My parent’s first impression of Bangkok wasn’t great, they arrived after 24 hours travelling and then were treated to a further hour journey across the city to my apartment. It wouldn’t have been that bad had we not dragged them all the way back to the airport that very same day to catch a domestic flight.
Needless to say after spending a couple of weeks in much quieter areas of Thailand they were slightly dubious upon their return to Bangkok. Being my home for the next year, I hoped to change this.
When Kirsty came home from work raving about a place she had heard of that offers free Mexican food, it seemed like the perfect chance to take them out and show them some of the benefits of living here.
All that was left to do was get there, a lot easier said than done:
Capital City + Traffic = Gridlock.
One hour and three hundred metre’s down the road later we’re still sitting in a taxi. Bangkok at rush hour has a tendency to just stop, my dad had been fascinated by the amount of traffic from our apartment window since he had arrived, unfortunately, now he was part of it.
‘I couldn’t do this every day?’ my mum chirped up from the back seat and I don’t blame her, the majority of her experience in Bangkok so far had been in the back of a static taxi.
Rather than waste time and money sitting in a taxi we decided to walk to the nearby canal boat point… this we were assured would get us there within 30 minutes. Good job really, as my parents had already had enough.
What we arrived at wasn’t so much as a canal but more what I would describe as a stream of shit water. Following some vague instructions we jumped aboard, praying to start heading in the right direction.
The dark brown water doesn’t look at all appealing. We copy everyone else and help holding waterproof sheets up against the side of the boat, no one wants that’s water anywhere near them and everyone is helping out.
As the boat pulls in the sheets are dropped and a free for all begins. With a step of maybe 2ft between boat and platform, even without the mayhem, this would be a challenge for many.
Throughout the journey, my mum, who is scared of water at the best of times, fears for her life. “Don’t leave me behind Adam, I won’t be able to get out” She constantly reminds my Dad as we get closer and closer to what we believe is our stop.
As we finally reach our exit it’s not a moment too soon for my panicking mother.
“It was an experience, just one I don’t want to ever repeat” She says as we stand looking back at the last few passengers scrambling to get on.
Back on the roadside, the journey continues. Exiting the canal via a long dark alleyway has left us none the wiser as to our location. Knowing the restaurant to be next to a subway stop, it’s the only solution to take yet another mode of transport.
Just one stop along and we’ve made it.
It’s only taken: 1 taxi, 2 canal boats, the subway and 2 hours of our life.
Arriving at the restaurant produced a mixed feeling of joy and regret, could we really bring ourselves to enjoy food after such a journey. My parents were putting on smiles, I knew they were exhausted, but I also knew they were as keen to make us happy as we were to make them like our new home.
Oh, did I mention, the free food is only available for a set time and we arrived with just 20 minutes to spare. The waitress insisted we could help ourselves but it was clear by both her tone and the placing of menu’s in front of us that there was little left to enjoy.
With just some dried up potato salad and a few left over nachos, we were forced to admit defeat and order from the main menu.
Good food but not free food.
The night ended soon after we had finished eating, thankfully the taxi ride back went smoothly although it may have just seemed that way after the previous adventure.
As far as my parents falling in love with Bangkok, it wasn’t going to be tonight. In fact it did more to cement the fact it was not somewhere they could see themselves staying for any length of time. For Kirsty and I the battle wasn’t over, they didn’t need to love it but only understand why we did and we still have a few days to do just that.