Band For the Bride

Trip Start Aug 03, 2008
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23
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Trip End Aug 18, 2009


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Flag of Thailand  ,
Monday, September 29, 2008

Two buses, two totally different countries. As we left Cambodia, we took a mini bus not quite as big as a normal bus that was filled to the complete brim that the last two passengers to get on had to put down the fold out seats that looked so uncomfortable for a 5 hour ride to the border. The front part was covered with all of our bags by the door so that 5 passengers and the driver had to climb over the bags just to get to their seats. It was crowded!

Now the road that lead to the border was basically piled down dirt in the middle of rice paddy fields. They even had about 50 incomplete bridges on the new section of the road; however, since they were incomplete we had to keep swerving down onto the flooded road. Water on both sides of us as if we were at our own floating village, it was almost surreal like we were floating on the water but unfortunately at times we were actually flying in the air as we hit a big dirt pothole. And since we were in the back of the bus, we went flying up, Bill even hit his head. Not to mention that we left the windows open to get some air flowing, but these dirt roads surrounded by water leads to mud at time. And so at our driver speed through this road as we made record time to the border according to how long it should have taken, we arrive an hour early, we were sprayed with mud as we tried to get some fresh air. I was closest to the window, but the mud must have had good trajectory as Bill was sprayed so much more than me.

We finally reached the border and again got bright orange stickers

as our ticket to the next bus. The border on the Cambodian side was basically a long line in with a small shelter but quite a bit of time waiting in the sun. As we arrive to the Thai side, there is AC and no lines, it's amazing the differences between the two sides. As we get into an AC van to take us to Bangkok on paved roads, it was almost hard to believe how different these two countries are.

However, on our return to Bangkok, I came across a realization that transportation in Bangkok just sucks. First, we had given up on tuk tuk drivers the last time we were here as they will offer you a cheap price, but you have to stop at other tourist shops because they get gas coupons just for bringing you in. Or when it was down pouring, they want to triple the price, I'd rather be soaked than deal with them. So they were out. So we stayed mainly with the meter taxis, at least we didn't have to bargain for price. Except they'd say, "Yes," to knowing where we wanted to go and Bill would have to pull out a map at some point for them to figure it out or best yet, the driver called on his cell phone to someone who spoke English, and the result of that was just more frustration on our part and Bill wanting to get out of the cab at a red light, eventually Bill was able to direct him to where we had wanted to go.

We did try the ferries this time around, which at first we went to the wrong dock at it was just for private boats. We finally found the right dock which wasn't very easy because no street or walking area goes along the river, it's more like Venice where you have to find openings to the Grand Canal. Once we got the stop, the ticket guy just motion us to go wait, we had no idea what we were waiting for just saw others waiting. We tried to figure it out, but finally a boat came and that was the one we were suppose to get on. So the canal ended up working out well, so we tried to take a different water way the next day to walk over a bridge showing all kinds of construction mechanisms in the water way, so we had no idea how a boat could get through those, so off to a taxi we went again. Let's just say it's not the easiest city to get around.

We spent our last two days in South East Asia basically trying to get ready for India as we saw a few final stops. Our first stop after sleeping in after a long bus day, was actually thanks to my dad. He has found a jeweler he likes in Bangkok, so he passed on the info so that Bill and I could get a wedding band made for him. When we first got there, we were so welcomed as my dad is a very good customer, and told how much I look like him. They gave us time to look through some catalogues, but we had already printed out some ideas. So we took some of those ideas and designed a band for Bill, though I had a matching one made so I can wear it for the rest of the trip and then on my right hand, as I didn't want to bring my rings with me on this trip. That's when we took the ferry and on our way back to our hotel, we went to Arun Wat, temple of the Dawn. The decoration on this Wat was so colorful, but Bill noticed that part of the design were actually dining plates that were broken in a manner and put onto the temple to create flowers. The steps up to the top were also very steep, I'm still not sure why every temple has to have steep stairs? But at the top, I only stayed for awhile as I started looking down too much, realizing how high we were and down I went.

The next day, I wanted to try to replace some of the clothes that had be stolen figuring Bangkok should have some good malls. Yes, they do have malls, but good may be a relative term. We went down to Siam Square where there were lots of shops but most shops had one of each of their items. The were so bare, it looked more like a closet full of your own clothes more than a shop. I would go and look at some of the clothes, and as soon as I left the shop assistant would go back and make sure everything hung right next to each other. It started to feel more like a museum than a mall.

I did find one department store that had good selection or at least it looked like it. I was still trying to find a new sporty swim suit as my new one was taken. Though for my size, they didn't have much choice as I'm in Thailand were everyone is a toothpick. So no swimsuit or actually anything that day because for a pair of adais jogging pants, they wanted $90. I didn't want to replace them that badly.

Based on lonely planet that said you'll find everything you would possibly want and so much that you don't, so Bill thought that China Town would be a great place to find what I wanted. We grabbed a metered taxi to get down there and got turned around. But we kept walking through the streets and we started to see some shops, quite a few being for shoes. So I went to look seeing if I could find flip flops to find out that it was wholesale only. So we could buy six pairs if we wanted, and we started looking at other stores and they we packaged in groups of 5 or 6. And the more we walked, the more we noticed that so many places were closed. By this point, we had it with shopping and high tailed it back to our hotel to take it easy, but sadly after all that effort empty handed.

We had one last stop the next morning to see the Golden Mont before getting on our plane to Mumbai. The Golden Mont was the tallest Buddhist temple in the world. When you get to the top, you get some views of the city as well. Though the temple itself is quite simple as one stand for the days of the week of Buddha was a simply metal cabinet that seemed out of place. Though there were great views. And now it was time to make our way to India...

Michelle
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