Category Archives: Bangkok

Free Birds And Hobos

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I was on a day tour recently with a young generic family of four from a first world, highly industrialized city. The parents were my age, if not slightly younger. They were on holiday in Thailand and had a few questions for me regarding the Khao San area I was staying in. I told them it was a great area, plenty of little shops, lots of restaurants. I explained that it was a hub for backpackers and really catered to the traveler. “You are in the middle of all the action”, I said. They wanted to visit and maybe have dinner there, but would it be appropriate for the children? (2 girls, 10 & 12, I’m guessing). They approached the evening plans as if attending a dinner theatre. They seemed hesitant and concerned about the noise. The backpacker thing hit a nerve, I think. As we drove by a group of six young guys sitting on the sidewalk talking to each other the mother pointed out ‘the hobos’ to the children. Am I missing something? These people come from a country where it’s still a right of passage to backpack for months at a time. Does the term ‘hobo’ mean something different in Australia than in the US? Something like ‘pissed’ is either angry or drunk depending on where in the world you’re from. Or are backpackers a lower class, something to be wary of?
“Don’t touch the kitten! You don’t know what diseases it has.”(something else that was said along these same lines.). The kitten approached me as I was sitting and waiting for the van to be filled with gasoline. I gave her a scritch on the head and she purred and nuzzled my leg. Inevitably, one of the girls came over to pet the kitten. You can’t keep a 10 year old girl away from a kitten, now, really. And it’s my guess, in a few years Mom won’t be able to keep her away from the hobo, either.

I Took-Took a Tuk-Tuk

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A little sightseeing, a little shopping, a lot of sweating! 45 degrees means something different to me being from Boston. That translates to about 113 degrees Fahrenheit. Brutal. The Grand Palace was a beautiful, golden, shimmering, dizzying, heat stroking wonder.

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I wandered about an hour and a half before I bailed. Not bad tolerance, really.

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I have wanted to do some shopping for fabric and this seemed like my best opportunity. The Tuk-Tuk driver brought me to a fabric store/tailor that was open. Apparently, many places are closed the day after the Songkran holiday. I ended up with 3 meters (for the price of 2) of gorgeous pale pink silk. The driver waited for me outside the store while I shopped and then drove me around the city. I don’t have much of a schedule, so we kept chatting and he kept driving.

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I did wonder if he was going to try to alter the agreed upon price after the unexpected tour, but he didn’t. We agreed on 50 Baht for the fabric ride and he stuck to it despite the fact that I was with him for 45 minutes of a heart pounding, white knuckle tour. Mind you, 50 Baht is about 1.60 US dollars. A Boston cab won’t even take you next door for that!
I continued my shopping at a few little shops across from the hotel. Here’s what I bought today.

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I think I’ll wear one of the dresses tonight ๐Ÿ™‚

Songkran – Bangkok Edition

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We left Baan Tha Klang early this morning to make our way back to Bangkok. The program is over for me. The week is up. Oddly, it feels like culture shock to return to the city during Songkran. The festivities continue. Today is the last day. The way the holiday plays out in the tiny village compared to Bangkok is worlds apart. Streets are closed. The Black Eyed Peas are blaring from every amp stack on every corner.
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Khao San Road is Thai’s Bourbon Street during Mardi Gras. There is no way to move forward. You are a sitting target for sprays of water and clay smeared on your face. My hotel is right in the middle of the action (that’s good and bad). It was a struggle to get to the hotel with the bag and not get a little pissy when people are dumping water on you and everything you possess for the trip. I got there without any damage and so now I’m enjoying the party a bit more.

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I settled into the room and said goodbye to a fellow volunteer. So sad. I decided to try to relax some after the eight hour bus ride to the city and the stressful drenching I received trying to get to the hotel by scheduling a Thai massage. Well that did the trick! I still have one problem. I’m hungry. Do I dare enter the mayhem again? The crowds seem to be growing as the night rolls in. How is that even possible?! I have a feeling I’ll venture out. And once I’m in it, all will be good.

Every Country Has Mall Rats

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Dinner was at the shopping center attached to the hotel. WOW! Sensory overload. I’m no stranger to malls, but that doesn’t mean I like them. I’ve served my time as manager in a couple of mall stores, however, I am not a shopper. I am not your typical girly girl. If I am required to go to a mall then I need a plan. I need a route to getting what I need and getting out as fast as possible. I am girly in other ways.
So, this place, a shopping metropolis really, is four floors of chaos. All I want is dinner, but I’m not so hungry yet that will take the first place I see. No, I need to explore a bit, torture myself for a little while. Each floor has dozens of options. Oh, the noise.
Many places have lines of people waiting and while I know this a sign of good food, it’s not what I’m in the mood for right now. Floor three…
Now, my head is spinning. A pizza and pasta place! Ok, I can do that. It was quite good and I wasn’t expecting restaurant type service. You are seated, served, waited on. It’s not a food court experience at all.
I’m feeling much better now that I’ve got some food in me. I think I saw a chocolate desserty restaurant somewhere back there…

“My Idea Of Exercise Is A Good Brisk Sit” ~Phyllis Diller

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I am leaving Chiang Mai today. I’m so glad I opted to head north in the country as opposed to hitting the beaches. Beaches are great, but I was really looking for culture with this trip. Chiang Mai was the better choice.
I am headed to Bangkok, but only temporarily. Tomorrow I leave for the volunteer program in the Surin Province. I will not actually be anywhere near the city I until my return from the program. Tonight I stay close to the bus station north of the city. This hotel has a gym and since there’s not much else to do this evening I’m actually looking forward to working out. Is that weird? Do other people work out when they travel? What do you do for a workout if no gym is available? I’ve always counted all the walking (I do a lot of walking when I travel) as a workout, but it’s so different than what I’m accustomed to at home. I brought clothes, a resistance band, and a jump rope figuring at least if I get the chance I will have options and it’s so easy to pack that. No excuses, right? Hmmph. After the days touring around so far I’ve been exhausted by the time I got back to the hotel.
Is anyone passionate about their workouts, even away from home? Or are you the ‘vacation means vacation from everything’ type?