Day 1 & 2
these days were travel days. these days were forgettable in that they consisted of uncomfortable airplane seats and airplane food, which is never a good thing. our schedule for these days looked like this.
8am- flight from SF to LA (1hr plane ride)
930am- find an ihop and eat not delicious food
11am-3pm- sit/meander around the airport
3pm- flight from LA to Taipei (15hr plane ride)
9pm (Taipei time)- flight from Taipei to Bangkok (5hr plane ride)
2am (Bangkok time)- bus to the hotel (45min)
sooo that's an accumulated 21 hrs on a plane, about 6hrs airport time, and 45min driving time. can i just say that that was really exhausting! by the time you get off the plane your feet are swollen from sitting in an upright position for so long. no joke- my shoes barely fit when got to Bangkok. i felt like i was walking on stumps.
the airplane food wasn't as horrible as i say it was. we were on China Air, so it was all Chinese food, of course. just to give you an example, one of the meals was rice porridge ("jook" to us Chinapeople) with a salted egg and dried pork. lucky for me i've eaten this many times in my life but for anybody who hasn't, i'm sure it was effing weird for them.
we got in to Bangkok really early in the a.m. so we met the people we'd be spending our trip with and headed straight to the Eastin Hotel and slept until the next days activities. our hotel was a lot more nice and modern than i anticipated. during the whole trip we had king sized beds which was awesome. i like to sprawl out as much as possible and that's pretty impossible with two people in a queen sized bed at home. if i could have it my way i'd sleep diagonal on the bed. don't ask me why. i have no idea, i just like doing that.
every morning a buffet breakfast was included as part of our package deal. the breakfast at the Eastin was probably the best free-ish hotel breakfast i've ever had. it had a make your own rice porridge station, an omelette station, cereal, american breakfast foods, asian foods, fruit, and a variety of juices including guava. and all of it tasted good too. this was no Holiday Inn free continental breakfast bullshh...
porridge or "jook."
mini chinese donuts that you dip in hot sweet soy milk. one of my favorite chinese foods.
we started our morning roaming around the streets around our hotel. at 10am the hustle and bustle of Bangkok is alive and kicking. cars, motorbikes and tuktuks came speeding from every direction with no caution towards pedestrians. street food carts were lined up along every street and alley way. we saw things from coconut pancakes and soup noodles, to grilled fish and things i couldn't even guess what they were. in Thailand they have dogs like we have stray cats. every single one of them is mangy and affected by some kind of skin disease. it's really upsetting but by Buddhist beliefs, you don't kill animals if you don't have to. there are electric wires lining the streets in massive amounts. you see pictures of their King everywhere. he and the Buddha, are inescapable.
street vendors EVERYWHERE
stray dogs were everywhere. they are often not cared for. it's really sad. look at this one's leg. poor thing.
our group headed to the river to take a boat ride through the canals. hanging out on the streets of Bangkok you wouldn't notice that a lot of the city is made up of water ways in which the locals live along. 60% of Bangkok is made up of the poor and those are the people living along the canals. many of their homes look runned down and dirty. clothes hang outside to dry while kids play in the brown river water. random dogs also inhabit their open homes. canoe type boats flow along the river selling random things and many tour boats speed through the canals. just from the boat we saw our first five or so temples (the first of about a million we'd see throughout the trip). we stopped at a Royal Barge Museum where they were refurbishing old royal boats of some sort. they were really intricate and each one told their own story.
one of many buddhas
the 5 ton gold buddha
the reclining buddha
on trips that you take through a tour company they always take you to places where you can buy things. more often than not the things are marked up and overpriced and they assume tourists will buy in to whatever they say is real or quality. this day they brought us to a tailor. practically every street in Bangkok has at least three tailors offering "custom 3 suits, 3 shirts, 3 ties for $99," which seems like a steal. but what they don't tell you is that what you get for $99 is probably going to be a baby blue polyester suit that might just fall apart on you the second you try putting it on before an important meeting. sometimes the stuff is legit and sometimes it isn't. when tours bring me to places like this i pay little to no attention to what they are trying to sell me and wait patiently until our next activity.
for dinner we were brought to Silom Village where we had individual dinners. the dinner consisted of soup, chicken wrapped in a banana leaf, curry chicken, vegetables, glass noodle eggrolls and rice. dinner was pretty mediocre. through the trip we came to find that the food set up for us through the tour was usually pretty lackluster (except for the hotel buffet breakfasts) because they produce to serve the masses. dessert was pineapple and watermelon. the first of many many encounters with those two fruits. they offer those fruits after every meal all over Thailand. after dinner there was a show. it showcased different traditional Thai dances and their beautifully colored costumes. we saw our first transgenders for the trip in the show too!!
we were left to fend for ourselves until the morning. at 1am, too excited to sleep our first real night in a different country, we roamed the street in search of street food. by this time many of the vendors had left for the night. what was left was what looked like grilled skewers of chicken. i was so excited to eat my first bbq skewer. it looked and smelled delicious. i asked for two and noticed wide eyed glances from the locals. we walked away and took a bite. hmmm.....cartilage, fat and skin....oh and a tiny speck of meat. this must be the throw away part of the chicken. the sauce tastes good but the texture is bizarre. i look down at the other skewer and noticed three little ribs sticking out of a piece. small ribs. like three thin fork prongs. i think to myself "that can't be chicken. chickens don't have ribs that small. wait! do chickens even have ribs? when i cut a breast off the chicken i don't ever notice ribs. crap. chickens have ribs, right? please? if chickens have ribs then little birds have ribs. if little birds have ribs then i could potentially be eating a little bird, right? there's no way i just ate a rat is there?" i didn't finish any more of the skewer. i tossed that thing out. so i looked it up and birds have ribs so i could possibly have eaten a tiny bird. but quite honestly i don't think i did. whether it was a rat or not, who the hell knows. needless to say, i didn't eat any more random skewers off the street after that. all i know is i'm alive. on the way in to the hotel we bought some deep fried grasshoppers from a vendor. we had zero intention of eating them. we just figured it'd be a good picture.
see the ribs poking out from the middle one on the bottom? so gross. please don't be rat.
and i leave you with this!!! grasshoppa!!
to be continued......