Bambooed in Bangkok

Trip Start Aug 26, 2012
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Trip End Dec 22, 2013


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Sunday, July 28, 2013

After a 12 hour journey that started at 4:00am this morning and involved a bumpy ride across the island to the pier, a 2.5 hour car ferry ride to Surat Thani, a 2hr bus ride to the airport, an hours flight to Bangkok after a 2 hour wait and finally a 1.5 hour taxi complete with major traffic, we arrived to our hotel (www.baanchart.com ) nearby Khaosan Rd. After checking in our first order of business was to go to the rooftop pool and cool off.  In the evening we wandered around and re-visited some of our favourite places, having a beer here or cocktail there and end up on the quieter side of Khaosan to visit the ever friendly Ying who manages a small road side bar in front of one of the more popular hotels.  In the time we spent there I had a look at some of the designs of the in-house tattoo shop and took a particular liking to one of the Hindu god Ganesha (my favourite of all of them I had decided back in India).  Noticing a bit later Ying had a new tattoo on her hand since we last saw her two weeks ago I asked where she got it done.  It was a place called EAK tattoos back on Khaosan Rd, and she highly recommended it.  Intrigued we finished are drinks and went off in search of the place and went to talk to the "big lady" who Ying said would take care of us.  Indeed she was very professional and helpful as I was looking through their books to find the Ganesha design I liked (they all have most of the same designs) but couldn't find it. I also couldn’t find it on the internet.  So Lynne went on a mission with my camera to go back to the place I saw the design and take a picture of it.  Minutes later she was back and after showing the design and getting the sizing just right it was time for me to make the decision.  The guy who would do the tattoo is named Mr. X, and according to Ying he is the number one bamboo tattoo artist in Bangkok.  And after seeing some of his work, I committed to getting “bambooed”.   I chose to get it done on my back so it was not nearly as painful as Lynne endured and within 40 minutes it was done and I absolutely love it.  Afterwards we celebrated by having some amazing roast chicken from a street stall while at a reggae bar and followed up by trying some noodle soup at another street stall as we wandered around some more.  We then ended up at a Shisha bar because they had some good music playing and just went into dance. After meeting some fellas along the way we decide to join them at a night club on the corner but it was a short lived visit as the club as well as fellas seemed all a bit dodgy. So we decided to call it a night making a quick exit and ditching the fellas.  Being the weekend, the next morning we headed back to the Chatuchak Market for some more shopping and with the whole city embarked on some sort of shopping festival there were many a bargain to be had, as if items weren’t already cheap enough.  I was reserved and only purchased a tank top and a pair of flip flops and Lynne got herself a Burberry hand bag (real of courseJ) that she had coveted on our first trip here.  Making our way back in a tuk tuk we once again got stuck in a massive rain storm and was completely soaked by the time we arrived back at our hotel having to endure a massive traffic jam close to where we were staying as the University across the street from our hotel was having graduation ceremonies.  As it was our final night together we decided to go back to a restaurant we enjoyed on our second night in town and had a nice dinner, followed by just a couple of cocktails at Ying’s bar as we had to show her my tattoo.  Afterwards we decided to do one more lap around the area and in the process got drawn in by this guy Chai, who claimed to be a healer.  I was intrigued because within seconds of grabbing my hand and massaging it he told me things about myself  based on what he was feeling in my hand, for example I have ear problems and a bad back.  He did the same to Lynne and I think she was as shocked as I was.  He offered more of a massage and at first we declined and walked away but curiosity got the better of me and I returned and agreed to pay 100 Bhat for this chair massage he was offering on the street.  Unlike any other massage I’ve had in Thailand he was doing some strange manoeuvers, including at one point blowing hard through my nose.  A little put off by this I declined his offer of a full body massage “inside”.  He gave Lynne the same chair massage as well.  I have to say whatever he did was amazing in two ways.  Straight away the tightness I’ve been having with my frozen shoulder for almost a year and a half went completely away and that night as I slept, my ears dispensed with a lot of water that had been blocked since the dive.   After this healing episode we decide to head for home making this one quietest of all our nights in Bangkok, and was in bed before midnight falling asleep to the sounds of a massive graduation party happening in the hotel bar below.  Both Lynne and I were not due to depart Bangkok until much later in the evening so after checking out we spent the next day once again wandering around the area and bouncing from place to place for breakfast, coffee and then fruit shake before running into some Hindu yogi guru’s on the street, who again had the knack of intriguing me by some of the things they were saying about me without clearly knowing me.   Despite months of traveling I clearly must still have gullible or na´ve qualities (for a lack of a better word) emitting from my body.  I won’t go into detail of what was revealed to me at the Yogi’s request and I’m trying to not feel like I’ve been taken advantage of in terms of the amount of money it cost because in the end it was an interesting experience and would be not unlike paying to see a fortune teller, which many a people do.  Lynne was also “yogi’d” but not to the near extent I was as she walked away not wanting to pay.  After passing some more time basically doing nothing but wandering we then got some street pad thai and spring rolls and then happened upon a film crew setting up at one of the bars we had been to the day before.  It seemed to be a pretty big deal with truck after truck of stuff being off loaded so we decided to spend our last hour or so together, sharing a beer and watching them set up the movie set.  I’ll never know what movie it is but overheard the director taking about scenes between a young boy and his grandfather. In the meantime they had transformed the street with colorful hanging lights made out of paper, wrapped in saran wrap because obviously it was going to rain.  It was very impressive to see the masses of people with their specific tasks working away to get their jobs don.  This work ethic that the Thai’s have did not go unnoticed the whole time we were in Thailand.  Every day the Thai’s cart their stuff and stalls to their '”location”, spend anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour setting their stall up and then spend all day up until sometime 9:00-10:00pm at night selling their goods and then taking everything down, packing it away and then carting back away or if they were lucky to have a permanent store or semi-permanent cart lock it up.  We witnessed this every day and were always amazed about how hard they work to barely make a living.  This is probably the number one memory or impact that Thailand has made on me.  Leaving three hours earlier then Lynne it was time to say goodbye to Lynne and head for the airport.  I had flown into Bangkok’s Suvarnabhuni  Airport three different times while travelling around Thailand but had never seen the outside of the airport and was completely amazed at actually how big the airport actually is, how futuristic looking it looked and most importantly how well it functioned in terms of check-in, security and immigration, putting once again Toronto Pearson to shame.  And speaking of immigration both Lynne and I had un-intentional overstayed our visit by one day and during our travels had contemplated leaving the country for a day or so and then returning for 15 day visa to avoid this problem.  In the end we decided to risk it as we heard that either you had to pay a 500 Bhat fine per day or if it was one day they would waive the fee, both considerable cheaper than leaving the country and returning, commonly known as a “visa run”.  Sure enough once I got to immigration I was asked to confirm I stayed an extra day.  I replied with “Yes, I’m sorry I thought it I arrived on the 28th of June I could leave on the 28th of July”.  He called another officer over to which he handed her my passport and was told to follow her to a desk.  She asked the same thing of me to which I gave the same reply and then she proceeded to stamp my passport with the exit stamp and another stamp which I have no idea what it says because it’s in Thai but probably some kind of warning should I try and enter the country again and that was it.  I did not have to pay a fine.  I had enough time to get on the internet and relay my experience to Lynne so that she may follow the same process. I’m assuming she didn’t have to pay as well as she hasn’t mentioned it.  Goodbye Thailand, it’s been swell , as my liver can attest.  It’s with mixed emotions that I’m going back to traveling on my own but looking forward to experiencing a new country which I suspect is “Same, same, but different” but hoping it’s more different then same.
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Comments

Lynne on

No ... they didn't let me out out of the country ... I'm stuck at the "Bangkok Hilton" as Thai prison is known. Send Thai Bhat! :-)
I had such an AMAZING time. It was so fun travelling with you Molly and trust me it's way better than working. Miss you. xoxo

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