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...and I took the one less traveled by

Welcome to Siam, the land of Smiles

THAILAND | Thursday, 5 June 2008 | Views [483]

Day one of my adventure! Despite being ridiculously tired, I couldn't sleep. I ended up getting up around 8 I believe. I unpacked part of my backpack and put things in my locker and locked up my backpack with other stuff in it, which took a bit of time. Showered -- forgot that there is hot water (you have to turn the dial to get the hot water) Decided that since I was already ridiculously sweaty that I liked a cold shower better anyway! SO the bathrooms to use all have a toilet and shower in them... but there is no curtain or seperate... anything for the shower. the shower is a hose with a shower head attached to it, made to be held instead of standing under it. Works for me... After that I went downstairs to find some breakfast since I didn't know where else to go. While eating I asked two girls how if they knew how to get to town/how the sky train worked. They said they did not, turns out they arrived the same time the night before and were on my flight! We decided to go together to find it and figure it out. Sara and Ashwini just graduated from Georgetown. they were moving to a hostel on Khao San Rd, closer to everything, and backpacker/tourist central. We walked about 10-15 minutes to catch the skytrain. One way to Siam Central station was 30Baht. I think the exchange rate right now is about 32/33Baht = $1 USD.

** sidenote: currently about 10 feet away from me there are two thai lady boy people talking to the workers and I think talking about trying to get some American guys. funny and creepy all in one. **

OK back to the day. Once we got to Siam, we were still too far from Khao San, so we got a meter taxi. These taxis are crazy... they are all different bright colors: pink, blue, green, purple, orange, yellow.... The traffic here in general... the lines are more like guides, and not rules. The drivers constantly go into lanes of what is oncoming traffic, and literally, many times there is oncoming traffic. The motorcycles and tuk tuks (motorized 3 wheel passenger carts) weave in and out of the buses, trucks and cars. We were dropped of at Khao San Road 60B later. So, for a ride completely across town, probably a 30-45 minute drive/ride, and splitting the cab, it was under $2. Crazy.

On the way we drove past the Democracy Monument.

At Khao San we just walked a little bit and they popped in one of the first places that looked interesting to them. They got a private double room with bathroom at the Siam Oriental Hotel. We stopped at a cute Thai cafe further down the road for lunch. I had mango and sweet sticky rice, and fried tofu & peanut sauce. So yummy! From there we were headed to the Grand Palace and stopped to ask directions. The Thai man told us that it was a holy day and that it was already closed. Although we know there are scams like of that nature, we had overheard someone else mention something about it, but didn't know what was going on, so we chose to believe him. He told us the other places we could still go visit with the time left and circled them on the map. We were going to walk but after going a few blocks decided against it. We got a Tuk Tuk driver to take us around for, as it ended up, a total of 10B. What you have to know with the tuk tuks, especially if you're going round trip -- they are "sponsored" by gem and other types of tourist shops/traps. They get credit if they take people there, and particularly if they buy anything. Ours took us to one as well.

We went to the Standing Buddha, Wat Benchama Bophit (the Marble Wat), and the Golden Mount/Wat Saket. Wat means temple if you didn't know. I will be Wat-ed out by the end of this trip. The golden Mount was a hike up shallow stairs that spiral around this temple that is a mini mountain in the city where you can see Bangkok sprawling on all sides. These stairs were all about 3-4 inches high which made it hard to climb -- most stairs are at least 7 inches or more high! Once back to Khao San Rd we all decided to try a Thai Massage because we were tired and sore from traveling. I got a traditional Thai Massage and they each got Thai foot massages -- and hour long. The massage was AMAZING. It hurt a bit, but that's just because I was so sore and tense. The guy got out knots in muscles I didn't even know I had. After that we walked around and looked at the stalls/things for sale. We bought fresh cut mango from a cart stand -- did you know there are 51 different types of mango?? I'm sure they're all amazing.

Favorite thing about Thailand thus far -- they have all the fruits I love, and all cut fresh. Mango, Guava, Coconut, Papaya, etc. I guess I could say the food in general is amazing.

We went to their room for a bit and took a nap while they were waiting for a friend of a friend to call. She called and we met her on Khao San. Jackie, and her friend Noi are Thai and had met Sara & Ash's friend Shelly while she studied/worked in Bangkok a few years ago.

We went to the road just north of Khao San for dinner. I had a papaya salad with seafood, which ended up being too spicy for me halfway through, but was still amazing. I've never had that before, and when i thought "papaya salad" i didn't know the papaya was stringy and looked like noodles. I guess I just don't know Thai cuisine that well. the seafood was shrimp and squid. I've never eaten squid without a breading on it, like it usually has when I've eaten Calamari. It arrived and there were little bodies with tenticles and suckers on them.... I ate it, and it was good, but I still stick by my "squid is not high on my seafood wants list". I tried some of Sara's coconut milk & curry soup which was delicious, and some of Ash's soup, but can't remember what it was. After that we walked around a bit, and I got a meter taxi back to the hostel in Sukhumvit.

Tags: bangkok, khao san, massage, thailand, wat


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