sabato 5 gennaio 2013

Tenth Day, an Unexpected Journey

I closed last post saying that it wasn't possible to run in Bangkok. The statement implied a consideration about Bangkok pollution and terrible traffic jam.

Then something happened.

I'm staying in the wrong hotel. It's called Khao San Palace Inn. A friend of mine had booked a room here, and I decided to join her (and her other friend) in their exploration of Bangkok.

The hotel sucks. Rooms stink and the air con/fan makes a terrible noise.

What's worse is that it's more expensive than other hotels and guest houses I was checking on the guide.

Why? Because it's located in Thanon Khao San, the fancy backpackers area of Bangkok. It's close to the Old Town (which is good), but it's also where every American/Australian/European comes to see the "trasgry" Bangkok.

You walk along the street in the afternoon, until night, and see hawkers showing any kind of disgusting animal fried (scorpions, bugs, spiders, crickets, and so on): 10 baht and you can take a picture of them. Shops selling fancy stretched t-shirts. Any kind of seller you can find in any touristic place, including McDonald's and Starbucks.

Plus bars and open air clubs. That means loud music until 3.30.

Definitely the wrong hotel for relaxing before sightseeing and travelling to Sukhotai.

Why am I writing this? Because all this noise and waste of taste made me want to run.

People come to Bangkok to enjoy its transgressive nightlife. They pretend to be in The Hangover II, without having the charme of Galifianakis. I know there is a better Bangkok to see. And I know that because I am a runner.

I woke up at 6.30, not too early that the sun shows up at 7. And I started my unexpected journey.

Pollution is annoying but traffic is less chaotic.

Out of the hotel I found people still celebrating their ability to stand alcohol. That didn't last long. After a few hundred meters I jumped in the tiny lanes of the old city. Some of them brought me nowhere, but it didn't matter, I had km to run.

After crossing bridges and getting lost on the small canals, I reached the Chao Phraya River. There I could see, and take pictures, of local markets, temples, and the sunrise, reflected on the buildings of the West Coast.

The journey went on through the Thammasat University (unaccessible to tourists through the main entrance, accessible to runners through the side one), the Royal Palace and the Wat Pho. A picture to Wat Arun, on the West Coast, enlightened by a full shining sun, and I headed back to the hotel.

A total of 7km, with a lot of stop and go to take pictures.

Some rest, a good breakfast, and the day could go on. Visits to touristic areas, such as the Weekend Market and the Golden Mountain.

Nothing compared to the old city when it wakes up.

Tomorrow I'm going to Sukhotai, the first capital. The plan is to run also there. I'll tell you which is better.

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