13.06.2014 30 °C
I woke up at seven this morning, when I was promised to get my backpack back. No phonecall from the reception. Maybe a bit late, I tried to convince myself and went back to sleep after a half liter of water (couldn't believe you could get such a dry throat in such humid surrounding). Got up at nine - still no backpack. Got breakfast - nothing happend. By ten I decided to head out and forget about it instead of wasting a day pacing around the hostel. I went with the small camera and saved the space in the daypack for my hiking boots which I planned to replace by flip flops as soon as possible. Picked up a cheap pair for 65 Baht (1,50 euro) and headed to Lumphini Park.
The different bird songs, giant (!) reptiles, open air gym, open air ballet, seniors doing their exercise were a delight to the senses. Sun came out and only the 50+ sunscreen I had carried in my handluggage protected me from further damage (which I can see now by the red forehead that I must have forgotten).
Went further down Rama IV Road towards Chinatown (what looked like an one hour walk on the map turned out to be a three hour one, but was worth it after all). Ran into a nice senior, who was amused by the way I was trying to cross a street without being run over by buses/tuk tuks/motorbikes/cars and everything else that has at least two wheels and an engine. He showed me how to do it right and since that point I was crossing almost every street with confident steps instead of looking like I was running for my life- which was true in some way up to then.
He spoke good English, had been to Heidelberg (because of it's castle, it's very famous all over the world except to Germans) and we walked and talked a bit. Until he dropped me off at a ticket office. Every nice chat around here seems to take that turn at some point, at least that was my impression today. But what I really appreciated on the way is that when you smile at people, a kind smile is usually returned. And a slight nod with the head seemed to be appreciated by Thais even more.
Reached Chinatown, saw my first Wat from the outside but coudn't decide to go in and went for a stroll around the streets instead. A very rewarding decision. The food from the street vendors is excellent, same counts for the cafe latte which was brewed in what was labeled an Italien espressomachine! A situation that caught me (and which I didn't dare to take a picture of) was a blind Chinese walking in the middle of the narrow way of a street market, a loudspeaker hanging around his neck from which a sad Asian song spread through the rather quiet area, a microphone in his hand, singing to it, begging for change. Some sort of karaoke. The contrast of joyful entertainment and a sad act somehow cut. Felt guilty that I had left my last change at the coffeevendor...
I stumbled into some kind of monk school rather by accident but it seemed open to public, so I went on. A door lead into an open room where the monks were singing. Breathtaking. I tried to take a picture without rising attention, but the pictureupload doesn't work that well right now, so I'll upload that later. I don't know if a monk's life is either boring or exhausting but it seemed odd that these young men couldn't help but yawning every other minute, using their songbook as a shield (which didn't work for the audience's perspective)
When I decided to leave, 5 buses full of young monks just arrived in the front area. Around 100 monks were walking past me, most of them staring at me curiously like I was an alien... felt a bit embarassed.
On my way out I thought about what I would need in the first place in case my backpack hadn't arrived at the hostel. USB recharger for my mobile sprang to my mind. And Chinatown was the best place to buy it. Definitely fraud, 3 different USB plugs but looking steady. For 150 Baht.
Felt worn out and my feet hurt from the cheap flip flops (prayed that my sandals had made their way to the hostel meanwhile). Rewarded myself with a metroride back to the hostel, where I - finally - could embrace my backpack. I have never been soooo happy to see it. Raincover "slightly" ruffled up, by some knots that I was sure hadn't made myself assumed that it had been opened, I made sure nothing was missing. Good decision not to place any backup money in there. Slipping into some fresh clothes after a cold shower was today's greatest sensation! The ones I started in in Germay were starting to smell a bit...
One of the hostel owners taught me my first Thai basics. Forgot, what "Thank you" means >.<
Have a roommate now. Her name is what we would pronounce as "Nina", but as I cannot write any Chinese I cannot give you the precise spelling. We have been chatting for hours and it was the first Chinese girl I met that freely talked about their culture, boyfriends & marriage, having to pay for using facebook and so on. She had been around Thailand for some weeks and got a tan on her arms and shoulders that would turn every European green with jealousy, but upset her clearly. So paleness being a desired beauty aspect in Asia is no myth at all. And she worried about how long it would take to get rid of the - in my opinion beautiful - colour...
Going to do some usual sightseeing tomorrow, will be carrying the big camera instead. Point-and-shoot is alright without any other option, but for proper pictures, I will always prefer a dslr.