So originally the plan was to stay in Laos for 10 days, it was after midterms and well I guess the professors here take vacations as well because 3 out of my 4 classes were cancelled. After six days in Laos we all missed Bangkok, see it’s sort of becoming home for many of us. We decided to take advantage of a free long weekend in Bangkok and do everything we hadn’t done. Well we got here, we partied at night and saw nothing during the day and this happened Thursday and Friday. Saturday came along and I refused to stay in vegetating on the couch, watching my bootleg seasons of Dexter. Never did I think I would have the craziest day in Bangkok.
So I decided to head to the Bangkok Art & Culture Center; I always passed it on my way to the mall and it was an interesting looking building. Robin, a Swede exchange student from downstairs, tagged along to my artsy little adventure. The BACC was a big circular building with spiral stairs that was pretty to look at even though Robin didn’t think so. The bad thing about the culture center was their lack of art, they had a lot of stores, a lot of space but where’s the art?! There were 9 floors in total and only the 3 were exhibitions. Coming from Miami this was a bit disappointing as the art scene has become increasingly popular and well GOOD. Regardless it was fun to look at the pieces that were there.
We then headed to MBK the mother-load of all shopping because Robin was intensely craving Burger King. As we headed there we realized there was a cartoon convention. I took pictures with some anime characters and we spent a while following one girl dressed as sailor moon. After food Robin headed home to nap, but I wanted to keep exploring the city. I walked around aimlessly for an hour just observing people and the way the city works. I then headed to Evergreen Place that is where most of the other exchange kids are living but of course everyone had gone traveling. One of the only people left was David the other UF student, wooooh! GO GATORS.
He had a “business” meeting of some sort so I then I decided to head to Siam Paragon one of the fanciest malls and “entertainment” centers in Bangkok. I was going to the movies in hopes of finding The Perks of Being a Wallflower” being played. Somehow I entered through the bottom floor and instead of going up I continued on the bottom floor. Turns out it’s food paradise down there. I had never seen anything like it, it was a flood of indoor restaurants in a neat floor plan. Imagine Ikea and each section would be a restaurant. I walked to the grocery part of floor in hopes of finding something from home that I really missed but I couldn’t find anything that I really missed that much…well besides Taco Bell! So I walked over to Sunrise Tacos and ordered a taco, wow it was great. Before exiting you have to go through the dessert section, I couldn’t resist temptations and bought a cute little desert in a cup expensive for Bangkok 100 baht which is around $3 but sooo delicious.
I was then suppose to meet Aubie, my roommate, and her Thai friend apple at Khao San Rd for drinks, Indian food and maybe a foot massage. As soon as I exited Paragon and saw the traffic I knew this would be a mission. Every taxi denied to take me and the ones that did wanted at 200 baht for it.
**Side rant** So I don’t think I ever wrote about my love hate relationship with taxi’s. Taxi’s in Bangkok are plentiful and cheap. They are the best way to get around and they’re pink cute huh? Well the problem comes when they see you are a foreigner and don’t want to take you by the meter, instead charge you a set price which is always a lot higher. Most of the time we either bargain our price down or show them our student cards so they take us by the meter. But all this is near impossible in tourist areas like Siam Paragon.
Anyways back to the story. So I never take Tuk Tuk’s because they are always over priced, or there’s too many of us to fit or I don’t want to mess up my hair. A tuk tuk is like a scooter that has chairs in the back with a roof. As I was zipping through the road on the tuk tuk, I was thinking of how awesome this ride was and how fast I was going to get to Khao San Rd. I took out my phone prepared to Instagram my awesome ride when suddenly a motorbike coming in the other direction zooms by and grabs my purse from my side and rides off with it. I was able to get one of fingers around the strap but the motorbike kept going twisting my finger all the way back. For a second, I thought great they broke my finger too. I’m not going to lie I completely flipped out, I screamed at the tuk tuk driver thinking he had stopped at that spot on purpose. Now I had no phone, no money, no identification and I was lost in the middle of Bangkok with no contacts to call (good thing about the 90s, everyone knew people’s numbers). The driver offered to take me to the police station, as soon as I got there I felt uneasy. Everyone knows how corrupt the police is and how they are not that fond of “Farangs” Foreigners. There’s a few parts of the stories I’ll omit for legality purposes as well as it probably wouldn’t be allowed to post here anyways (sorry guys I’ll tell you the story in person). Surprisingly, none of the police men spoke English, there was only one and he was really young (like he had braces young!) So I wasn’t sure if he was really officer. All the officers began to interrogate the driver as I tried to figure out a way to call someone. I tried calling the front desk of my residence but that also didn’t work. Honestly I wanted to get out of there as soon as possible, I practically beg the maybe-officer maybe-clerk guy to get one of the cops to take me home. He told me clearly “But you have no money?” and I was like “do I have to pay the police to take me home?” and he went on to tell me “sorry we have no car”. Are you kidding me we are at police station in the center of the city and you don’t have one police car. In the end they convinced the tuk tuk driver to take me home and then I’d pay him when I got there. Never once did the police ask me my name, what was inside by bag, I accepted the fact it was gone for good. In the ride back the driver who spoke very little English told me “Sorry Thai mafia” and instantly I felt bad for screaming at him. I get home and he then tries to charge me 500 baht for the ride! It’s like ripping people off are ingrained in their culture and they cant help it, even after this whole fiasco. I told him I’ll give you 300 and you better be freaking happy with that and he agreed. He looked ashamed as if he knew he did something wrong by exploiting me.
The start of my day was so great, I had some awesome food and saw some new art but I also finally saw the bad side of Bangkok. I’ve had things stolen from me but never in this manner. Usually it’s me leaving something somewhere unattended and its gone and that hadn’t even happened in Bangkok yet. I told my brother the story after and I told him I felt like such a women, the classic damsel in distress with her stolen purse, no hero in my story though. There wasn’t much valuable in the purse but it was the actual action that affected me, the idea that there are bad people out there that get away with this constantly and the hassle that I’m going to go through to cancel my cards, get new ids and new phone.
Here were some of my casualties:
My favorite black Urban Outfitters bag it was originally $120 but I got it for $20 at a Black Friday sale)
My coach wallet (probably the only useful thing in there)
-My pink nokia thai phone
-my collection of 7-eleven stamps (hard to explain but every time we buy stuff at 7-eleven we get stamps that we can exchange for random useless items)
-my new earphones/umbrella
-my teddy bear iPhone cover from Beijing
-My Florida id, my school id and my metro passes
Here are some of the Instragram pictures I was taking on my big Bangkok day. Follow me @Barbzvalley!!!!
Me and Robin’s drawings at the anime wall
This was the picture I was taking as my purse got stolen..Instagram saved my phone!