Backpacking Thailand Days 1&2 – Bangkok

Okay. So day 1 & 2 in Bangkok: Thailand are over and already it has been a pretty hectic experience. From being attacked by vicious wild animals to enjoying extremely cheap food at a delicious vegan restaurant; my experience, like Bankok itself, has been crazy.

Day 1 (well 2 days really however I am counting it as 1 due to it being my blog meaning I can do as I please, sorry for the tangent) consisted of the actual journey to Bangkok itself, and I have come to the realisation that I’m not a fan of long haul flights. Granted the service provided by Air India (not sponsored) was really good, it’s just, and anyone who knows me can vouch for this, I’m incredibly figety and can’t sit still for more than 5 minutes. That combined with the fact that I fiddle (sounds dodgy but I couldn’t think of another word) with everything in sight made for an unpleasant experience both for me, and the people around me. Although I did knock back a few whiskeys which helped a substantial amount, I must admit.
So after 15 hours flying and a 3 hour stop over in New Delhi, I landed in Bangkok, eager as ever to get to my apartment so I could sleep off the impending jet lag that would come to make me it’s bitch for the next 24 hours. But it wasn’t that simple. Suvarnabhumi Airport is rather huge and to get to the exit you have to trek, what feels like, 10km of escalators and hallways and negotaite your way past numerous security guards, checks and finally, immigration. After all that’s over you are finally free, free to roam Bangkok and it’s not so welcoming 30 degrees of pure humidity. Yayyy…
From there I went and got a taxi, they actually had an extremely efficient method for booking a taxi so that didnt take long, thank god. 25 minutes later, and only £2 poorer, I reached my accommodation, gratefully put on the life saving air conditioning, cooked some noodles I had purchased from 7-Eleven, before going to bed and taking a much needed sleep.
Day 2 (1.5) was basically me just trying to recover from fatigue and severe jet lag. My apartment was way out the way from anything anyway so I didn’t mind using this day to just recover.
Day 3 (2) is when the adventure really began. Me being me I forgot checkout was at 11 so the girl who owns the apartment walked in on me… In minimal clothing, but she was super nice so it was okay, despite the awkwardness. I then got a taxi to my new apartment, but due to language barriers I had to walk 40 minutes to find the B&B as apparently I didn’t explain it quite clearly enough. Bearing in mind Bangkok is hot, like really hot, and busy, like super busy, so this was not a fun experience By the end of it I could wring my shirt out it was that sweaty. However I finally found my apartment, and what a surprise it was. Located in a shop which sells mirrors, oddly enough, and decorated from top to bottom with quite beautiful stained glass windows and ceilings, it was a lovely apartment and somewhere I was very grateful to be spending my next 3 nights. Not to mention the fact my host was an absolute star, answering all of my many questions, some of which quite stupid; for example, asking for the wifi password 4 times because I had forgot it by the time I walked up the stairs, and providing me with a very good vegan breakfast. I cant thank her enough.
Now it was time, time to start the Bangkok adventure, which meant crossing busy roads. If you’ve ever been to Bangkok you will know that crossing roads is an art form, an art form that you kind of have to master in a very short period of time, and I’d like to say I have done just that. There are literally thousands of cars and even more motorbikes at all times as well as minimal crossing assistance and traffic lights. What I have learnt is that you basically just have to go for it. Walk out into the road with your arm adjacent to your body and palm facing towards the car/s, they will always stop. Thankfully the drivers are very polite with pedestrians in the fact they just accept this, and do actually stop with no fuss or bother, but obviously as a first time tourist to Bangkok, the roads were somewhat daunting to begin with. Of inside just walk right behind a local, that’s what I did to begin with.

I didn’t really have much time left now, all of this had took me to about 3pm but thankfully where I was staying was very close (just 2 minutes on the MRT) to Lumpini Park, which is kind of like Central Park in New York only in Bangkok, and not New York. Everything I have read/watched regarding Bangkok recommended a visit to Lumpini Park, and it didn’t dissapoint. Packed full of people doing exercise, lush grass and flowerbeds and glistening lakes and streams, it was quite wonderful. It took me around 1 hour and a half to walk around the whole park, although I obviously did stop to take many pictures, watch local Thai’s dance and practise Tai Chu as well as interact with wild animals. Speaking of wild animals, there was an evil turtle which was not only extremely ugly, but massively aggressive. I only wanted a nice close up picture of his devil like face and he went straight for my throat, snapping his jaw like a madman. I took that as a warning to stay away and quickly retreated, he seemed to mean business. Maybe he just didn’t like the name Iggy. But yeah the park was amazing, very chilled and exactly what I needed after that long night and stressful start to the day.
That traumatic experience with devil turtle left me hungry so I hopped on the MRT again to a nearby Vegan restaurant I had been eager to try since my arrival, ‘May’s Veggie Kitchen’. Upon my entrance I was greeted with lovely smiling waiters/waitresses and a menu packed full of a variety of vegan options. From any kind of fake meat to traditional Thai meals, there was something for everyone. I ordered the Thai Green Curry and a water and about 20 minutes later (the perfect waiting time imo) my huge portion of steamy green curry and rice entered my vicinity and I couldn’t have been happier, it was truly delicious. Only cost me around 200 baht, which is little over £4 and in my opinion an absolute bargain. Although one tip, in Asia, spicy means spicy, so be wary when ordering ‘spicy’ food. I made that mistake in India.

So that was the end of my first proper day in Thailand, and what a day it was. Bangkok is such a worlwind of a city. You can hate it one minute and love it the next, but it is definitely somewhere you should try and visit if you want to experience somewhere completely unique and bursting with culture.

I hope you enjoyed reading this, and stay tuned for the next post. Keep smiling, Harrison 🙂

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“But Hitler Was Vegetarian, So That Means All Vegans Are Evil” – Anti-Vegan Argument #4

Believe it or not this is actually an argument us vegans hear, quite regularly as well unfortunately. And it is a quite simple one to refute, simply by saying no; Hitler wasn’t a vegetarian, not even close. Hitler was advised by his doctors to follow a vegetarian diet from ‘time to time’, emphasises on the time to time part of the sentence, due to the fact he suffered from severe flatulence, however; he was never an actual vegetarian. Just by looking at the facts we can decipher this. Biographers who wrote about Hitler (and who knew him quite well on a personal basis) openly describe his love for Bavarian sausages and game pie (“game” meaning wild meat from birds and other creatures) and Hitler’s own personal chef described his favourite meal as stuffed pigeon, not very vegetarian huh. Thanks to ‘naturalnews.com’ for the info. But let’s play it your way, let’s pretend Hitler was a vegetarian. The problem with that is the argument is a logical fallacy, aka an argument with extremely poor reasoning. To put it simply, one does not impact the other. You can be evil and you can be vegan, the two are by no means mutually inclusive. If you want to play that card then allow me to play mine. Stalin, Mao Zedong, Pol Pot… the list goes on, were all meat eaters, so surely that means meat eaters are also evil serial killers, right? No. Of course not, so can we agree to put this argument to bed now, as it really is a stupid one and just makes the arguer look like an idiot. Granted it is usually played at the end of debates when said party realises they have lost, but go out with dignity for goodness sakes. So, to clear up, no Hitler was not a vegetarian, but who cares if he was?

Keep smiling, Harrison.

Why I Went Vegan…

So as I said in my last post I’m going to start incorporating more and more vegan related content into my blog. I have never felt more passionate about something in my life as I do veganism, it’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle and something that attacks the biggest injustice in human history; animal agriculture. Now these posts will attack mainstream beliefs, beliefs that have indoctrinated pretty much all of the western world and ideals that the majority of the population invest in, that being meat and dairy are good for you and needed in your diet. So meat eaters could easily get offended reading vegan related content as it attacks the foundations of their ideology, I get it, I used to be that guy too, but I urge you to read any content with an open mind.

Anyway; as you can tell by the title, this particular blog post is about why I went vegan. Like many I went vegetarian before I went vegan. Whilst this is a good stepping stone up to veganism, I would advise just going straight into veganism itself, that’s what I should have done looking back, as it really isn’t that hard and it’s what’s ethically right for the animals and the planet. Obviously you will make mistakes to begin with, but that’s all part of the learning curve. So yeah, I went vegetarian just after my 18th birthday in May, around the 14th I believe, after watching a heart-breaking documentary called ‘Earthlings’ (I shall be making a post very soon with lots of the content that motivated me to make the change, so stay tuned for that). The only reason I watched this documentary was because I was watching a Fitness channel called ‘Vegan Gains’ on YouTube and he spoke so highly of it, so I decided to check it out. Bearing in mind at this point I had literally just finished eating a kebab so I was still a fully-fledged meat eater and had no desire to change my lifestyle. This documentary opened my eyes to the animal agriculture industry and what it’s really like. The media do a great job of portraying some kind of utopia regarding animal agriculture and I, like many, hadn’t made the connection as to what I was eating due to this propaganda western society is subjected to on a daily basis. Whether that be happy cows or chickens on the packaging, or giving meat fake names such as ‘bacon’, which is really just pig flesh. I mean does the media really think children who watch shows like Peppa Pig would be happy eating a real pig? The animal agriculture business is the most profitable business in the world and they do a great job of exploiting the cognitive dissonance in society, but once you make the connection, like more and more are nowadays, you can’t go back. For example; as the great Paul McCartney says “If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian.” Anyways, I digress. So I was vegetarian for around 4 months. I always had the idea that I would go vegan, just never fully committed, but as I continued to educate myself about the meat and dairy industries and the more I exposed myself to the truth, I decided it was time to change my life, do what was ethically, logically and environmentally right, and go vegan. I went properly vegan on the 20th September, just as I started university and I have never looked back. I feel better both physically and mentally, I have more energy than ever and I am just a happier person in general. I have the theory that by abstaining from putting death and suffering inside my body, I am happier. In my opinion everyone should go vegetarian or vegan, I shall explain why in a later post but I just don’t see how anyone other than a sociopath could make the connection and continue to live their lifer the same way, it’s just not right. (Oooo controversial)

So yeah, there we go. I understand this is an incredibly self-centred post but I figured it was the best place to start and might be relatable in a way. Keep smiling, Harrison 🙂

Hypocrisy and Cecil the Lion.

Is everyone a hypocrite? The short answer to this seemingly simple question is, yes. Obviously the degrees of hypocrisy vary and some are very simple, for example; thinking that gossip is bad but then talking to a friend about someone behind their back. I mean nobody likes to be judged yet, whether this is consciously or unconsciously, we all judge others even if we do not mean to, and sometimes this is justified, such as labelling Adolph Hitler as a dickhead, and this is hypocrisy.

Humans are intelligent beings, and as we grow and evolve our ideology and opinions of things change therefore deeming us all ‘hypocrites’ to some extent. For example; I used to despise Justin Bieber and wished that he, along with his high pitched voice and annoyingly catchy songs (mainly ‘Baby’), would leave the public spotlight forever. But now I happen to think he is pretty fly (for a white guy) and actually quite like him. Now this is a very tedious example, but hopefully you get the picture. We live in a world designed for hypocrites, and if everyone practised what they preached the world would be even more disturbing and corrupt and the prisons would probably become very overcrowded, so some hypocrisy can be a good thing.

So yeah, I was thinking about this topic regarding the tragic death of Zimbabwe’s legendary… Cecil the Lion ‘rawr’ (that was a Madagascar reference, yknow Alex). Hunting animals for pleasure disgusts me, as it does most sane humans, and seeing people pose with a lions head or a rhinos lifeless carcass fills me with immense sadness and compassion towards the animal, and it seems almost everyone feels the same. However, I can’t help but sense an overwhelming amount of hypocrisy when people express their discomfort on trophy hunting and this particular case involving Cecil. Now as you know, I’m vegetarian (going Vegan in September when I go to University), so I am no saint surrounding this subject and therefore I am, at this present time, a hypocrite myself, but at least I understand why. In my opinion you can’t be upset about hunting and the killing of Cecil whilst consuming animal products with no care in the world. The animals people eat (pigs, cow, chicken etc) are by no means worth any less than lions and other endangered species. They have feelings and families just like Cecil, and other ‘precious’ animals. In fact, in a way, it is worse for the animals us humans eat. Chickens for example are hatched and then separated from their mothers instantly, injected/fed hormones to make them grow super fast and thus in an unhealthy way and then slaughtered within the first year of their life. Even the life they do live is usually caged and very painful for them, and that is just the surface of what the other animals humans eat go through. I don’t push my views down peoples throats usually, or look down on people who do eat meat, just thought this hypocrisy needed addressing, and if you do feel compassion towards Cecil then maybe it’s time to go vegan, or vegetarian at the very least. I mean, humans aren’t designed to eat meat anyway and animal products are actually unhealthy for us, so, just like trophy hunters, we slaughter and exploit animals for pleasure, just in the form of food rather than a ‘trophy kill’. Is bacon really worth the slaughter of an innocent being?

I hope this post made sense, I feel very passionately about this subject so start ranting and therefore writing terribly and way too fast. Also, I don’t mean to offend anyone with this post, but yeah, the truth hurts.

Watch this documentary if you want my point emphasising, be warned though, it will open your eyes to the sad truth. CLICK HERE.              (Image used in header not mine, obviously)

Keep smiling, Harrison 🙂