Welcome to Asia!

Trip Start Aug 24, 2010
Trip End Sep 01, 2011

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Thursday, January 27, 2011

The day has come!! We've been waiting for the arrival of our friends, Rick and Andrea, for some time now! After two days of trying to find somewhere to stay on Khao San Road, with no luck, we booked them a room at our favourite Marco Polo!

Not only, are Rick and Andrea coming….but it’s also Andrea’s birthday! So…since we’re in a different country…we made a big sign, welcoming them to Thailand and found some "Happy Birthday" glasses with flashing lights. We told them to just look for the “flashing lights” when they got off the plane and they would find us! Haha.

What a zoo!!! After about a two hour wait at the airport, we finally managed to sneak into the arrival area to await our friends…how the heck are we going to find them in this crowd of thousands??!! Good thing we snuck by the security guards, so we can have a better look. Uh oh…here one comes….we didn’t even have to play the “language barrier” game, because we actually couldn’t understand what he was asking for!! Haha…so eventually, he just waved his hand at us and walked away. We moved off to the side a bit, in case he went to get a friend…lol. We were hiding beside the ATM machines….probably made us look more suspicious! A man, freshly off the plane, used the ATM, grabbed his money, but left his card! We didn’t notice until he was already lost in the crowd and the machine started beeping at us! Not knowing what to do, we grabbed the card, thinking we were doing the guy a favour by getting it before someone else did…but he never came back. So, now we are stuck with some man’s bank card! Another tourist told us that if you enter the wrong pin number, the machine will just take the card and keep it….for safe keeping! If only we knew this the first time! So now…our only option….try to guess this man’s pin, and hope we guess wrong! Haha. Not wanting to draw attention to ourselves, still being in the area we aren’t suppose to be in, we decided to wait until later to worry about the now “stolen” bank card. Jay pocketed it and we continued to watch for Rick and Andrea.

We didn’t want to miss them, so we put on our disguise….and five minutes later, got kicked out of the arrivals area!! Crap!! Now we are in a crowd of thousands, trying to see over everyone, not realizing that they actually have t.v. screens for this purpose…lol. But thank goodness for the embarrassing flashing lights….Andrea spotted us right away…no issues! After a brief greeting and embarrassing both ourselves and our friends, we told them about the “stolen” bank card that we now had to deal with! Let the adventure begin!! Welcome to Thailand!

The next day, we decided to show them Thailand….we took them straight to Chatachuk Market! The largest, craziest market I have ever been too! It was there, that we finally remembered about the bank card….so, on camera, at a busy market, we tried to guess the man’s “wrong” pin number….after three tries, the machine finally took the card…Phew! Nothing like being in a foreign country, trying to do the right thing, but ending up being in possession of a “stolen” bank card!

I thought the best introduction to Asia is the food…so we quickly introduced Rick to the beer and Andrea to the Mango and Sticky Rice…mmmm….delicious! We thought it wise to stay away from the homemade popsicles…even though the heat made them tempting…and just cringed at the “after-effects” I’m sure some of the other popsicle eating tourists would experience.

It was an extremely HOT day and the newbies were a bit jet-lagged, so we decided to rest a bit before heading out for dinner and a night in Bangers! Our hotel was only two blocks from Nana Plaza…a red light district…so we headed that way for dinner. We wanted to make sure Rick and Andrea got the full experience while we were there! Haha. Andrea almost fell asleep at dinner, so we thought it best to head straight to the entertainment! What a show…entertaining, culturally interesting, yet disgusting and sad…between ping pong ball shows and 14 year old performers. We decided not to go into the clubs, but to sit in the middle, outside, and take in the experience. Lots of gross old white men taking home young, teenage Thai girls…not something we like to support. No wonder Thailand doesn’t like the tourists anymore. We actually had a personal taste of this…the young girl, 21, working at our hotel came in crying one night….so Jay asked her if she was okay…she continued to tell us how much she hates the tourists and she wants to go live in England with her friend. She continued to tell us, in our horror, how she was just chased down the street, a few blocks, by a “foreigner” who wanted to pay her for pleasure. Finally, a Thai man heard her and “dealt” with the foreigner…lol. She made it to work safely, but is upset because this has happened more than once….in her opinion, the “white men” think that all Thai girls are prostitutes and they will do anything for money…her defense…”We’re not all like that”. It’s actually quite tragic to hear her side of the story. Of course, we say the same thing…”not all tourists are like that”…but the truth is…in Thailand…a whole lot “are like that”! It’s sad to admit, but unfortunately, it’s true.

We took Rick and Andrea on the river taxi’s along the Chao Phraya, to the Grand Palace. We walked ALL the way around the outside…which takes forever…before making it to the entrance, only to find out that it is Buddha Day!! So the Grand Palace is closed to foreigners for the afternoon! Darn…all that effort….but we’re lucky, because Buddha Day means that the other temples in the area have free entrance today…so this Tourist Police Office whom we were talking with, could arrange for a Tuk Tuk to take us to the surrounding temples instead…might as well take advantage of it…since it’s only Buddha Day today and we won’t have the opportunity tomorrow. Why not?

Wait a minute…but…if it’s closed to foreigners, and we aren’t dressed appropriately, how come those men, wearing sandals, just went in? Hmm…I know you are in uniform, and your tag says Tourist Police….but something seems weird. So I say to the guy…actually, we’re just going to walk around…and I tell the others to start walking. Everyone was confused at first…but I had a hunch this guy was playing us. And sure enough…as soon as we said we would just walk around, and ask the other tourists what they thought of the Grand Palace…the guy tried to talk his way out of his mess. We just continued on…since it turned out that we weren’t at the right entrance anyway. When in doubt…ask the guys with the big guns! Lol…they’ll nod if you ask them direct questions. We finally found the entrance…another guy, right outside the entrance told us it was Buddha Day too….so we played with him a bit….then I told him to move aside, as he was standing directly in front of the sign that read, “ There is no such day as Buddha Day. The Grand Palace is open. Do not believe “wilfed” men.” Hmmm…so I pointed it out, asked the guy what it meant, and he smiled….knowingly caught in a scheme…lol. We laughed with him and went in to investigate. Turned out that it closed in about half hour, so we decided to just walk around a bit and go back tomorrow….after saving another tourist who was just about to step into a Tuk Tuk to take advantage of Buddha Day! Haha.

We stumbled upon the Reclining Buddha, put a lucky coin in each of the million pots, made our wish, and admired the amazing golden structure. After our exploration, we opted for some fresh, street side Pad Thai…so wonderfully delicious!...and headed to Khao San Road for some shopping! We sent Rick and Andrea for a “fish spa” while Jay and I walked around a bit. We’ve had the “natural” fish spa experience in a waterfall in Brunei.

We spent a lovely evening….after Rick discovered Thai Whiskey and how cheap it was… sitting at the Macaronni Club, talking with a young Thai boy trying to sell us things. He was showing us some tricks and we allowed him to be a 7 year old for some time. We did buy a couple things from him for fear that he might be in trouble since he spent a good portion of his night fooling around with us, so he didn’t have much for sales. He was an interesting little guy…”working to raise money to pay for my schooling”…that was what his speech initially was. Eventually, once he felt more comfortable with us, he told us that his aspiration in life is to become a Taxi Driver! He admired the job and knew that there was some money to be made. We wished him luck...and he said goodbye with a “trick”…pulling the middle finger out of his pocket and giving it to us…lol…a trick he had learned from the tourists! Another reason for Thailand to not like tourism…the drunks think they are funny when they teach little kids profanity and poor English…something they would never intentionally teach their nieces or nephews…what a world.

Ahh…the Chinese New Year! No train tickets…I guess we will fly to Chaing Mai!!
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