Yes indeed, I applied for an Indian visa. I have 2 more countries to visit before that, so lets just pretend I didn't say anything. As far as the experience, well government is government; no different here. I tried to do a little research and the embassy's web site was down. Now don't judge me for my take on that; but.....the world's leader in customer support and their web site is down? Who do I call? If I did call customer support would I then in some kind of role reversal speak to someone in the US? OK, sorry just frustrating. So I blindly left this morning, and managed to find out what I needed to bring and the address of the embassy. I got to the embassy, and received a warm welcome from the guard...."What you want?!" Nice, apparently she wasn't told about the importance of first impressions. Anyway, I told her I needed a visa and she ever so politely told me; "wrong place" and gave me a crudely drawn map which she had a stack of; indicating to me everyone got the same info. I tried to follow it and after wandering around and stopping some locals found it hidden on the 22nd floor of a random office building. So I thought I had what I needed, I had printed out a filled out form in Antarctica, photocopied my passport, and printed out travel info. I waited in a line just to find out I had the wrong code at the top and they needed to keep all of my travel forms. So I paid to have one person put my name in the computer, one to copy my travel info, one to retype my form on the properly coded form, waited in the original line, and then got a number. While I waited I met a guy from CA, and one from Australia. We chatted about our various and much different travel thus for and for the future. My number was called and after some shuffling of papers and a ton of stamps I was once again handed yet another bill. I paid and they told me it would be ready in 8 days.....really? Unlike the US, where everything is for sale, I asked if it could be expedited and they bluntly said no.....no way....no how. Oh well, I guess it's part of the whole adventure....right? So the next time you are at the DMV or courthouse, remember it's the same everywhere, and it is a little easier when you speak the same language!
That fiasco in the books I headed back to the hotel. I decided to wander while my room was cleaned. I didn't really have a plan, and was mentally exhausted from the visa thing. I wandered down the first side street I came to. It was narrow and crowded. It was full of massage parlors and a few hostels intermingled with office buildings. It was kind of seedy, but I wandered on.
I stopped for some street food, which was fabulous, I maybe mistakenly asked for the hot sauce the vendor offered; it was undoubtedly the hottest sauce I have ever tasted. It was oddly enjoyable though.
I decided after the morning I had a massage was in order. I wanted a real, "legitimate" massage, no funny business. Enough said. I headed back to the hotel and inquired with the concierge. He gave me a flyer and called ahead for an appointment. Once again, I decided to walk, and once again....got lost. I know it is a reoccurring theme in my accounts; but in all fairness I hailed a cab, and he too got lost. He finally called the place and we found it. I went in a was warmly greeted with a cool drink made of lotus flower. At first it seemed almost soapy, having a taste reminiscent of perfume; but after just a few sips I really liked it. The lady in the first room asked me about my day and said they would aim to erase tension and stress. I mean MAYBE I was a little dramatic, I didn't just finish a 12 hour day of open heart surgery; but hey......So she brought samples of oils and point a sample of two different ones on my wrists. She told me to smell each separately and asked which smelled stronger. She told me my body identified the stronger smell as the one it craved. It was relaxation....funny. So I headed up to the top floor of the building and got the most amazing 1 1/2 hour massage. It was a combination of traditional Thai and western styles. When it was done I paid, $40 US; which I found quite cheap. As I was waiting for my change they gave me a warm ginger tea. Just a great and very hospitable experience. They gave me legit walking directions and I headed back. I honestly don't remember the walk. I was so relaxed I think my head was just in the clouds; but miraculously I didn't get lost. I came back to the room and melted into the freshly made bed. I don't think I could feel much of my body for a solid hour, maybe more. Totally relaxed and euphoric, I decided the city could go on without me, so I went into hermit mode. I did go up by the pool to check out the night sky.
Goodnight Bangkok.......until tomorrow when the adventure continues!