It is impossible to describe the smell of Bangkok. The scent wafting through the streets changes from moment to moment. At any given second the hot breeze may change to the distinct aroma of sewage, before the wind takes it away and replaces it with the smell of sickeningly sweet pineapple and mango being sold from a nearby cart.
Street food is the everywhere. Old women stand hunched over large black woks crackling and popping with hot oil as they drop in chicken legs or whole crabs. Sausages lay piled up on trays in the sun, manned by someone with a fan to keep the flies off, causing you to wonder how long the meat has been baking in the heat of the day.
Chicken. There is a lot of chicken. Every single body part is fried in every single way and then either hung up, splayed out, or piled high onto platters for customers willing to pay the 80 baht. The streets are alive with shoppers and purveyors striking a deal or bargaining for their dinner. Vendors hand over organ meats on sticks or ladle vegetables and sauces into individual plastic bags for to go orders. People eat either standing on the corner, as they walk, or crowded around little plastic tables while motorbikes whiz past, babies riding in the front. Skinny cats with loosely hanging utters lay asleep, flopped across shelves holding the condiments used for the food. Passerby’s stop to say hello to friends and nobody has a problem with staring at the lone “farang”, foreigner as they call out to me like they are playing a game of where’s Waldo. It’s too hot outside for me so I carry a large icy Chang Beer that has almost as much condensation on the glass as I have sweat dripping down the back of my neck. I pause here and there and take a swig while I contemplate taking the risk on those unique tiny bright blue mussels that are being steamed in heaping mountains, or those clams sitting in a spicy red stew of a broth.