Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Bangkok Bustles

Bangkok Bustles

Having already spent a full day exploring the Great Wall, we were all a little tired by the time our flight from Beijing arrived in Bangkok.  We jumped in a taxi and after a little haggling with the driver over him not wanting to turn on his meter (apparently a typical problem that you have to be aware of in Bangkok), we headed to our hotel.  We drove through some pretty interesting looking areas before arriving at the place we had booked which was in a “quiet” area of the city. Quiet being a very relative term in Bangkok as Bangkok is far from quiet.  The place was certainly not palacious but it seemed clean and there was lots of space. 

Immunizations & Time at the Mall”

The next morning we got up and went for a swim in the lovely 25 meter pool at the hotel.  After a tasty breakfast and even tastier fruit shakes we headed to the Bangkok Nursing Hospital where we had previously made arrangements to get a few immunizations that were a fraction of the price that they would have been in Victoria.   The hospital was more like a resort.  It obviously caters to foreigners who come to Thailand because of medical tourism. We received astonishingly good treatment and left feeling incredibly positive about one of our first experiences in Thailand.   It did not take us a long time to recognize that Thailand would be a much easier place to travel in than China.  Lots of people speak English and Western tourists seemed to be everywhere. 

Fearon gets the first poke.

With all we did in China, we wanted to take a break from serious sight seeing and so rather than more history we opted to visit one of the huge shopping complexes that the city is famous for.  The first stop once we got there, McDonalds!  Even though we seldom chow down on Big Macs or burgers at home, it was a comfort for the kids to have something familiar.  Fearon and Eric enjoyed the usual McDonald’s fair while Rob and I had an amazingly inexpensive and delicious lunch at a Japanese restaurant next door.  We wandered around the mall and although it was really cool to see all of the stalls full of pirated things, we got a little tired of how busy it was.   Upstairs was a movie theater and so we took in a movie, but not before standing to Thailand’s version of God (or maybe Budha), Save the King, accompanied by a video of the Kings life.  After the movie and another delicious meal we headed back to the hotel.

The next day we decided to change accommodations as where we were staying was a bit too far from anything we wanted to really see.  We got a cab to an area close to  Khao Son Road,    the road famous as a backpackers haven and close to the Grand Palace and other historical sites.  The boys and Rob found somewhere to sit with our bags while I wandered off to find us a place to stay.  It took more time than any of us wanted to spend for me to find a place that we would all be comfortable in and I was quickly discovering that it was going to be tougher than we had anticipated to stick to our original budget and still be within our comfort zone.  

We checked into a hotel right on the riverfront and ventured out to see the neighborhood.  It was pretty cool.  Lots of narrow streets full of stalls selling all sorts of things.  There were lots of places to get various kinds of massage and there was one that we couldn’t resist, the fish spa.  Fearon, Eric and Rob all plunged their feet into a large tank full of little fish that munch on your feet and legs.  Yes, that’s right, they chose to have fish dine on their lower limbs.  It is supposed to be good for you.  The verdict was that although they felt good immediately afterward, the effect was short lived.  

The fish found a lot to munch on with these feet in the water - guess who? 

The hotel pool added a little calm to the crazy city.

We wandered around, had another amazing Thai meal and then headed back to the hotel for a swim, a little R&R and some school work.  Later in the evening we went out again and the place was vibrating even more than it had been earlier.  It was a zoo.  You really do just have to cross your fingers and say a little prayer simply to get yourself across the street.  The kids insisted on MacDonald’s once more and since we knew that most often during the trip they wouldn’t have that choice, we gave in without a struggle.  (Rob and I however, found more amazing Thai food.)  It was another full day.
Khao Son Road

Hanging out at McDonalds - a little cozier than the typical McD's in Canada

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