Wednesday, January 4, 2012


After our “laziest day ever,” we got up the next morning (Jan 3rd), had more breakfast at the hotel, and started on a journey to Bangkok. Okay, it wasn't that much of a journey. But it involved us getting on one of these pickup trucks that have been outfitted with benches. This German guy who was already on the truck told us what to do. Pretty much everyone on the truck was going to the bus terminal so finding the stop was not a problem. A couple of foreigners on the truck didn't pay and refused to pay when the driver came running after them. I felt like I should have just gotten out a 20 Baht note (<$1 USD) and gave it to the driver. It's seriously small change to us but it means half a meal or more to the driver. It's so sad that people do this.

The bus ride took less than 2 hours due to the lack of traffic. Mahalia and I talked a lot on the bus. Hopefully we didn't annoy the other passengers too much. After getting to Bangkok at around 11am, we got on the skytrain (BTS) and found the stop that our next hotel is in. It was super easy to find the hotel because there were signs pointing to the place. This is probably the first time I am staying at a hotel with its name printed on the official exit signs.

The hotel was amazing, to say the least. Both of us went to the check-in counter even though the booking was only for one person. The lady asked me if I wanted a smoking or non-smoking room and it turned out that the only non-smoking rooms left had twin beds. Couldn't be more prefect. The hotel is also party a serviced apartment so it was furnished with basic utensils, microwave, hot water heater, lots of closet space, etc. There were also very large windows covering an entire wall of the room. I really like having a place with lots of sunlight. Not a bad view of the night scenery either. Anyway, all the furniture matched very well and most of the closets and such are built in. I think the whole space was around 300-350 sq. ft. I think I'm definitely going to upgrade myself to such a space after my current contract ends.

Mahalia left to meet up with Oat to pay visits to some people. I hung out at the hotel for a bit trying to decide what I wanted to do. I walked around the pool area and nearly gave up on the city thing in order to make use of the nice facilities. It's too bad that I didn't bring running shorts. Otherwise, I would have used the gym as well. Anyway, I took the subway to one end and was planning to walk through Chinatown to get to the old part of the city. On my map, there is a shopping street marked inside Chinatown so I thought that would be a good choice. Unfortunately, after visiting a temple, I could not find the shopping street and ended up wandering around this very quiet part of town with mostly hardware shops. I saw some foreigners from time to time but the local people thought I was local as well. Anyway, I finally found the street after much circling but by then I was too tired and sweaty. I went back to the hotel to shower and rest instead. 

This ended up to be a good choice as M+O wanted to come back to the hotel as well to rest. So I let them in and we got a chance to rest and such before meeting Oat's high school friends for dinner. Dinner was really good. The food was very tasty. Again, would not have been able to find such a restaurant on my own. We sat around after finishing to talk about some logistics for M+O+friends' upcoming hiking trip into the dense jungle. 

My last day in Bangkok consisted of mostly wandering around. We checked out of the hotel and went to meet up with one of my Stanford friends (A+W) who was also in Bangkok for vacation. We managed to all meet up as soon as we got off the tuk tuk. The plan was to explore the Grand Palace but M had already been and they were charging 400 Baht per foreigner. Thai people can go free. I think I could have passed for a Thai person but in the end, we decided to do a ferry tour of the river instead. We rode the express boat service south and ended up at the main pier and wandered around that area for a while. After being in HK for a few months, I find it really weird to be in places where there are not a lot of people. Bangkok seems so quiet compared to HK!

After wandering around a neighborhood with lots of street food and not eating anything, we decided to go to a park. It was super hot though so we just sat around and chatted. I really wanted to try the street food but our stomachs haven't been feeling very well since going to Pattaya. I think we all got food poisoning to various degrees. M and I just had slight diarrhea, which I didn't think was very bad. But I wanted it to get out of my system so I decided to just drink water and not eat anything all day. We'll see what happens tomorrow.

M and I parted ways with A+W after eating ice cream at the park. A+W will be in Hong Kong this weekend so I will see them again. M and I went back to the Terminal 21 mall and tried to get her an iPhone case. But these things don't seem as popular as in HK and they were selling for US prices. So we ended up not getting an iPhone case. We got back to the hotel and the driver to take us to the airport had already arrived. The traffic wasn't bad and we got to the airport with plenty of time to spare. M called O's dad to pick her up from the airport and we parted ways.

It was a good trip overall. I think I managed to do the least amount of sightseeing possible but did a lot of relaxing, which is good. I've been feeling like I need a break from work since it's such an intense environment all the time. It was good to just relax and not have to stress out about anything.

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