Saturday, April 19, 2008

Interesting being able to view.....

.....soooo much International news on this trip.

Kinda funny: Hadta learn from The Guardian that The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was circumvented by the Bush administration regarding the use of torture at Guantanimo!

Thass jussss grreeeaaaat! Yeah....real nice: We get our advice for torture from FOX TV shows!

Interesting seeing this on the front page of the copy of The Guardian that I picked up., uhhhh, yeah....I'm SURE that this at least gets a page 37 blurb somewhere on the or websites.....right......right......hello....??

Hell no!!! Not even a paragraff or ANY mention of this......

I love US media.....perhaps my Canadian friend Gord is right: He opined that "Americans will mock themselves and their leadership all the time....but when a foreigner does it, they go apeshit!!"

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Right.....soooo, where was me again?

OK. Caught an AirAsia flight from Saigon to Bangkok. Uneventful flight.....nice airline ('cept there's no booze onboard). WAS gonna take a bus from BKK airport to the SkyTrain and then walk to my hotel, but from what very little I could understand from folks at the airport, it involved somehow finding the first bus from the airport terminal to something called the "Bus Operations Terminal" - THEN catching bus 552 to the On Nut SkyTrain station - THEN taking the train to the Nana station.....then walking fifteen minutes to the hotel.

Given that I was jet-lagged, tired and hungover.......I wussed out and took a cab.

While still in Saigon, I emptied the wallet and went nuts and made reservations online at this place called the President Solitaire in Bangkok for a whopping hundred buxx a night!!!! Especially for someone like me, thass a shitload of ca$h! Was expecting a decent hotel room...kinda big...kinda


What I got instead was probably one of thee top three rooms I have ever stayed in in my life (along with the Centre Suite at The Seneca Niagara Hotel-Casino in Niagara Falls, NY and the Executive Penthouse at The Queen Victoria Hotel and Suites in Victoria, B.C.)!!!

Too many amenities to list.

If Saigon resembles New York City......then Bangkok is literally identical to (sans flying cars) what Ridley Scott portrayed Los Angeles as in 2019 in Blade Runner.....

It's in the Sukhumvit District - Sukhumvit is apparently the "riche International district" and with all the doughy plump white guys hanging around with 17-year-old Thai girls, I could believe that to be an appropriate description.

Having basically only one full day here, I decided to check out Bangkok's transit system. They do have buses, but I checked out their SkyTrain and their Tube. Took the SkyTrain from the Nana station 10 minutes walking from my hotel, to its Northern terminus. From there, went down to street level then underground to catch their tube Southbound back to the Nana SkyTrain station.

Few observations.....

- SkyTrain

The SkyTrain is clean, air-conditioned and has TVs in it (just like Atlanta's MARTA does).'s also fast, 'cause it has it's own right-of-way (elevated tracks).

Unlike Seattle's and Springfield's Monorail (and like Vancouver, B.C.'s SkyTrain).....this actually GOES somewhere

SkyTrain platform from ground view

SkyTrain platform from underneath the tracks

Inside SkyTrain Nana station

End of the line (Northern terminus of one of the SkyTrain lines)

- The Tube

The Tube here was neat, clean air-conditioned, and the cars were no different than any other city's subway cars (somewhat wider, maybe) with no TVs.

So, I walk into the tube station, ask the guy in the ticket booth for a ticket to Sukhumvit, and he hands me a Goddamm black plastic poker chip! I told him that I raise three tube rides, but he wasn't budging!

You actually scan the poker chip much like a magnetic pass against the turnstyles.....and it opens them for you automatically.......weird....

At the completion of your tube ride, you drop it into a slot and the machine opens the turnstyles to let you out!

So I walk into the tube station, and I hear blaring music. Look around and see a row of shops underground (a LOT like Montreal's Metro tube stations) but I still couldn't figure out WHERE the music was coming from....

.....walked around a bit more.....and saw an actual band (think the Luc Besson movie Subway).

This was just thee only one tube station that I walked around. It was NOT a central tube station.....and I wouldn't be surprised if there are several other like it throughout the city.

Shit......they DID do trains RIGHT here!!!

Uhhh.....Tri-Met?? Ya listening???

HERE! Here ya go, Tri-Met. Here's an idea to help you un-fuck what you already fucked up with the MAX lines.....

It really shouldn't take more than an hour to get from Beaverton to PDX Airport! Goose Hollow, pop an EXPRESS ROUTE on an ELEVATED SkyTrain (or underground tube) THROUGH - I repeat - STRAIGHT THROUGH downtown with only ONE stop (at Pioneer Courthouse Square) and have that line rejoin the normal MAX line at NE 11th Avenue MAX station! THAT WAY, people who wish to get from the East side to the West side (and vice-versa) in a REASONABLE amount of time can do so without having to ENDURE the train stopping literally every two Goddamm blocks!!

Makes sense, right......?

It ain't brain surgery.....

A downtown is a DESTINATION.......a downtown was never meant to be a transit HUB!!!!!

- Food and drink

For some reason, hotels and food are absurdly cheap here (my hotel here, if placed in the US, would go for around $300 a night). But a pint or a mixed drink at a pub here will set you back six buxx or more.

Got a 750 ml bottle of gin at the supermarket for, like, six buxx. But at same supermarket, saw a bottle of Lindemann's Chardonnay (that you pick up at WinCo in Portlandia for, like, $5.95) priced at TWENTY BUCKS?? WTF?? I mean, Winco's a LOT further from Australia (where Lindemann's is vinted) than Bangkok is!!!

Jes' forra laff, I like to see how badly food that I enjoy is done in other lands. I've had thee two worst Margaritas in my life in Tijuana and Quebec City. I've had thee worst wings and Labatt's Blue in Manchester, England.

Stumbled into a place called Bully's Pub, and ordered "Buffalo Wings", chili and a margarita.

They were all good!!! The wings blew away BW-3's Thai wings, the Chili and the Margie were also really good.....

.....asked a waitress, and found out that the owner of the place is a Yank. A-HA!! Figures....

Pad Thai here is OK....not anywhere near as good (I think) as most Thai restaurants in Portlandia.

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This sucks......I could easily stay here another five days.....but I'm off tomorrow to meet my sister in Shanghai for seven days......sometimes, things just work out that way......

Between my experiences in Hanoi and Bangkok.....I have NOW come up with a "Plan Y" that now eclipses my "Plan Z" for when I return to Portlandia in August from Part II of Road Trip From Hell.

The hope is to return, get SOME SORT of quasi-decent planning job in Oregon and resume life happily ever after. Failing that, I'd find some sort of half-assed occupation in Portlandia. Failing THAT, I HAD planned on falling back on moving to Michigan forra year, becoming an official resident, and going to Grad Skool.

The thought of Graduate Skool is about as pleasant as the thought of spending the afternoon with an insurance salesman!

THAT is "Plan Z"

Plan Y??

Do some serious research, get accredited, and skip off to Hanoi or Bangkok and teach English. IF it comes to this.....I'll attempt to teach standard English.......NOT Ernie English.

More from Shanghai.....



HRD said...

Man, it is toooooo fun reading your posts! My one suggestion is that when you shoot video, narrate it. Keep up the outstanding work, and assemble (you don't have to *write* one, you can *assemble* one) a goddamn book!

CN250 said...

Thanx, Ace.....think me is gonna do just that through the magic of cut-and-paste computer editing.

You can be my proofreader....attention span of a door knob is always an ideal prerequsite for that position!!!