chilli, exhaust and noise, you haven’t actually eaten Thai food,” said the Lonely Planet guide book that we had downloaded. I have always loved Thai food but the book was right, Thai food on the street was a totally different, multi-sensory experience.
The spice level of the food was predictable. But the flavors were so enticing you couldn’t put your fork down. Jammie put it well, “My mouth is burning but I just can’t stop eating!” It was so amazingly good.
“What other city has such a full-flavored, no-holds-barred, insatiable, fanatical approach to eating?” asks the guide book. I’ve just landed but I am guessing the answer is “none”.
At the local prices, the dishes tasted even better. Yes, we had done our research and yes, we knew that the prices were extremely low by American standards but the feeling of eating a whole meal for 50 baht ($1.60) was amazing. We may end up doing a lot less cooking here than we expected…
Language barriers and scams
The language barrier at first, was worse than we had expected. We had basically no Thai to offer and they had little English. But then sweet relief came as they called someone over who spoke decent English. And that is the beauty of the Thai approach. They make it easy on their visitors.
Scam alert: If you are in Thailand and are quickly befriended by someone who speaks good English, don’t linger too long. A common scam involves someone that dramatically breaks the language barrier, speaks great English, claiming that their son or daughter is studying at a university in your country.
They disarm you with charm and a really convincing knowledge of your country. This kind of behavior is not normal among the average Thai so watch out for it as you may end up getting suckered into unwanted purchases or other awkward and financially burdensome situations.
Where to live?
Well, we’ve slept all night and neither one of us is sick so I guess we have lived to see another day. (I suppose taking pepto bismol before we ate didn’t hurt either…)
Now we are on to the apartment hunt. We have identified about 20 apartments that we are interested in – all costing $200-300. We are going to head out and visit a few today and we’ll be soliciting some advice from some expats over the weekend.
Have any suggestions for an apartment? Let us know in the comments.