Bangkok, Siam

Saturday, July 20, 1929

Awoke at six after a restless night and by about ten had stowed away twenty-three bananas, to which I added a banana-leaf cup of rice and curry and a piece of leather-lined chicken about noon.

About this time the jungles gave way a good bit to a flat narrow coastal plain of paddy fields. The curious rock formations jutting from otherwise flat country ceased; and soon we came out along the seashore and followed it for a long time. By 5 PM we had cut inland and the range of hills was gone. Such a slow train gave plenty of time for observation. Now the villages began to have a temple or two, spire-like, typical of Siam. We often passed these small temples where the saffron-clad priests sat about enjoying life in general. Once we came close to a place where, on the large rock hill to the left, stood several old temples I guess they were, and a big white temple, rearing its spire far above the surrounding jungle, visible for miles over the plain. Occasionally we crossed a river both banks of which were lined with native homes built on poles in the water: sampans moving up and downstream, and hemming it all in, the ever advancing jungle.

A half hour from Bangkok we again dove into jungles to emerge a half hour later and shortly pull into a nice station at Bangkok. I must say the trains are well-kept and many are new. My car was built in 1929 and shone like a dime novel. The engines are good ones too.

I’d had one really decent meal since leaving Singapore, and two since leaving Colombo, so I was ready for a good meal and some sleep. Unless you take your meals at the hotel you can seldom get up decent meals for yourself and there are rarely restaurants to be found except dirty Chinese hangouts. So I got in a rickshaw and said hotel—trusting to the means of locomotion for results. They came in about 15 minutes when I espied the Europe Hotel. Not at all grand but still very nice. Best I could do was 6 ticals with food, or $2.22. There is a decent Chinese place across the street I may move into Monday but you only have the room there, 74¢, and no meals. Tough but one must dress for dinner here. Mosquitoes are terrible and I have taken shelter in my mosquito-net-enclosed bed.

I would get here on Saturday night—and nearly broke. Have to scrape enough together tomorrow to get the shoes resoled as the hole is as large as a half dollar now and it is too much like going bare-footed as my socks are not quilty of feet. Also, can’t leave the hotel till I get some money to pay the bill. Well, Bangkok is called the “Jeweled City” and promises to be interesting.

Hot in the room tonight.

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