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Exhausted in Bangkok

semi-overcast 30 °C

Just after three a.m., our lovely bus pulled onto 'Khao San Road' or the street far enough from it to confuse people into taking tuktuk rides at irrational prices. I turned down a cab offering a 300 baht fare telling him I used to live in Bangkok and knew it wasn't fair. A few other tourists came to ask us for directions after that and the cab driver wanted nothing to do with me.

We wandered the dead streets in search of actual Khao San until we gave up and flagged down a cab who would take us there on the meter. The price came out to 70 baht, or 80 since we didn't have the right change and he was nice enough not to scam us.

We followed the directions to our hostel and then called Jay. She wasn't pleased, saying the bus companies always let people off at crazy hours, but she was understanding and let us have the dorm beds a night early without charge. We'd have enough costs in Myanmar in a few weeks, she'd said.

Around six, after not being able to sleep in the sticky hot dorm, I texted our Thai friend Lift, then called to see if we were still meeting up around eight to explore Bangkok. Even when we did leave around 8:30, our dorm mates were still passed out cold.

We took the Bangkok Sky Train (BTS) to Victory Monument and soon after met up with Lift who recognized us right away. He was very friendly and helped us catch a bus to Koh Kret, even paying our way much to our protest. The bus was pretty full so we all sat apart until the very end. Koh Kret was in island in the Chao Phrya River in Nanthaburi province, where he worked with people with cancer at a clinic. He also had training in herbal medicine.

The island, reached by ferry, had markets and a temple. It glittered in the sun. Lift found my sarcastic observations of the faux waterfall entertaining. While we walked through the market, Lift bought us treats like popsicles made from Big Cola, and a bamboo wrapped shrimp dish Ryan wasn't big on and I couldn't try. We all got little toffee treats too.

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We walked around the island to a garden area with only a few flowers in bloom. Again, he bought us a herbal drink with ice.

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We also visited a kiln and pottery area where people could made their own creations with the help of a mentor. The firing took ten days to complete. The island, inhabited by mainly Mon people, was known for their clay pots and pottery. They had some pumpkin themed ones as well.

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People whizzed by on bicycles, The whole walk took about six kilometers and we picked up more food, a mango and a Thai ice tea that came in a handmade clay pot. Lift gave it to me as a gift. He had plenty of questions for us on Canada about our weather, homes, winter driving and marriage ceremonies. We learned more about Thai dowries, weather in Phuket, Southern Thailand where he we originally from and the temples/stupas erected after a person's death.

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Back in the city, we visited Golden Mount, a temple I had missed last time. The climb was a bit hot, but the view from the fountain was quite refreshing. There were statues of Buddha and of a woman wringing her hair. The top where the Golden stupa sat atop a white square base also had a nice view of the city, although Bangkok was smoggier than I'd remembered.

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Lift showed us the other temples we'd be visiting including Wat Arun. On the way, we rang some of the large bells that surrounded the temple to announce our presence. Flags hung from the sides of the stupa all the way to the top and statues sat both outside and in. Lift told us it was probably alright to take photos inside, just the really official ones like Grand Palace were off limits inside. Gold was everywhere.

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Next we walked to the Giant Swing but didn't go inside the temple as Lift recommended visiting others instead.

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Along the way stopped us. "Look at the animal," he said. Ryan found it endlessly entertaining to hear all the syllables in animal enunciated. It was a medium monitor lizard hanging out by the drainage canals.

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We passed a popular Thai restaurant just packed with people. We kept walking toward the river, my head pounding and stomach growling. I had to stop and rest while Lift ran off to get fruit for us.

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We ventured into Khao San road at my request to find veggie friendly food. It was Lift's first and likely last visit. He found it a bit ridiculous, overpriced and there were no actual Thai people, Nepali, Indian and Burmese, sure, but few Thais. We ate at one of the cheaper places. I tried a tasty basil fried rice. Ryan and Lift thought their meat dishes were just alright. After we went looking for a Cheap Lonely Planet book, but all the stall were closed. Lift took off and we did too in a cab soon after.

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The roads were jammed and our cab driver tried to take us to a closer BTS station to cut out some of the wait. My bladder was hurting so we stopped the metre at an even amount and took off to find a gas station.

Afterward, we walked about an hour looking for the BTS. There were a few English signs around, but the neighbourhood was mainly Thai with street restaurants, bars and malls here and there. Instead of signs we decided to follow actual rail in the sky to Thonburi station. By the time we found it, we only had to ride one stop and we were near our guesthouse. At least the ride had been an air conditioned relief from the heat. Quite the adventure all because of my small bladder and bad traffic.

Back at the guesthouse, we checked in officially and paid Joy. There were a ton of male backpackers in the lobby sitting around drinking with her, but we were too beat to join them. When we got back to the dorm, people were still sleeping, even at eight pm. We just weren't used to being dorm people and had to unsuccessfully sneak around quietly to get ready for bed. We managed to get much needed showers in the end.

Posted by Sarah.M 21:23 Archived in Thailand Tagged taxi temple bangkok lizard pottery scam thai_food khao_san_road golden_mount koh_kret Comments (0)

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