Bangkok – Day 3

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The weather was a bit different yesterday then on wednesday and thursday. It was 94 degrees instead of 93. The humidity and the sun were the same though. For some reason i wore the same shirt two days in a row. By the time i took it off last night it had turned from white to brown, it had bird shit on it from sitting under a tree, it had blood on it and a hole in it from the cut i got while climbing a tree with nails in it (more about that later), and the neck was stretched from pulling on it i an attempt to cool myself out. It was pretty funny.

The locals really are friendly here…even in the city. Thursday when we were checking out a temple a random Thai guy came up to us and started chatting. His name was Pong. He was a tall slim man with arms like pencils..he had dark skin and a big smile. Pong sells insurance and drives a honda. He and his wife had the day off yesterday because it was Buddah Day. She was busy meditating when we met her husband. Pong’s wife is great, but she likes to follow him around…so sometimes he has to lie about what he’s up to. Pong’s got two kids…10 and 11. We know all this because Pong ended up being our friend for the day. After chatting with him at the temple and looking at our map with him, he gave us his number and told us to call him at 4pm. We did and he picked us up in the honda. He took us to the travel center. He said because he was Thai we would not get overcharged. We were skeptical, having been scammed so many times already…but it turned out Pong wanted nothing but some new friends. He is saving money to visit America one day with his family, so he was excited to make some friends from there.

With Pong’s help, we ended up booking some stuff for the rest of our trip. We’re taking a sleeper train to Chaing Mai tonight, and then on Monday we are heading into the mountains for a three day trek on foot, by bamboo raft and on elephant backs. We’re supposed to stay with the Hill Tribes…the ones you’ve probably seen in National Geographic where the ladies have the metal rings around their necks. After that we fly south the Phuket to check out the amazing beaches, do some diving and maybe some rock climbing. In Phuket we’re staying at a pretty high class hotel. Supposedly they don’t have hostels on the islands..but it’s still onbelievably cheap. We fly from Phuket to Bangkok the same night we fly home. All this stuff…flights, train, trek, 8 nights of hotels, and some meals…cost us $19,500 Baht each…which is about US$500! Cheap travel is so awesome.

So after booking our trip, Pong took us to a fancy restuarant in the nice part of town. We ate some great food, learned some great Thai and taught Pong how to say all the things you can’t find in an english dictionary. The heat and jet lag had taken a toll on us, so after dinner we went back to the hotel and got some sleep. That was Thursday night. My Bangkok – Day 2 post was made on Friday morning.

Friday was a great day. It started early. We couldn’t sleep late since the time here is flipped upside down, so we just showered and headed out. We got breakfast (chicken curry and soup) at a Thai bakery, the headed for the east par of the city. Until then we had only seen the old part of Bangkok…near the river where we were staying. That’s where most of the history and culture is. The east side of the city is more like Boston. Big buildings and clean streets. We hung out all afternoon in Siam Square. I don’t wanna say it…but it’s Bangkok’s version of Time’sSquare is the best way to describe it. Big tv’s on the outsides of buildings, music blaring in the streets, lights everywhere, and the whole scene is very fashion oriented. We saw a particularly large group of girls dressed to impress and when we saw them later we ended up being models doing a photo shoot. The photographer looked at me and i pointed to the girls then my camera. He nodded and smiled, so I got in there and took a few shots of the group of Thai girls dressed in trendy indie slash techno gear.

After Siam Square we went back to see our travel agent Nikon. He says “my name is Nikon, like the walk and carry camera, but you can call me Nicki!” We had to pay him for the rest of our flights and what not. This guy is funny. He’s a retired Thai boxer, probably mid 30’s. He showed us his shins by banging a glass ashtray on them. Now he wears a tie, makes toursits laugh and sells them trips into the more Thai parts of Thailand. Nicki sold us tickets to the Championship Muay Thai Boxking match taking place last night. We left Nicki’s place and headed to Lumphini Stadium. As the Tuk Tuk pulled up, we could feel the roar of the crowd, it was so loud. Nikci had placed Muay Thai stickers on our shirts. We thought they were souveniers, but evidently he marked us as special guests. As soon as we stepped onto the sidewalk, a girl in a Muay Thai Official jacket instantly wisked away into the stadium. We walked past the guards, through the crowds, onto the floor and were seated in the front row behind the judges in a packed stadium. Fight 2 of 7 had just begun. If you’ve never seen Muay Thai before, just imagine boxing with much smaller gloves, add elbows, knees and feet and allow one extra strike when your opponent falls to the ground. The fights were fierce as was the crowd. With each strike, the crowd chants a quick and loud grunt for whoever they’re rooting for. It added to the intensity. In the 4th fight one guy got hit so hard he fell like a brick. He tried to stand up but his legs wouldn’t work. He fell again. The fight was over and out came the stretcher. Luckily he lived and took the wheel chair out of the stadium instead. Seeing that bare shin strikes to the head are allowed…they losers don’t always live.

The stadium was not air conditioned, so the heat and the jet lag were taking their toll again. I was falling asleep on the ride home every 10 seconds. Eric had to keep yelling at me to wake up, so I wouldn’t fall out of the Tuk Tuk.

Last night was the first night we got a full night’s sleep. Today we did some shopping before leaving the west side of Bangkok for good. We dropped off our bags at Nicki’s office and he had his driver bring us to a great place to get lunch. Both Eric and I just had our best Thai meal yet. His was chicken and rice, mine was chicken pad thai. After eating, the owner of the restuarant brought us next door to his treny and hip internet cafe slash hair salon. That’s where we are now. Another good biz idea I haven’t seen in the US yet.

It’s about 3;30 here now and we’re going to head for Siam Square again now. Our train leaves at 7:30 tonight. If I don’t post tomorrow, then you won’t hear from us until the middle or end of next week, since we’ll be out on the trek.

Until then… keep it real America.

One Thought on “Bangkok – Day 3”

  1. Gert Says:

    awesome guys.

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