This weekend was great! On Friday night we went to a staff party at the Royal Orchid Sheraton downtown Bangkok, right along the Chao Phraya River. We took a ‘water taxi’ full of ISB staff to the party. One big difference between Thailand and Canada is that it is perfectly acceptable to drink alcohol in public places, such as: on mall steps, on buses and on boats (just to name a few). Needless to say, we had a few beers on the boat!
My friend Kari (who is from Colorado and an absolute blast.. definitely one of the funniest people I have ever met) took this picture of me hanging out on the front of the boat. Notice how gross the river water is.. I don’t think anyone could pay me enough money to go for a swim in there.
We were on the boat for so long that the sun started to set. This was perfect because we got to see the Grand Palace lit up at night and a glimpse of the city that never sleeps.
The venue was stunning and reminded me of a fancy pants wedding. Our wine glasses were bottomless, the food was unreal, and the live music was even good! The band played everything from LMFAO to Lady Antebellum. Which reminds me, in big box stores I keep hearing country music. It’s beyond bizarre to hear Jason Aldean in Bangkok, yet comforting at the same time.
Kari, Katie and I stayed in a hotel close to the Sheraton Friday night, which was easier than making the hour long trek back to Nichada. We also wanted to spend Saturday downtown exploring Bangkok. Our hotel was called “Win Long Place,” it was fairly nice and cheap.. not like staying at the Hilton or anything, but it did the trick. I had my own room and the internet connection was great so I was able to Skype with Matt for a while which was really nice!
In the morning we took a taxi to meet another teacher from ISB and a friend of hers for breaky. It was hilarious because when we walked into the restaurant I heard someone calling my name.. I couldn’t believe it when I saw my friend Kelsey and some of her colleagues! It worked out perfectly because we had planned to meet up later in the day anyway! What a SMALL world! For breakfast I had classic “American Pancakes” with butter, bacon and maple syrup. They were UNREAL! Sorry mom, but they were hands down the best pancakes I’ve ever had!
Kelsey gave Kari and I the low down on getting around in Bangkok. She showed us how to buy passes for the BTS (sky train) and tokens the MRT (subway). It is such a cheap and quick way to travel in a city that is constantly backed up with traffic.. and the air conditioning was refreshing!
We got off at Lumpini Station and spent a few hours exploring Lumpini Park. The park is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. There are paved pathways, a man-made lake where you can rent peddle boats and lots of green space (similar to a park in Toronto). However, there is also a public library, an open concept gym with jacked Thai men working out, people running (mostly Thai men), random exercise equipment scattered throughout the park free for anyone to use, a food court (which was closed when we were there), tables and chairs shaded by large umbrellas, and monstrous lizards swimming in the water.
There was a wonderful Thai woman at the library who directed us to Lumpinin Stadium where Muay Thai boxing matches are held. Muay Thai in Bangkok is like the Toronto Maple Leafs in Toronto, everyone is into it. We had our first Tuk-Tuk riding experience, which was so cool! Kelsey, Kari and I squeezed in together, held on for dear life, and laughed when the entire machine lit up at the touch of the breaks.
Although we had full intentions of watching a boxing match, it was 2000 THB for 20 minutes (about 66$), so instead we decided to get some yummy food and shelter from the rain. We huddled together under a canopy outside of the stadium and ordered my first traditional Thai street food dish. I didn’t know how to say what I wanted in Thai, so I just pointed to what someone else was eating, always a good strategy when you don’t know the language.
It was very, very tasty. The thing about Thai food is every bite is a new surprise. This was a good spot to get out of the rain, warm up, and start planning next weekend’s adventure to Ko Samet!