Hi everyone!! Yes, I am still around. I’ve just been really busy and waiting for the right time to write but it never came up so here I am writing when I should be doing an assignment for my CELTA course. BAD blogger and bad student!!
I am still in Thailand, I am currently in Chiang Mai taking a course so I can be a better English teacher….or at least a fairly average English teacher. It’s great up here! Chiang Mai is probably one of my favourite places on earth now. If it is possible to stay here, I will take it, without hesitation. It’s just the right level of everything. If only I had any time to hang out and see it! Hahaha. Doing a full time month long intensive course doesn’t really leave a lot of time for anything else….so that’s why I am blogging now.
Right I think I am about a month or more out of date so I am going to just rough point this post to get up to now! Sorry, I will do a real post soon.
Bangkok; the (other) City of Angels:
Now I am not a fan of big cities but I really didn’t mind Bangkok to be honest, even when there were mass protests happening! It just kind of added to the character of the city. Does that seem crazy? What happened in Bangkok?
- I met up with my friend, Kenzie. We worked together in Bali and just happened to be in Thailand at the same time so it made sense to meet up ‘for a few days’ ….a few days turned out to be sharing a room for a week and meeting up again in Chiang Mai. After travelling around Thailand by myself it was really nice to finally talk to someone that you didn’t have to introduce yourself too. A person that you can say, “Remember when…” and not be referring to something that happened 30 minutes ago.
- We stayed about a 10 minute walk away from Khao San Road in an area off Samsen Road down one of the little Sois (alleys), at Amazing Guesthouse….was it amazing? Not really. Was it completely average for a cheap Bangkok guesthouse, yes!
- The first day we met up in BKK we ended up taking a little road trip to the floating market…unfortunately it was not the floating market closest to Bangkok but the one about a 2 hour bus ride away. Nonetheless we had a good catch up on the ride out there, while also wondering where the fuck we were. The floating market was cool, but EXTREMELY touristy.
- We didn’t really do that many touristy things in Bangkok, the protests made it slightly more difficult to get around and I think we were just having fun hanging out.
- I ate a scorpion and a cricket on Khao San Road….the scorpion wasn’t bad but the cricket’s legs and wings got stuck in my teeth. 4/10.
- I found poutine!!!! My second poutine in two years! A guy from Montreal started a restaurant around the corner from the Amazing Guesthouse and they have poutine among other things! BUT POUTINE!!! POUTINE!!! (If you aren’t Canadian, I am sorry. You won’t find that exciting at all and are probably wondering what the fuck poutine is!)
For those who don’t know, Ayutthaya was the former capitol of Thailand before being sacked by the Burmese in 1767. In it’s day it was one of the world’s biggest cities. And the ruins of the city really don’t fail to impress. It is kind of like a mini Angkor Wat (or what I imagine Angkor Wat to be like since I haven’t made it to Cambodia yet.
- I made friends with 2 English girls on the bus ride up from Bangkok so we did the traveler thing and hung out for a few days.
- We rented bikes and rode around trying to see the sites. As I said before, Ayutthaya was a huge city back in the day and lots of countries had settlements for the traders/merchants etc. The Japanese and Dutch settlements are (were) near each other but not a lot is left standing. The Japanese settlement has a pretty informative museum about the history of Ayutthaya and the staff seem to be VERY excited when anyone shows up. The Dutch settlement is down a dirt track off of the main road and only fairly unimpressive house remains.
- I am not really selling Ayutthaya very well but it is a nice city with a good night market and lots of places to see.
While in Ayutthaya, one of the English girls decided that she wanted to get a tattoo and found a monk who did Buddhist Sak Yant tattoos. Unfortunately, he was not in Ayutthaya but in ‘nearby’ Nakom Pathom. Being the tattoo addict that I am, I jumped on the chance to get tattooed by a monk in a temple in Thailand. Now, the temple is not straightforward to get to, regardless of what the internet says, unless you are smart and just get a taxi there. We weren’t. But it added to the story. We left Ayutthaya and headed back to Bangkok to get a mini bus to Nakom Pathom. Nakom Pathom is nowhere near a tourist city and we were able to get a room in a pretty fancy hotel for pretty darn cheap. Me and Laura got up at 5 the next morning to get a train to Nakom Chasis where after waiting for a bus for a good 45 minutes, gave up and decided to get a taxi the last 15 minutes to the Wat. It was a good plan. We got to the Wat early as the instructions told us too, we bought our 65 baht offerings and we waited for the monk. After letting the majority of the other people go first it was my turn. I sat in front of the monk leaning over the most disgustingly dirty cushion I have ever seen and it really didn’t help that the two guys holding my skin taught kept pushing my back down and thusly my face into said cushion.
The monk, not being able to touch my skin as I am a woman, prodded me into the correct position with his trusty Sharpie pen, pushed my head down with the pointy end and began jabbing me with a metal spike. I am a tattoo aficionado and this was by far one of the least painful tattoos I’ve received. Yes, there is the health risk……the wiping cloth looked pretty sketchy…but it’s Hepatitis B with a story, right???
Literally a few hours after the tattoos we were going our separate ways. Laura was going to Cambodia and Miranda (the other girl) and I had both decided separately that we wanted to visit Kanchanaburi, so we decided to go together.
- Point one: I could live in Kanchanaburi….well theoretically. It is a great little city/town. It’s super chilled out and has seemingly a lot to do there.
- Point two: You might not be familiar with the name of the town but you will be familiar with The Bridge over The River Kwai. Well, the Bridge is in Kanchanaburi……or some of the original structure of the bridge that was not destroyed when the Allies bombed it and was thusly rebuilt is in Kanchanaburi. As a history major……(inside joke, eh Tam?), it is still incredibly interesting to go. From the War Cemetery, Hellfire Pass and the cheerfully named Death Railway Museum, Kanchanaburi is an uplifting place. I kid, it’s great, but it is a place that embraces it’s not that pleasant history and tries to educate the public on the oft-forgotten Asian side of World War Two.
- I spent a lot of time feeding my historian soul but I also took this time to chill the freak out. It was pleasant to just sit and read my book on the banks of the River Kwai. Can I just add how much I LOVE saying sentences like that?
- As with everywhere else I have been in Thailand, of course there were the Canadians front and centre. The 2 guys in the room next to me were from Toronto and in Thailand on an interesting mission. They had recently opened a restaurant in TO and came to Asia to perfect and learn real South East Asian cooking. I am really not doing their mission justice so check out : Me.n.u Food Truck on Facebook or look them up if you are in Toronto. They were cool guys with an even cooler idea….
The end is nigh. After a month of travelling I finally made it to Chiang Mai. My ‘home’ for the month of February. I will probably do an overview of CM after I leave because it’s all pretty much doing a teaching course and all stressy and not very interesting stories.
- I once again met up with my TTBFF (Thai Travel Best Friend Forever), Kenzie. And good times were had for the week I kept free before I started the course.
- We went to one of the most beautifully exhibited museums I have ever been too, The Chiang Mai Arts and Culture Centre. The amount of information they present there is astonishing if not a little daunting.
- We had some of the best Thai food that I have even eaten thoughtfully prepared by the lovely ladies from the Chaing Mai Department of Corrections Vocational Training Centre. It’s a centre where they train female inmates job skills, either restaurant skills or spa skills. There is an amount of humour to the situation and leaving open to jokes. But deep down it is a fantastic idea and the women that I met while I was there were both open and almost annoyingly kind.
- In true Thai tradition we also attended a Muay Thai boxing match. We were promised on the flyer that there would be a Canadian fighter….there was not. But apparently ALL the other Canadians in Chiang Mai decided to make the pilgrimage to the parking lot adjacent boxing ring to see our countryman pummel or be pummeled. He unsurprisingly never appeared but it was an all together interesting and enjoyable evening. Even if it was SO completely fixed, that a guy who got knocked out and had to be dragged out of the ring won the final round.
Okay, that’s it for now. Hopefully you made it to the end. If not….there’s no point writing this. Sorry. Peace out.