sun and rain (days 5, 6, and 7)

Posted by lena on June 23rd, 2007 filed in Thailand

I am sitting at an internet cafe that is part of my new hotel watching the rain pour down outside.  I knew that this is supposed to be the rainy season, but so far Adam and I have been lucky so this rainstorm is pretty specular.  Its not like rain in Seattle where the gray skies drop a few drops whenever they feel like it.  This is more like a fury of wind, rain, and lightning.  Its exciting!

On Thursday afternoon after leaving the internet cafe, Adam and I decided to walk to the Golden Mount.  It is a temple that was built directly into a mountain.  The climb, while not tiring under Seattle conditions, was painful with the hot humid weather.  Several people laughed at the sweat pouring off of us by the time we reached the top.  The temple provided some of the best views of the city and while the height made me a bit queezy, the views were worth it.  We fended off the tuk tuk and taxi advances and walked back to the hotel.

Friday – Day 6

Friday morning, in a fit of idealism, we decided that we could walk the three miles from our hotel to Lumphani Park stopping along the way to visit the thieves market in Chinatown and the train station to book our travel to the islands.   There were three pitfalls with this idea: 1) The roads 2) The heat and 3) The city.  Lets start at the end and work our way backwards.  THE CITY: Bangkok is not laid out on a gird.  The roads twist and turn whenever they feel like it and even if all you have to do is follow one road to get to your destination, you will more than likely end up at the other end of the city because it is IMPOSSIBLE to follow a road.  THE HEAT: I know you’ve heard me complain about the heat already, so I’ll keep it brief.  Adam and I decided that the amount of time walking in Bangkok is much like the amount of money it takes to buy something in Bangkok.  For example, because of the heat, walking 3 miles in Seattle is equivalent to walking 1 mile in Bangkok.  So, our 3 mile jaunt in Bangkok is really more like walking a 9 mile marathon in Seattle.  Not pleasant.  THE ROADS: As far as I can tell, the roads in Bangkok are much like the roads in Italy.  Drive fast and hard and lanes are optional.  Ignore pedestrians.  If they were stupid enough to walk in front of your car, they deserve to be hit.  If a traffic light is within view when it changes red, it is fine to run it.  And finally, motorcycles don’t follow any laws and aim for pedestrians.  The combination of these three factors made our walk difficult to say the least.  At one point, I thought I was going to die of heat stroke when out of the abyss there arose a building that strongly resembled Starbucks complete with air conditioning and starbucks prices (really outrageous for Thailand).  I bought a coffee and sat inside for almost and hour trying to cool off.  We made it to the Thieves market only to discover that they only sold jewelry, toys, and auto parts – not what we were looking for.  We did meet an incredible Thai man who stopped and talked to us for 20 minutes on the side of the road as sweat pooled in my shoes.  He had traveled the world and told us all about his adventures. The Thai people have never ceased to amaze me with their friendliness.  We walked another half mile to the train station where we were immediately greeted by a woman who asked us where we were going and led us to an air conditioned office.  The woman inside informed us that because the full moon party is happening next week (a giant party on the island next to ours), all transportation was booked.  She didn’t give up on us, though.  She called company after company until she was able to book us on a bus (same price – about $30 each – shorter trip).  She asked about our travels and gave us tips on things to do in Koh Samui.  I wanted to cry at how absolutely wonderful she was.  We took a taxi back to our hotel and played chess for the rest of the afternoon.  Feeling adventuresome, we made our way back to Khal San road where I got hair extensions – I feel very hippie, but the breeze on my scalp is so so so nice.

Saturday – Day 7

We woke up this morning and checked out of our hotel – the noise from the road kept us up most of the night.  We found a nice place around the corner twice the size for only 100 Baht more (about $3) and its quiet!  Having learned from our mistake yesterday, we decided to take a tuk tuk to the JJ weekend market rather than walk.  However, when we approached a tuk tuk driver, he pointed us to the bus stop.  Being the flexible travelers that we are, we asked/mined someone what bus to take to get to the market and jumped on the bus she pointed to.  I couldn’t help compare my experience on the Thai bus with my latest experience on a Seattle bus on the way to the airport.  In Seattle, the driver grunted when we got on board and as we were leaving, she thrust her arm in front of a man trying to get off.  “Aren’t you forgetting something?” The poor man looked utterly confused as did everyone waiting behind him to exit.  The driver continued, “Don’t you want to tell me something?” Again blank stare. She heaved an overly dramatic sigh and finished, “you have to tell me if you want to get your bike off the front of the bus.” He still looked confused but nodded and said that he would be getting his bike.  Now, when we got on the Thai bus, we obviously didn’t know what we were doing.  A woman in uniform politely smiled and motioned to a seat.  We sat.  She shock her money box and said something in Thai with a smile.  I handed her a wad of money.  She handed most of it back and gave me two tickets.  I thanked her in Thai and she helped me with my pronunciation – in a very friendly way.  That never would have happened in the states.  JJ market was enormous.  It was a maze of stalls selling everything you could imagine from jewelery, handcrafted items, and clothing, to food, painting, and sculptures.  Some stalls had fans running – we tried to linger next to these as much as possible.  I felt like I spent a ton of money (1200 Baht) but then I realized it was only about $36.  I got lots of gifts, clothing, and frozen drinks whenever possible.  Now to try to fit it all in my suitcase.  Our bus trip back was not as successful.  We got off at the wrong stop and had to walk a bit (totally lost) before we found our hotel.

Its almost dinnertime.  I think I’m going to brave the rain and find some delicious Thai food.  I hope everyone is doing well. Send me an e-mail if you want to talk.

One Response to “sun and rain (days 5, 6, and 7)”

  1. bekah Says:

    Cool! I want to see your hair extensions!

    Glad to hear you guys are having an awesome adventure.

    BTW, there is no way to look at previous posts very easily. I wonder if a preference is missing or something. It’s no big deal, but it’s hard to find older posts on your blag.