Thursday, June 16, 2011

Thailand pt 1

This is a very heavy photo post but I am excited to share some more of my photography with you. Photography seems to be bubbling to the top as a thing I love and can't live with out. Exciting!

Thailand! I decided to skip the many shots of Potsch and I on the plane and killing time in the Taipei airport. I figured the effect would be the same as telling you we traveled for 24 hours! Thank god for the iPad. We flew EVA airlines and I highly recommend them for all your Asian travels. Great seats. Great food. Tons of current movies. It made sitting in your seat for 22 hours pretty great.

We arrived in Bangkok around 2pm. From the start we decided to not take the easy way. We found a map and asked around and jumped on the metro with a transfer to the Skytrain. It was awesome!! Crazy hot. Like sweaty sweaty sticky hot. I laughed at myself many times when I would open my suitcase to see I had packed my makeup. There is no use for that in this weather. Just pack your mascara and make sure it is water proof. The trains and subways in Bangkok are super clean and easy to figure out. We became locals in no time except for the fact that we were obviously Farangs ( fa-longs) this basically means foreigner or white person. You'll hear Thais yell this word to each other as you walk down the street and through the markets. It means "get your act together. You're about to quadruple your prices.". A lot of Asian cultures live by the art of negotiation. You are welcome to pay full price but they really are not expecting you to accept their first offer. It is not a personal thing either. You just smile and say a super low price. They come back with a still too high price. You both laugh and eventually you will have paid a reasonable price and gained a friend. It is kind of awesome. And definitely takes some practice.

We stayed at Suk11, a hotel/hostel in the Sukhumvit area which is the south east side of the main city. It's a great part of town and we found it really easy to get around from there. Suk11 cost about $30 a night and came with a delicious breakfast. WE LOVED SUK11!!!! the decor makes you think you are in a small jungle village completely away from the main city. It is a walk building which in the heat can be rough but once you get to you floor you are so distracted by the lengths they have gone to make you feel like you are walking along a boardwalk over water with fish to get to your room that you don't notice. The rooms ain't much but they have A/C or aircon as the thais say and a toilet. What more could you need.

In our jet lag state of our first day potsch and I fell for the tuk tuk trick. what is the tuk tuk trick? Well, I'll tell you so you won't have to go through it. The second a Farang takes to the street the tuk tuk drives feel it. It's in their bones, I swear. They take turns racing up to you or calling to you from across the street and leisurely sauntering to you, this option usually happens at the end of the day. "hey hey. Where you from? Where you wanna go? I take you. 20 baht half hour" sounds like a deal you tell yourself in your dizzy travel mind. "ok!". Then you get in and he never tales you to see anything interesting but instead you are forced to go into tailor shops and "just look" so your drive, ours was named jep jep, no joke, can get a coupon for gas. After the tailor you are taken to a temple. The most unimpressive nearly abandoned temple of all of Bangkok. There you casually meet an older man who just happens to be checking out the temple at the same time you are. He is very helpful and takes you straight the back where he then starts talking about shopping and that he knows a shop that has a sale only one day of the year and we are so lucky cause that day is today. Ah-ha! The gig is up. We are stuck in a con. Old man tells jep jep to takes up straight to one day only sale and we are off. We tell jep jep nicely at first we want to go home now. No more. He says no. We get firm a few times and the jep jep gets a little testy and nearly kills us in traffic. I notice a smile on his face in the rear view window. I raise my eye brow and smile back. He tells me I am clever. I take the compliment. He drops us off. We never ride a tuk tuk again.

Jep Jep.

Before we realized we were in a tuktuk vortex

Soi 11 the street our hotel was on. That motorcycle is a taxi. I never got a great shot but most of the time they would have a lady sitting sideways and holding the should of the rider while they would be texting. We have no idea how they did not die everyday. There are no rel traffic rules that you can make out and yet it works.

Our breakfast at Suk11. The sweetest fresh fruit we ever had. The orange looking spread on my toast is called Sang-Khaya. It is like a custard jam made with Coconut milk, strong tea, wheat flour, corn flour, sugar, egg and salt. It was amazing!!!! They would also have these tiny glasses with different stuff everyday. Red beans with sweet milk. Sticky rice with Taro. They were always yummy.

This is the huge temple connected to the Royal Palace. The entire thing is covered in mosaic tiles. Overwhelming how detailed and tiny every surface was.

prayer candles

Typical honeymoon pic. I also have ones where I am standing chatting with a statue.

This was a very long day of walking and looking. We had our Lonely Planet book with us and it never let us down. When we got hungry for a snack or a meal we would flip it open and it would lead us to something delicious without fail. Like this, Chow Guay. Black jelly (a little denser than jello) crushed ice and brown sugar. On a crazy hot day like this was we could not have had a better snack.

The food markets are everywhere. The cars drive by and the bus blow exhaust everywhere and they just keep cooking and setting food out. Bangkok is a town of smells. There are so many cars and still puddles of stuff and food and incense. It can be amazing and sometimes overwhelming. Add the heat and then the monsoon rains too. Oh, boy!

We saw a lot of temples which means a lot of Buddhas. And a lot of gold! This shot of Potsch makes me giggle so much.

This is the reclining Buddha. So impressive. Our favorite. His feet are covered in mother of pearl inlay. Mind blowing.

A sign at temples. Made us laugh so hard. I can't tell if ladies need to cover their legs or if the temple does not want any strippers of any kind. You tell me.

Wat Arun. The name is so much longer but no one calls it anything but Wat Arun. You have to tak a ferry over to this one. We got there just in time before closing. Our favorite temple.

Those stairs are so steep. Literally right on top of each other. Getting up scary. Realizing you have to take the same way down...terrifying.

But we made it all the way up and all the way down.

If there is a monk around someone is taking a photo of him.

Traveling down the river in a big water taxi. Living by the water does not seem to be the same thing as living by the beach in Malibu.

We finished off almost every night in Bagkok at Cheap Charlie's. It was cheap. And it was good. Just down the road from our hotel and packed to the chain with Farangs. I say chain because when the place was open they just popped up an awning, put out some chairs and laid a chain on the ground with a sign that read "If you're out of the chain you are out of the bar." Genius.

More thailand to come.


Anonymous said...

I loved this post. You're a good writer

Cathy @ ShowFoodChef said...

You're a great writer and the pictures are Travel Magazine moving and gorgeous. I think the statement "If there's a monk around, someone is taking a picture of him" should be a life message or metaphor some how. My face has gone from smiling to holding tears. Loved this post.


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