After a 21 hour travel day which included crossing the international date line, Emily and I finally landed in Bangkok on February 3rd, 2015. Which means it’s about time I blogged about it right? The flight was not for the faint of heart – although I will say that the adrenaline must have been pumping for the 12 hour one because the one that seemed more brutal was the 7 hour flight from Toyko to Bangkok. We arrived after 11:00 pm. Arriving at night anywhere is disorienting. Arriving there at night when you haven’t slept is even stranger. Even with not being at 100% mental capacity, Emily and I still dodged a crazy taxi driver situation and found a safe option to our rental.
By the time we got there, it was my birthday! But only in Asia because they are so far ahead. I was slightly out of it, I think to the near tears point for whatever reason, so we went literally right to bed. The next morning we were awoken by the worst bird. I have a video for you to listen to of this damn thing. It was legit so annoying.
It was about 6 or 7 am when we gave up on sleep and decided to just shower and get our day started. We found the BTS Skytrain and took it to the central pier where we then took the appropriately named “Tourist Boat” (lame) to the Grand Palace and Wat Arun. The Grand Palace could easily be a whole day trip if you wanted to really see everything there. It is a whole campus of gorgeous buildings and temples. Everything was so ornate – I had never seen so much gold gleaming everywhere. I felt that most of it wouldn’t even translate with my camera and admittedly I didn’t take many photos. I guess that is why I love traveling so much, a picture is pretty, but it doesn’t do it justice to what it looks like in person. This is apparently all I really wrote about the Grand Palace which is funny because we spent hours there. I think I was overwhelmed. There was a lot to look at, it was my birthday, and I was still jet lagged.
We hopped back on the boat and went to Wat Arun where people were working to restore some of the outside of it. I actually thought that was more fascinating than the temple itself. In my journal I call these peeps restorers but then I mention that they are basically artists because of how they are reshaping plaster and breaking glass to get the perfect piece to go in the tiniest of spots to make this temple beautiful again. I can only imagine what this is going to look like when it is gleaming white again. It will definitely be incredible to see. The steps were so steep!!! This also is a trend at all the temples. Don’t worry. You’ll make it. That night we met up with one of Emily’s brides, Mary! She was so cool! She recommended we meet for drinks at this place called Above 11 before heading to dinner. It was a rooftop bar that overlooked all the city lights. It was beautiful!! If you go, I did note the hotel it is on top of so no one gets turned around: it’s on the roof of Fraser Suites. It’s worth. Go. This is also the place where jet lag set in majorly. I remember sitting there listening to Mary and Emily talk and was amazed they were able to even make sentences and I was starting to feel super warbly, like I wasn’t even there. The only thing that kept me awake, literally, is every once and awhile needing to actually respond to a question. It was like an out of body experience for a bit. (Also, I am fully aware that I wear this dress way too much, especially for things that end up on my blog, but I can’t help it, it is my favorite). After drinks and once Mary’s friend Jill got there, we headed to this awesome restaurant called Cabbages and Condoms. I have no idea about the name. Don’t ask. It was a gorgeous restaurant though – if you can call it that. The lamps were pretty, but then you realize they are made of condoms… there was a condom bride and a condom santa and you don’t get a mint or a toothpick at the end of the night, you get a condom. Which is still in my purse and makes me laugh every time I see it. It was delicious food and the restaurant is a favorite among expats.
Then we walked down Soi Cowboy to say we walked down Soi Cowboy before Mary and Jill put us in a cab and sent us on our way. I loved those two – they kept telling us we were doing so good – in terms of staying awake – I loved the encouragement. Somehow we made it!
Also, I should mention that in honor of my 30th birthday, Emily challenged me to take 30 birthday selfies. So…I did. Taking 30 selfies is hard. I don’t know how people do that. I’m missing a few…but…here they are.
A few things to note about Bangkok and just my initial impressions of Asia in general.
1. I’m sorry guys, I really am. But there is no such thing as a good driver in Bangkok which doesn’t help the stereotype much. We witnessed a pretty bad accident and then about 20,000 near misses. Be super careful crossing the street in Asia.
2. Pollution is pretty bad. I am actually thankful we have things like emissions tests and such in the states. This is more obvious when you are on airplanes and you fly above the clouds but then you realize the cloud is just gray pollution and not a real cloud at all.
3. The work mentality is so awesome here. They don’t live to work like I feel like we do in the US. We watched this group of over 100 construction workers from our balcony for two mornings do morning exercises and rubbing the shoulders of the person in front and behind them. I feel like they care. And they get off work and go home. Unlike us, who just continue working until we go to bed.
4. Street Food! This becomes the theme of the rest of the trip!
5. THAI ICED TEA. I must learn to make there.
6. There are no trash cans anywhere and yet there is no trash anywhere either. So strange.
7. There are orderly lines everywhere. They would be appalled at how we get on the metro. There is no mad dashing or cutting people off, there is just an orderly line where the people walk on the train as soon as every leaves the car. There are even orderly lines to get a cab.
8. It’s a busy city BUT WHY IS IT SO QUIET! There are people literally everywhere and I can still hear myself over a low mumble and traffic noises.
9. The best souvenirs are not things you can buy. Take as many real and mental pictures as you can. It will be life changing.
Last note: All photos, aside from the ones Em took of me, are taken with my phone or my Lumix point and shoot. Nothing fancy to make pretty pictures.