Sunday, July 27, 2008

Thailand Day 2: Oh the Things You'll See

"Want some snake whiskey?"

"....ummm, what's snake whiskey?"

"You want?"

"I mean well, sure, but...what is it?"

Out travel agent, who told us her name was Helley...Helley Kopter (cue courtesy laugh here), puts this giant bottle of whiskey on the desk in front of us. We weren't expecting this:

Now, I've never tasted snake before...but seriously, this tasted like SNAKE whiskey. Nasty.

Back in our Tuk-tuk for the Thai version of Mr. Toad's Wild Ride.

I just don't understand. This would never work over here. Scooters were EVERYWHERE. This line alone had about another 20 bikes behind it.

I wish I had gotten a picture of the families of 4 or even 5 riding on these bad boys (love the manly pinkness), but this'll do.

Standing Buddha. This thing is MASSIVE. I couldn't get the whole thing in the frame.

Our last stop before heading to the tailors, was Golden Mountain. Not very Golden, but at the top of the stairs had a great view of Bangkok. This city just goes on and on and on and on.

Our Tuktuk driver with a big ol' smile on his face because of the suits we bought.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Thailand Day 2: Atleast we'll look like studs.

This would be our staple for the next few days in Bangkok. Pad Thai from the street carts. For 60 cents you could get a plate of the stuff. This also paid for my stomach aches and diarrhea.

Warning (from the Lonely Planet Guidebook):

If a nice looking stranger approaches you on the street and speaks perfect English, this is the set-up for a huge scam.

The conversation will go something like this:

Hi, where are you from?
Oh, very good, when did you come to Bangkok?
This is our first day (never a good idea to admit this. Always say you've been in town a month or so)
Oh, this is a good day to be in Bangkok. It's a government holiday. (it seems to always be a holiday) Many special attractions are open only today. Let me show you.

He will then take you to the nearest map, and write down all the places you should go.

Also, because it is a holiday, the there are special tuk tuks (these are the 3 wheeled taxis) that will take you to all these places, and wait for you all day, for only 60 cents!

Then he waves down a tuk tuk for you, and off you go.

Enjoy the sites on the cheap while you can, cause you're about to get taken for a ride in more ways than one.

Last stop: A special "government" tailor where you are pressured to buy suits for (while still cheaper than back home) an inflated price, which the tuk tuk driver will receive a hefty commission on.

So now Scott and I are the owner of tailored suits, thanks to the greatest salesman either of us have ever met. A small Indian man, Jack, with 4 fingers on his left hand.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Thailand Day 1: This ain't yo mama's vacation


"Dude I think I have food poisoning. I've been throwing up all night"

7am I get that text message from Scott. We are supposed to be on a train to the airport in 2 hours, and he's puking his guts out. How's a guy with food poisoning gonna be able handle 24 hours of travel?

He says he needs to sleep a few more hours and we'll catch a later train. Alright cool, not sure how he's gonna feel better that quick, but there's not much I can do.

9am he calls me and sounds like a new man. We're good to go.

Our clean-cut cabbie takes us to the train station for $45 (its only about 10 minutes away)

Well, there's no way we can make it to LAX via train in time to catch our flight, so we have two choices. We either take a cab all the way to LA, or we don't go to Thailand today.

$245 and 2 hours later we are safe and sound at the airport with an hour to spare. We board the plane with no problems and are on our way to THAILAND.

Have you ever sat on a flight, especially a long one, and thought "What would happen if someone had a heart attack on the plane?...would we have to land?" Maybe I'm just morbid, but this thought ran through my mind when not 10 minutes later, somewhere over the pacific ocean, a woman had a seizure about 5 rows behind me.

"IS THERE A DOCTOR ON THE PLANE?!" I imagine that flight attendant had waited his whole career to yell that out.

She ended up being fine. We didn't have to make an emergency landing (although there was talk about it amongst the crew), but I witnessed my first airplane emergency. So far, this trip was AWESOME.

When you show up to Bangkok the first thing you notice besides the heat is the line of cabbies waiting for your business. This is pretty much your only option for getting into the city, so you have to trust they are not going to try to rip you off. We got lucky.

I think now is a good time to show you the difference between our clean, polite San Diego cab driver (10 minutes, $45.00):

and our first cab driver in Bangkok (50 minutes, $8.00):

We get dropped off at this seedy street that has clearly been designated as the city's trash drop-off location. This is the filthiest place I've ever seen. There was even a BABY ELEPHANT roaming around. What more could you ask for?

First business at hand: FIND A HOTEL. We had no reservations anywhere. Just kinda figured something would be available. First place we found must have been designed without us tall foreigners in mind. We didn't bother looking at the rooms.

The place we did eventually find was called The Four-Sons, though we soon adopted the classier name of The Four-Seasons. For $15.00 a night we got our own room with our own bathroom.

Wiped out from traveling, we thought for a moment about just going straight to sleep. A brief moment. That thought lasted about 10 seconds before we were out the door and in the nearest dance club until 5:30am. No pictures of that. Didn't feel like bringing my baby in. You'll just have to use your imagination.