I landed in Bangkok Thursday afternoon. My intial plan was to take the overnight bus to Chiang Mai, but it was leaving at 5:30, which didn't leave me enough time to go shopping. So, I decided to stay the night on Khao San Road.
Khao San Road is a half mile stretch of bars, clubs, guesthouses and every type of street vendor known to man. I bought a plastic, waterproof watch (with an alarm), a hat, a pair of shorts, and a little Korean flag patch to sew onto my backpack. The thought behind the last item was to get the attention of Korean travelers and, hopefully, get a chance to practice my Korean outside of Korea.
It was odd. I sat at a little curbside restaurant eating Thai green curry, a routine I have kept upon every arrival in Bangkok, and watched all the backpackers lazily flip-flopping up and down the street. They were out in droves. Every concievable nationality was accounted for. The first thought that crossed my mind was how tan and fit most of them were. I am currently "slightly obese" according to my Korean doctor (which I think means 10-15 pounds overweight). I shall try to remedy that in the coming weeks. Yet the odd part was that I was specifically trying to spot Koreans. The few times I thought I had, by the time they passed by, I discovered they were speaking Chinese. My plane from Seoul was packed, but I suppose most of them were going to Phuket, which is much more commercialized, resortish, expensive, and clean than the places I will be going.
I found a room for 190 baht, roughly four American dollars and met an Englishman named Chris. The first thing he asked me was were I was from. The second thing he asked me was if I would be drinking beer that night. We sat on a third story patio or veranda or whatever you call it and watched the people passing beneath us. I got more than a few mosquito bites about the ankles. The next morning I bought repellant before catching the bus to the airport for my flight to Chiang Mai.