Thursday, October 13, 2011


(With apology to Alexander Solzhenitsyn)
Tuesday, November 14, 2006 1:15 AM
           I woke up at around 9 AM today due to tiredness and lack of sleep. I usually sleep at past 12:00 in the morning, and its not a good habit.  Last night(or this morning), I slept at 3:00 AM.
           I thought I was in the Philippines. A score of  seconds after I opened my eyes, I realized that I am in Bangkok,Thailand. I'm staying in Pluem Dee 32 Hotel at 271 Sutthisan Road,Phayathai,Bangkok.  It's a budget hotel. But the rooms are big, and they have individual toilet and bath, as well as big TV . 
           My breakfast is very simple - Thai noodle.  It has fishballs,some meat, garlic,kangkong, and spices. No coffee. It was only later when I could take coffee at their MRT station.
           Bangkok is expensive for tourists. But if you know what to do, where to eat, what to ride on, then you can possibly survive on a US$15 a day. If you don't, even US$100 a day is hardly enough.
           My daily budget in this 17-day trip is US$15. Oftentimes, I overshoot my budget.
           If you ask me which city is more expensive, Kota Kinabalu or Bangkok, my answer is it depends.
           In Kota Kinabalu(Sabah), a budget hotel may cost you around US$6 per day. At least that's what I paid my hotel while I was there for three nights.So, you still have US$9 to spend, that is if you are on a $15-budget. But food is Kota Kinabalu is  generally more expensive than in Bangkok. A good lunch or dinner there will cost you US$4. So, if you take three meals a day on that average budget per meal, you consume US$12, plus other expenses like buying this and that, and your fares, then you will really overshoot your budget.
           In Bangkok, however, budget hotels are more expensive. My hotel room costs me US$10 per day. Food can be expensive or not, depending on what you eat.
            A Thai noodle can cost you from 20 baht(Thai currency) to 35 baht. Therefore, if you are really budget-oriented, a 100 baht a day is possible.
           Can a tourist live  in Bangkok  or in Kota Kinabalu on a US$100 per week budget? Yes, it's possible. Even in Kota Kinabalu. Pero sobrang tipid na yun!    Hotels can eat a big piece of your daily budget.
           Bangkok is generally clean. Cleaner than Metro Manila. Their tributary rivers have garbage, and some corners of the city which I saw have uncollected garbage. Still, it's generally cleaner than Sampaloc,Quiapo, Sta.Cruz or Binondo.
           The city,however, is polluted, just like the Espana or Quiapo area.It's not good for asthmatics to live here. In the countrysides of Singapore, yes it is.
           The best way to tour Bangkok with just a little expense is by bus.
           If you're here, just take any bus(remember the bus number), and it goes  through and around the city proper. The fare is just a minimum of 7 baht, or 10 pesos. In Manila, the minimum fare is P7.50.
           By bus, I toured Bangkok  today.  Buses here are numbered. They are either air-conditioned or not, just like in Manila.
           I went to Chulalongkorn University campus and met students there.
           Chulalongkorn University(CU) is the University of the Philippines of Thailand. The best minds of Thailand are educated at CU. Some children of King Bhumibol and Queen Sirikit studied in this school.
           The student population, both undergraduate and graduate students, is more than 32,000 .  Foreign students compose between 5 to 10 per cent of the whole student population.
            A student accompanied me to their main library where I donated some of my books. The library staff entertained me, and thanked me for the donation.
            It is good to donate some copies of one's books to school libraries.
            I have donated my books in the main libraries of four  universities- Unibersidad du Macau(University of Macau), National University of Singapore, Chulalongkorn University(Thailand), and the University of the Philippines main library. . Each of these universities are considered number one school in the country where these are established.
           This evening, two funny things happened to me in Bangkok.
           First, I got lost. I had to ask Thais for direction. And they are helpful,generally speaking. Most of them are just like Filipinos.
           Second, I got "severe punishment" in a Thai restaurant for ordering authentic Thai food.
            The foods are either very hot or very salty. Hindi ko natapos yung dinner ko.(I didn't finish my dinner).  Ang anghang!!! (Too hot!)Para akong nasa final initiation ng Sigma Rho - noong neophytes pa kami. Pinakain kami ng katakot-takot na siling labuyo!
             I was charged 200 baht for the unconsumed food.
             Before I left, the Thai waitress came to me, and with a smile she said,"Come again, okay?" And she meant what she said.
             But I have decided not to eat there again even if the food is given to me for free!!! Ito ang pinetensiya!

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