Later that evening we arrived in Bangkok, we met up with the Thai girl we became friends with in Vietnam. She and her family flew back in the afternoon that same day from Hanoi. Though tired (probably haven’t unpacked her stuff yet), she drove 2 hours to Kaosan district, went in circles for an hour trying to find Rest Inn where we were staying. All for the glory of friendship!
She brought us to dine at the famous, well recommended Thip Samai Restaurant at 313 Maha Chai Street, Banglamphur. As we queued (so famous that you have to wait for a table to be empty), she told us that the queen, Her Majesty Queen Sirikit, frequents the place. One can have the same Pad Thai dish they serve here anywhere in the City at a lesser price, but having the Queen for a regular customer makes dining here more special. An already sumptuous meal plus an approval from her Majesty, where else would you want to be for dinner in Bangkok?
Pad Thai or Phat Thai is a stir fried rice noodle cuisine commonly served as a street food. It is cooked with tamarind pulp, fish sauce, dried shrimp garlic or shallots, red chili pepper and palm sugar. It is served with lime wedges, roasted peanuts, bean sprouts, garlic drives, coriander leaves, pickled radishes or turnips, raw banana flowers and shrimps or other protein.
The pad thai we were served with was wrapped in a fine egg omelet with shrimps and served with lime wedges, roasted peanuts, bean sprouts, coriander and just a little bit of spice (for me) to perk up the flavor. Being yet a chopsticks neo, eating with it is still a struggle. Our friend requested for a spoon and fork but I held on to my chopsticks. Difficult but I had to learn it somehow.
Finishing up with a glass of fresh organic orange juice, I give 5 stars for yet another BURPfect Thai food experience! With all the people dining in and photos of the queen splashed on the walls, I felt like I banqueted with Her Majesty, herself.
We moved around Golden Mount after dinner eating ice cream in a cup. We told her that we’re going to the Grand Palace the next day and she put a thumbs up in agreement. Looks like a visit to the city is incomplete when you skirt the Grand Palace. Twenty minutes later, we were at a coffee shop having coffee and plates of sweets! Oh my gee! Seriously, no nights in Bangkok ever go tummy-empty. For the second time, I forgot I have a sensitive tummy. Another evening in Bangkok with a Thai friend makes this whole Indo-China journey FUNtabulous! Maraming Salamat Po Apple!
We paid for a bus+van transfer from Siem Reap to Bangkok the next day, which was cheaper and more comfortable.
The following morning, we ended up taking a smaller van to Poipet Border (on the Cambodian side). Yet another of that lame service after payment. Lucky for the two of us, we got a better space. Those tall German students had to squeeze themselves at the back.
When we reached the border few minutes before noon, the heavens opened the flood gates. Pulling our bags from the back of the van, swung it on our backs, we ran as fast as we could to the Immigration Office.
The area looked more like a bus ticketing booth than an Immigration Office, located just beside the border gate. Imagine a guard house by the gate, it was similar except that the office is bigger with 3 counters. Thank God the officers were kind and fast. But the problem was everyone was cramping in the area. Those who finished the immigration procedure could not move forward because the road is flooded and the rain kept pouring, making it difficult for the others still queued at Immigration to get their thing done.
As we walked in the rain to Aranyaprathet Border (on the Thai territory) a few meters down the road, I pitied this white woman, drenched, pulling her big, red luggage through a puddle, lifting it up with all her might whenever the rollers get stuck. She was like pulling a whole closet there…in the rain. The woman, whom we shared a table for lunch with later before proceeding to Bangkok, was a Child Psychologist.
After Thai Immigration, we were squeezed along with our packs into a pick-up truck to the pick-up point of our transport to Bangkok. Again, when you are tired, drenched and hungry, you’ll only think of the fastest way to get out of there to seek comfort.
On a more comfortable van to Bangkok, I was just thankful we crossed the border without major glitches. I plugged my earphones, turned on the music and off I went to lala-land, zapping back to earth twice after banging my head hard on the window. Ouch! I didn’t see a star going in circles though…it was raining and cloudy! (“,)