Thursday, August 24, 2006

Sawat-dii Bangkok Part 2

When I last checked in with everyone, I had gone to bed on Saturday night. Well Sunday would prove to be one of the most interesting days I've had in recent memory.

I got up and did the morning paper thing with a nice breakfast. After finishing my breakfast, I decided to jump into a tuk-tuk and cruise the city. After checking out the Grand Palace, which I couldn't get in because there was some official ceremony going on, I told the tuk-tuk to take me to some of his favorite temples and interesting sites in the city. He then took me to the Temple of the Lucky Buddha. What an awesome sight. The artwork was mind-boggling. It was very peaceful and felt like I had stepped back several hundred years. Next he took me to this great little area of food stalls. Although I told him that I just ate breakfast, he insisted I try some of the food. It wasn't bad. Not sure what most of it was, but I survived. He then took me to the Temple of the Standing Buddha. This place was cool! At the entrance, you get a little cage with 3 or 4 little birds in it. You walk to the base of the statue and release the birds. What a remarkably life-affirming experience that was. The statue itself was frighteningly huge. There was a woman at the feet of the Buddha praying. I did my best not to disturb her. She looked like an ant at the feet of an elephant...the effigy of Buddha dwarfed everything around it. On our way out of the temple I told the tuk-tuk driver that I wanted to see some of the crazier parts of Bangkok...he obliged. Before I knew it, he was pulling up to a massage parlor! I spent the next two hours getting one of the most intense massages one can imagine. She twisted me into a pretzel and moved me in directions I didn't think I could go! When it was all over I felt freaking great! I told the tuk-tuk driver that I had had enough for the afternoon...he took me back to the hotel. Believe it or not, the entire trip in the tuk-tuk cost me about $3 American!!!

After chilling out at the hotel for awhile, I met a Dutch guy named Herman who wanted to go hang out on Khao San Rd.. We decided to hike on over, have a few drinks and take in the crazy atmosphere. The clothes vendors are hard to resist. I ended up buying a bunch of stuff that evening. My take included a few DVD's, some shirts, and a handful of trinkets. I had yet another helping of PadThai.

I had the stereotypical dog-fight with a vendor. I stopped at his stand and was checking out the wallets. I picked one up and asked him the price, he said 600 they always do, he followed that by saying "but I can give you a good discount price" I responded with an "ok, how much?". He said "550". I looked at him in disbelief. 550 Baht is a handsome sum in Thailand. I put the wallet down and said "no thank you". Of course he came back with a "wait, what do you want to pay?". I said I might be willing to pay 400...that was a mistake! He then came back with "500". I put the wallet down and began to walk away, felt his hand on my shoulder and "ok, ok, let's deal". Problem was, I really didn't want to pay After deflecting a few minutes of fast-talking by him and his buddies, I got away unscathed.

The street was especially lively that night, lots of interesting street performers and the like. At about 2a.m., I decided to call it a night.

I woke up early on Monday. I figured I better make use of the time I had. My flight was leaving at 1:30 that afternoon. Had the requisite great breakfast, jumped in a tuk-tuk, and flew around the city. Caught as many interesting sites as time would allow. Found a few folks that were looking to share a taxi ride to the airport, and I was off.

What a freaking great time! I am going to go back to Thailand as soon as I can. I had a picture-perfect weekend. One of my few regrets was not taking more pictures. Oh well, next time I will be quicker with the camera.

No comments: