Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Happy Ending

Tonight is my last night in Bangkok and tomorrow at 1 PM I catch the bus back to the ship. It's been a relaxing, yet action-packed visit and my fingers have been anxious in anticipation of writing this blog. I would describe Bangkok as large, clean, friendly, oriental and fun. My friends don't quite think "clean" fits the bill, but after India this place is immaculate in my book! I would even go as far to say it's cleaner than New York. I didn't see any litter on the streets anywhere. The city didn't smell like urine. And I don't think I saw one single homeless person. It's just like New York. Same same! ("Same same" is a famous Asian phrase that people use when selling you their junk...most likely a tshirt that is two sizes smaller than the size you would like. But it's still "same same") They do that in Chinatown too, back at home. Same, same! And it gets just as hot in NYC as it feels here right now. In fact, the only difference between New York and Bangkok is the language. And there are orchids absolutely everywhere here in Bangkok. They are really quite lovely.

Other than that, I feel right at home. Same same!
Dara and I have had a wonderful time. I was so excited to see a familiar face from home, I almost cried! I greeted her "Sa wa di ka!" and she did likewise.

For some reason it is still astonishing to me that two people can travel to the exact opposite side of the globe by two different modes of transportation, and still find each other in a big crazy mess of a city. We are staying at the Shangri La, which is very plush and comfortable. We've spent a lot of time at the pool, which has been time well spent in my opinion. After being Trip Leader for many Semester at Sea trips, I've been really looking forward to this break. Don't worry, aside from taking a break at the pool, we've also seen some sights (and what sights we have seen, oh my!) First of all, we visited the Reclining Buddha. "What fo?" you may ask.....the answer is "Wat Pho"! What Pho is the name of the reclining Buddha. He's HUGE. Here he is: And here are some shots of the grounds around Wat Pho. I was apparently practicing my "jazz hands" in the second shot. We've also managed to have at least one massage per day. I think on average they are about $16 for 90 minutes. And these Thai folks are not messing around. The best massage I've had has been this tiny woman who couldn't have been but 4' 10" who stretched and contorted my body every which way. I had been in pain since India, after children reached out to hug me and instead lifted their legs off the ground, so I ended up using my upper back muscles to pick them up. But I've got to tell you, after these daily Thai massages, I've had no upper back pain whatsoever. However, I'm a little confused....I still can't figure out if I was molested or not. This tiny little waif of a woman had her feet and her elbows on my arse cheeks and she dragged her knee against my stomach and I *still* can't really figure out what she did to my ears....All I do know is that Thai massage is like no other. I also feel like I may have been beat up. It's fun here. In addition to daily massages, we've also eaten McDonalds regularly (and by regularly I mean twice). As you know, I love trying local cuisine and new food from other countries. McDonalds was just that. There were tuna pies and corn pies. Don't you fret, we've sampled some Thai street treats as well. Like a big fried corn tortilla filled with some sort of sweet marshmallowy- coconut goo, fish, chilis, and anice. (Okay, I would be lying if I told you I liked that "treat"....actually had to spit that one out.)

The highlight of Thailand has definitely been a ride with the elephants. They are such sweet, docile creatures.
They had a seat on their backs, but Dara and I each had a chance to move up, so we were almost on the elephant's neck. Our elephant's name was Cherry and she was 17 years old. We walked through a river for part of the trek and she kept gathering water into her long trunk and lifting it up and squirting back to cool her (and us!) off!!!! The elephants were all so friendly and we fed their trunks bananas. They ate bunches and bunches, peels and all! It is amazing how all of their faces looked very very different up close. Like humans. No two elephants were the same.

I'll post some videos below, at the end of the blog. Also, here are some photos. Look how my hat kept falling in my face! Finally I just took it off.
And there were these people who were so incredibly rude to our tour guide, who was the sweetest little guy ever. She said "I not like other people. They told for me I have private car drive me and my husband. Not car with foreigners."..... Nice to meet you too.... Later on I asked the husband where he was from and he said "UAE" and I told him "good, I'll be sure NEVER to visit there. Dubai is off my list." And then his wife started yelling at him in arabic because he was talking to me and she told me "I not like women talk to husband."

Tonight we ventured into the Bangkok night scene. There is the Patapong night market, with vendors selling their wares. There are jazz clubs, karaoke bars, and go-go clubs. Certainly not "same same" as New York. So we go to check it out and perhaps have a drink.
Lo and behold, we found a "deal"! Some guy lured us into his venue and it was no ordinary venue. He told us 2 Tiger Beers, 100 baht each. (Okay, not bad. 100 baht is like about $3 US). So we go. And in there are naked Thai women dancing on poles. Ummm....How did we get here again? So we hurried up and drank our Tiger beers so we could get the heck out of there. Some "Ladyboy" sits down next to me and "she" (he? he/she?) has a weird looking blue drink in his/her hand. It didn't look like a drink, though. It looked like antifreeze. He/she then tried to offer us some other "fun games'" and we repeatedly told him/her no until he/she went away. Was she a man or was she a woman? Same same??? He/she would not go away, so we got up to leave. And the bartender tried to charge us 3000 baht. 200 for the beers, 800 for the "lady's drink" and 2000 for the "show".

I explained in my best Thai (I speak it fluently, don't you know!), that was certainly not a drink and that absolutely was not a lady! So we said no way and the go-go people ran to the door to block us, and I thought they were going to close it and lock us in there with the naked Go-go dancers! I pulled Dara's arm and told her to RUN! Fortunately they were luring some more people into the naked Go-go club just as we were escaping. We ran into the Patpong night market and then we went directly back to the Shangri La, laughing and breathing sighs of relief all at the same time.

How do these things happen to me?
At least it was a happy ending, after all. Probably not the happy ending the Go-go dancers and Ladyboy anticipated though......

1 comment:

Dara said...

2 things...

1. I heart Bangkok.
2. I miss you already!

Oh, and 3. I miss Cherry too...