Today, I visited the immigration office. It’s inconveniently located near the outskirts of Bangkok in a large government building that’s doing its darndest to pay homage to Soviet architecture. Of course I chose to visit this goliath of a building on a day when the temperature rose to a broiling 110F/43c. That’s hot, even for the short period I found myself not in an air-conditioned taxi or building. My two month tourist visa expires next week, so I had no choice but to get my butt in gear. For 1,900 baht, the immigration office will extend my two month tourist visa for an extra thirty days. After that, I’ll need to leave the country. I’ll talk more about the border run after I’ve done it.
Anyway, the building is massive. It houses all sorts of government offices, including the Immigration Office. This is perhaps the one place where the foreigners outnumber the Thai’s. Anyway, the process is fairly organized and easy. It took me a little over an hour.
On the way back, I knew I was going to pass Victory Monument; where the boat noodle restaurants are. I had them once when I first got out here and meant to grab seconds ever since. The interesting thing about Victory Monument, besides the monument, is the crazy roundabout. Get stuck in that and you’ll be pulling a Clark Griswold. “Look kids, it’s Victory Monument again”.
Boat noodles are simple food; so is the ordering. There are four choices to choose from: Thick Noodle, Bean Curd Noodle, Tom Yum Noodle and Dry Noodle. Thick Noodle is exactly like its name. It’s a heavier broth and its got a beefy taste to it. Bean Curd is a sweeter broth. Tom Yum is straight up sweet and sour and Dry noodle is, well, dry noodles. I ordered two of each. One with pork, the other with beef. I also mixed up the noodles. I had half prepared with egg noodles and the other half with rice noodles. You’re probably thinking eight bowls is way to much and that I should reevaluate my dietary intake. Actually, I had ten but who’s counting. The fact of the matter is, there’s not much in each bowl, hence the price of 10 baht a bowl (that’s about 35¢). Each bowl gives me two bites, maybe two and half, before I’m stabbing the bottom with my chopsticks.
This particular restaurant also had coconut pudding. This stuff is the bomb. At first I thought the stack of ramekins on the table were there to mix condiments but then I separated them. Inside I found creamy goodness. They tempted me from that moment on.
I chose outdoor seating because there was an empty table not because I had a view of the filthy river. Little did I know my choice would prove to entertain me later. Besides looking at dead fish and plastic bottles float by. I saw a fricken monitor lizard swimming around. This dragon beast was four-feet long and looking for food. It snatched something large out of the river and swallowed it in two gulps. I shot video and you can see it here and here. That’s Bangkok for you. Until next time, mai pen rai.