Finally Back In Asia
Trip Start Aug 06, 2011
144Trip End Ongoing
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Where I stayed
The day had come when we had to leave the paradise known as Hawaii. A short flight from Maui to Oahu and then two more flights- 10 and a half hours to Seoul Korea, couple of hours lay over then a 5 and a half hour flight from Seoul to Bangkok. Our bags were to go directly to Bangkok which is always a mystery to me. No matter how long we travel, there is always such a sense of relief when you see the bags on that carousel at your final destination. Especially when the first bag is mine. On these long flights, you really have to go to that place in the deep recesses of your mind and write off the time . Just get through it. Most flights you don't recall anything that happened, it's just time you will never get back. However, the flight from Hawaii to Seoul had a moment for me of suppressed laughter, which is always the best kind of laughter, even if you are by yourself
I had mentioned in a few e-mails back home that I would probably need a few days in Bangkok to get into Backpackers travel mode after having such a decadent " holiday" in Hawaii. Bangkok does not allow that grace period- you are thrown into the craziness that is Bangkok the minute you step off the plane. To be truthful, I don't remember much about the cab ride from the airport to our hotel other than the heat, the incredible heat.
We were staying at a place called Fortville Guesthouse. Vic booked us in and then we made the climb with all the bags to the forth floor. We fell into the room and slept for 9 hours. We awoke and I had the feeling we were in a basement. I am surprised we don't leap out of bed in a panic more often as we wake up in so many different beds! This morning though our room is made of cement that has been painted to look like smooth stucco. The celling is very high and we are on a very hard mattress on the floor- no head or foot-board or box spring just a rock hard mattress on the floor. There is a window high-up and a TV mounted on the wall also very high up near the ceiling. The only English channel we could get was our travel channel, the BBC News. The walls are completely grey with no photo's or art. There were also no chairs, tables or stands, not even a hook. Bathroom had a flush toilet and we had hot water- nuff said.
We are quickly aware of our bodies stiffness from this slab we have crashed on and the first thing we do is scramble for the Advil bottle like heroin addicts needing a score, Vic doesn't even need water anymore to wash these babies down
Vic used his freaky map ready skills over breakfast and had charted our days adventure. He can commit maps to memory and has some sort of built in GPS that gets us around in record time. I swear that is why we get to see so much in one day, we don't get lost too often.
The streets were packed with merchants, pedestrians and so many tourists and Backpackers. There was evidence all around of the recent flooding. Sandbags lined the streets in front of the shops. There was water still coming in areas near the river but they had built walkways above these areas much like the ones we walked on in Venice. 2x4's formed crude walkways and formed little bridges which allowed you to walk over these areas. It seemed like old news to the people of Bangkok, some merchants stood in ankle deep water as they beckon you into their shop.
Grand Palace and Temple of Emerald Budda -Vic and I along with dozens of other visitors were not dressed "politely" enough as we we both showing our kneecaps
Vic raced around, always a few feet ahead of me, snapping away his photos and muttering about too many tourists and shaking his head at those in front of sacred temples with goofy poses.
We wandered for about three hours then headed off to Wat Pho near the Chao Phraya River
This Wat did not disappoint and again you really felt transformed in time, looking at something that has been seen by thousands over centuries. A short boat ride across the river to Wat Arun. Here we were able to climb very high and as there were not too many tourists here, we had a beautiful sunset all to ourselves.
We hiked back towards our hotel but passed a strange sight where they were offering massages on the side of freeway. Women had their blankets spread out with little pillows and sat crossed legged waiting for customers. It would be like seeing this on University Avenue between College and Dundas Street in the middle of rush hour!
We found a great gourmet pizza place right across the street from our hotel so it was a quick bite and an early jet lag night.
Killer bed. have I mentioned the bed? We met two couples from BC at breakfast who put us onto a guide and river tour and who could get us into Laos by boat as we can only stay in Thailand for 30 days. Vic exercised his computer skills to the max and had our flight to Chiangmai booked, contacted the guide, and accommodations booked ( thanks to a recommendation from our fellow travelers), all while dealing with a power outage, a time-out from the Cafe Internet, and then his lap top battery died!
We walked to the boat docks and caught a local boat for a down river trip to catch the new Skytrain to get to the famous MBK Mall. Another beautiful day and it is always fun to be out on the water
As it grew darker we decided to head over to walk the famous Khao San Road, which was not too far from where we were staying. We loved it! It had an infectious atmosphere at night- travelers of all sorts, shapes , sizes, in all manners of dress. It consisted of mainly pedestrians but there was the several motor scooters or taxis trying to get through the narrow street. Twinkling lights in all the trees that lined the road, beautiful Thai women trying to get you to go in restaurants, guitars played, competing against singers, three piece bands, DJ music, karaoke, vendors yelling, people calling out to each other
I almost forgot, on the way home we saw ( lost count) but well over 16 huge rats scurrying away from a garbage bag, all running in a straight line along the sidewalk. I just stood there with my teeth clenched, hands balled into fists and my toes curled fight into my flip flops. Even Vic hesitated, not getting his camera up to his face fast enough to get a photo.