haven’t posted in 5 days now. finally wrote most of a post two nights ago, and the computer died on me leaving me pissed off at having wasted half an hour for nothing. the last thing i wanna do now is to repost about the same thing, but oh well.
i arrived in bangkok on the 5th and met up w/ my friend ryan. he’s someone who i’ve been friends w/ for hella days. we became friends back in the 2nd grade and hung out for a few years, but then his family moved and he stopped going to my school. years later, in junior high, my family moved, and totally randomly i ended up running into him at school again. once again, hung out for a few years and then gradually somehow lost touch, until we randomly ended up crossing paths again. so basically, for the last 20 or so years, we’ve been crossing paths over and over again. pretty cool. so, i was pretty psyched when he said he’d be coming to thailand to hang out for 2 weeks.
finding everyone at the airport was a bit confusing. we were supposed to meet at burger king. turns out, there are 3 or 4 burger kings in the airport. i eventually found ryan, but caryn wasn’t showing up. in the end, it turned out that she was over 2 hours late since the flight she was supposed to take had an emergency landing! yikes!
oh, one other cool thing about meeting up w/ ryan was that he brought me a package of stuff that my parents sent w/ him. they bought me a camera as an early bday present (a sony pc-200 7.2 megapixel cybershot)! i was really really excited about getting this camera. for a while now i haven’t been satisfied w/ the quality of my photos, and this was pretty much the perfect present! not only did they send me the camera, but they sent me a bunch of other little things from home that i was missing like doritos etc. it was so cool that my parents and brother had gone through all the trouble of getting me everything i needed!
anyways, in bangkok we stayed near kho san road, the pace where almost all backpackers stay. sheez, being there was so completely bizarre after coming form myanmar. there were just so many damn tourists there! the whole place was literally exploding w/ 7-11s, atms, neon signs, bars, etc. seriously it felt like it was daytona mtv springbreak or something. ugh. from the moment we got there, i really just wanted to get out of there. we ate at a restauarnt, and the food was crap. figures.
after a while, we decided to walk around bangkok a bit. while we were out, ryan got exposed to his first impression of that wonderful thai hospitality. we were digging through our guidebook when a man came up offering to help us find what we were looking for. he informed us that there was a very interesting nightmarket nearby that we should go see, so we decided, sure why not? he also said that near the market there was a TAT (tourist authority of thailand) office that could help us w/ any other questions we had. conveniently enough, there happened to be a tuk-tuk right there that could take us. so we hop into the tuk-tuk and head off to the night market, mentioning to the driver that we dont want to stop by the TAT since we have no need.
a few minutes later, the driver starts getting really pushy and keeps trying to get us to go to the TAT. we repeatedly say no. eventually, he tells us that if we go there, he gets a free gas coupon. ah-ha. so *that’s* why he wants us to go there so bad. we still say no. he starts scowling. eventually he just pulls over and says that we are just a few blocks from the market and can easily walk the rest. we tell him to just take us there. he refuses. i, like a dumbass, almost get out of the taxi until caryn tells me not to. after arguing for a bit, we finally tell him that unless he takes us right to the market, he should just drop us off where we started. so he turns around.
it all became evident. there was no night market. the whole thing had been a big scam to get us to this fake TAT office so he could get his comission. the driver finally drops us off and then has the nerve to ask us to pay him!! i couldnt believe he actually thought we might pay him for taking us absolutely nowhere. we told him no. in a last ditch effort to scare us he threatened to call the police if we didnt pay. yeah right. we told him to go ahead and he angrily drove off. ugh. after spending so much time in myanmar, i had slowly forgotten to always be on my guard for bullshit like this. so damn annoying.
eventually, after walking around a bit more, we crashed out.
we got up today and headed to go see watt pra kaew, the royal palace. when we got there, they made us put on these dorky pants since we were wearing shorts. in the end, we didnt even end up going into the palace since the emerald buddha, the most important thing there, wasn’t on display. by the way, it’s hot here!! so hot!! i was hoping it’d be a little cooler than myanmar, but no. even wearing shorts and a tshirt doesnt help. it’s so damn humid too!
since we didnt go to watt pra keaw, we walked over to wat po instead. wat po has this huge 46 meter long reclining buddha in it. it’s amazing to see sculptures that are just so damn huge! the rest of the grounds here are filled w/ lots of glittery intricate temples, cool stone statues, etc. i’ve actually already been to watt po when i went to thailand 2.5 years ago, but it’s been so long that it was really cool to see it again. we ended up at one point finding a ceremony where 3 monks got ordained (at least we think that’s what was going on). we just sat there and watched it all.. listening to the chanting was so beautiful!
after the watt, we decided it was too damn hot to be outside and so we ducked into an air-conditioned restaurant. ahhhh. air conditioning is pure heaven. the food was great as it almost always is in thailand (except for kho san road apparently). that’s one thing that i definitely love about thailand. the food is just so damn good. i absolutely love thai food and it’s such a treat to be able to eat it every day. plus, it’s so cheap here! at home it costs like 7 or 8 bucks a dish while here a dish costs 1.50 or less! plus, this country is famous for its fruit shakes. practically every meal we end up drinking freshly blended tropical shakes. so perfect on a hot day!!
bangkok has a river running through the middle of it and one of the ways that people can get around is by boat. basically, there’s a bunch of piers along the riverside and you can just hop on the “bus” at any pier and take it to any other pier. it’s kinda nice to just chill on this boat and watch the city slowly glide by you. plus, the breeze really helps on a hot day. we saw this really cool bridge right before we got off, too.
after my last trip to thailand, i had really been looking forward to getting another thai massage. we went down to this place that was recommeded to us and got *excellent* massages. the massage people even walked on us which was kinda crazy.