Based in Bangkok – November 2019

After a couple of pleasant days in Pattaya, I’ve moved on to Bangkok, where I’m staying in a small apartment that I booked through AirBnB. It’s not got the best of views, but it’s quiet, and is almost directly opposite the entrance to the metro. Getting to the university is only two stops away, which will be very handy. It’s also very cheap to use. It works out at about 40p per journey into the centre, though it costs more to go further.

The local area is dominated by a couple of busy roads, which run through the centre of Bangkok, so they are filled with cars three or four lanes wide. My apartment is also opposite the Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre, which unfortunately a large part of is under demolition, so there is pile-driving and concrete busting hammering away all day. But then this is Bangkok, and high-rise buildings are going up and coming down all the time.

I’ve only explored the local neighbourhood briefly when I went to get some groceries. There is a market nearby, and a couple of supermarkets are fifteen minutes away. While one street here can be filled with tall concrete tower blocks, the next street is small two-story suburban houses, shops and workshops. I know it’s sad to say, but I was hoping there would be local coffee shop a bit closer, but I found one not too far way.

As I get more familiar with the street vendors and cafes, I’ll try venturing out a little more. My Thai is non-existent, so it’s easier to go to a café or a food hall that has menus in Thai and English. Everything has pictures as well, so I shouldn’t panic too much.

This morning I was on my way to a meeting, so I had breakfast in a café that I’d eaten in last year when I came to Thailand with John Coster. We quite liked sitting at the side of the road, under Phrom Phong BTS station for some reason. I’ve got good memories of chatting and drinking a beer in the evening while devouring fried chicken.

It’s possible to eat in Bangkok very cheaply, and I need to be careful that I don’t bust my budget. So, while I’m not looking for the cheapest bowl of rice and broth, I will make sensible choices. I like Thai food anyway, though there are plenty of international options to be had. Most shopping malls will have a food court. Once you’ve bought a card, you then wander around the stalls and choose what you want.

Eric was telling my that he is generally down to two meals each day, which I didn’t think I would be able to do, but today after having breakfast and lunch, I’ve not felt hungry all day. I want to limit the amount of rise I have, as I want to keep my carbs as low as possible. Hopefully this will help me to shift some weight.

What I really need to find is a quiet coffee shop somewhere that I can spend a couple of hours reading and getting on with some writing. The apartment is a good base, but it’s not the kind of place to stay in all day. Plus, why travel all of this way and then not explore and see the city. I have a small Bluetooth keyboard that I can use with my phone. The idea is that I can blog and write notes as I travel around.

Central Bangkok is pretty full most of the time, so it’s not easy to find a place to sit and chill out. It’s one of the things that I want to get the students to tell me about. It might be that I need to head out of the city on the metro or the BTS, and find somewhere less hectic to get some reading done. If not, I’ve got some noise cancelling headphones with me, and they will reduce the worst excesses. Bangkok people seem to be immune to the noise, so I’ll just have to get used to it.

Tomorrow I have a free day, so I’m going to get up early and work on my workshop sessions, and put some examples in of the kind of work that the students will be focussed on. The aim is to help them to promote an event of independent music that the university has organised, so that will be right up my street.

Right, I’ll keep bashing out a blog as often as I can. Hopefully one each day now that I’m settled and relaxed. Any questions, just Tweet and I’ll try not to ignore my messages.

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