9 Jan

Stefanie posing with a guard at the Grand Palace, Thailand. They look like a couple. hehe

It’s been two days since arriving in Bangkok, but Stefanie and I are still jet legged. For everyone back home, we are exactly 12 hours ahead of you. So, when I tell my boyfriend I’ll call him in the morning, I actually mean at night. A little confusing – but we are getting the hang of it.

The 22 hour flight was not as horrible as I imagined. We flew Air Canada and it was fairly comfortable – for once! We had individual tv consoles to watch movies, tons of food and some leg room. We had a connection with Air China in Beijing and then flew the remained 5 hours. The flight was full of Chinese businessmen and just like I heard, they all started their synchronized stretches half-way through the flight. So adorable.

Once we got to the airport, we jumped into a taxi with the nicest Thai man, but I was so out of it, I could barely hold a conversation. His entire dashboard was covered in Asian trinkets and stickers and it smelt like a bubble tea shop and coconut rice. I’m not joking. I loved it. I took a photo and will post soon. We finally made it to the hostel by 2 am – checked in and then passed out. It was over 27.5 hours of door-to-door travel time. Yikes.

Bangkok is nothing like I expected it to be. I predicted chaos, tons of people, dirty, loud, etc. And sure, it’s loud and busy, but there is a calm about the city. The smells are great (yum, street food!) and the people are so friendly and smile at you. Even when you are bargaining for some trinket in the market, it isn’t a power struggle like in South America. It’s respectful, friendly and casual.

The food is also amazing. Street vendors are selling pad thai and other yummy dishes for less than a dollar! Although, today Stefanie and I did notice some creepy critters on a table only after eating our food. haha – but oh well. It was tasty, so I’m cool with it.

After only two days, I really enjoy Bangkok. For one, the shopping is great and inexpensive. We went to the Chatuchak Weekend Market yesterday, which is apparently the mother of all markets. On the way there, we met this Japanese girl who had been living in Thailand for the last 4 years. She told us how to take the sky train and was going to the weekend market as well, so she hung out with us all morning. She was so strange and funny. She bought us street popsicles and took us to a butterfly garden and a nearby park. She kept wanting us to take photos, too. We have a great group photo where we are all doing peace signs – so typical! Stefanie and I wanted to make it to the Grand Palace that afternoon and so we said our goodbyes to Aki and exchanged Facebook details. What a nice gal.

By the time we reached the hostel, the Grand Palace was closed for the day. Instead, we had dinner at a restaurant in Siam Square for about $3, freshened up at the hostel and then went to the Patong area – famous for sex shows and night markets. As we perused fake Tiffany jewellery and cheap tank tops, men enticed us to see Ping Pong shows or other seedy interactions. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, Google it! We ignored their offers and kept moving. I couldn’t help but notice all the older, white guys ready to bust out their cash for young Thai prostitutes, donkey shows or lady boys (cross-dressers/transsexuals). Despite the environment, I felt super safe. I mean there were families with young blond children shopping next to me.

This morning, Stefanie and I woke up early and toured the Grand Palace and the Emerald Buddha temple. The Emerald Buddha is the most revered Buddha in Thailand and it was amazing small! You’d think it’d be huge, but nope – it’s just perched on top of a gigantic, gold throne shrine. We sat barefoot, Buddhist-style and payed our respects like all the others before exploring the rest of the complex. Thai architecture is so beautiful. It’s so colourful and vibrant. Everything is tiled with such precision and detail. I really enjoyed the tour, but the heat was almost intolerable, especially when you have to wear long pants or skirts and have covered shoulders. Stefanie even had to rent a wrap skirt over her leggings because they were too ‘sexy’. Note to people visiting the Temples: Do NOT buy the sarongs outside the Grand Palace. They will lend you one for free once you pay your admission.

We saw plenty of Monks today. As women, we cannot sit near a Monk (say on a bus or boat) nor touch one. It is also disrespectful to take photos. I saw both old and young Monks – even one with a DSLR camera. Strange! I thought they were suppose to get rid of all worldly possessions?

Anyways, tomorrow Stefanie and I are leaving for some Southern Thai beaches. We plan to get our PADI dive certificates in Koh Tao. It should take  4 days and then we’d like to experience the infamous Full Moon Party in Koh Phangan. I’ll update soon.


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