August 23, 2008
Great day today!
Went on Thamassat’s (university I am studying at, aka TU) trip to Ayutthaya, the ancient city. I was very impressed at how well organized the entire trip was (What, TU organized?!?)
Before I describe the trip, let me take a step backwards to yesterday:
Friday, August 22
Took the 15 minute trek to Tops, a supermarket, to get pb, jelly and bread to make some good old fashioned pb & j sandwhiches. Now why would I do that when I have tons of adventurous, and amazing food to eat right outside my doorstep? Two words: Bangkok Belly. Google it. Hence why I also did not leave my apartment for the entire rest of the day. Literally, I didn’t see another human being all day, after arriving home from the market. My stomach hurt so bad, all I could do was lay in bed all day and watch an entire season of my favorite t.v. show on dvd. Not the worst way to spend a day….adventure!!
Back to Saturday’s Ayutthaya tour.
All students were supposed to meet at TU at 6:30 a.m. and leave at 7 a.m. TU is about a 30 minute walk + 3 minute ferry away from my apartment. Therefore, I set my alarm for 6 a.m. Naturally, it doesn’t go off/ I dont hear it. Amin, another exchange student, calls me at 6:51 am and asks where I am. Said call wakes me up. I quickly exclaim “I’m on my way, practically there!” and rush around my apartment, brush my teeth, hop into some clothes, grab my bag, and head out the door. I grab a cab on my way out, as TU calls me asking where I am, and I beg them not to leave me (“You no come?” “Nono, I’m coming, I’m on my way, I’m almost there!!” “Okay, but no, you no come? You cant come?” I dont know if that is a question or statement, but I reassure her I am on my way, and not to leave me).
I get in the cab, point to my watch and throw my hand out towards the street, indicating that this cab needs to put the pedal to the medal. He did….he wasn’t messing around. I leave my apartment at about 6:58 a.m. and arrive at school at 7:07, 15 minutes after Amin calls me. Good thing, because as I tried to call Amit while en route, to ensure the group hasn’t left me, I realized my phone ran out of credit; icing on the cake, as I obviously didn’t have time to stop and put more baht (Thai currency) on it. Great start to the day.
I get on the bus, and immediately am offered water and some odd crab sandwhich…nice service. I throw my ipod in and relax for an hour before we reach our first destination, the Bang Pa-In, aka “Summer Palace” for the royal family. It was a really beautiful palace, etc etc…. after that we went to Ayutthaya, which is the ancient capital of Thailand, and full of ruins.
We next pay respect at Wat Mahatad and Wat Phasrisanphet …2 pretty bumpin temples. I see an enormous golden Buddha and have a sudden urge to climb to the top of it, but am told I will go to jail and maybe get put to death if I do that. I nix the idea.
Next is the best part; we board the Grand Pearl Cruise at Wat Chondlom Pier and enjoy a magnificent oriental and Western Style lunch buffet…. I finally got to eat bread and not just rice! Amazing.
The cruise was absolutely beautiful and so much fun, although I had no idea what sights we were seeing. I do however remember the guide pointing out Bangkok Hilton. I asked, “Oh, is that the hotel in Bangkok?” Turns out it is one of the most horrific jails in the world…the inmates must eat roaches to stay alive, since all they are served is rice every day. I was just slightly off in my assumption.
After being served dessert and coffee, we get dropped off at the night bazaar to do some shopping! Oh wait, it is 4:30 pm and the night bazaar doesnt open until 7pm. Hmm… what to do? Have a beer of course (well, banana shake for me…. so good, I think all the beer drinkers were actually quite jealous of my beverage of choice). At 6, we sit down for this incredible dinner, family style. The waiters just kept bringing us a plethora of new dishes, until we were all stuffed! But not to stuffed for watermelon, pineapple and dragon fruit dessert….love Thai desserts! At 7, we proceed to walk around the night bazaar and I saw the entire seasons of my favorite tv show on sale for 400 baht (less than $15)…. very exciting.
Next is the puppet show….a very weird and cool new experience. It was a puppet performance telling the story of “The Birth of Ganesha”….it was awarded the first prize at the World Festival of Puppet Art in Prague, twice! The puppets fought and there were cool special effects and I didn’t understand anything they were saying, as it was in Thai. An interesting experience.
Another great day in Bangkok; time for bed to get ready for tomorrow: the weekend market + watching Mama Mia with the Swedes (perfect).