Sunday, June 26, 2011

Week Twenty-Six Daily Journal

Friday, March 25
Bangkok, Thailand

Lifting weights prohibited?
We arrived in Bangkok in the early morning and took a taxi to our hotel, Rambuttri House, located on Rambuttri Road near the famous Khao San Road.  After a quick nap we had our first Thai food - soup, beef salad and chicken stir fry at 9 am.  Then we walked over to Grand Palace, a huge complex of ornate buildings including a temple housing the famous Emerald Buddha (actually made of jade), and then to the Wat Pho Massage School for some excellent Thai massages.  They stretch you out while they knead you, and it really melted away the past 24 hours of travel.  Then we saw the giant Reclining Buddha at Wat Pho.  Back to Rambuttri for dinner, beers and a bucket (literally a bucket filled with mixed drink),  then mani pedis for all, a shave for Russ and massage for Dave.

Saturday, March 26
Bangkok, Thailand

Fishing for prawns at Chatachuck Market
While Russ shopped around for a better hotel (eventually moving us to Rambuttri Village, which has a pool (which we never used)), we took a taxi over to the Chatachuck Market.  This market was enormous!  They sold everything you could think of and was way more full of Thais than tourists.  For a few hours we walked all over the place, ate some delicious food (most notable, a beef noodle soup) and ended up getting lost in the live animal section, which was upsetting.  Then we took the sky train to the Siam Paragon mall, where we met Russ.  We had some food in the massive food court, shopped around, internetted and then saw Adjustment Bureau in the wonderful, expensive VIP seats.  This consisted of a private lounge with complimentary juice, tea, coffee and cookies, followed by the screening in huge, fully reclining leather seats set up in pods of two.  Waiter service brought popcorn and soda, and we snuggled under our complimentary blankets and pillows.  Bliss.

Sunday, March 27
Bangkok, Thailand

I slept really late today, catching up from the past 3 or 4 nights.  When i woke up we got some food and then headed over to a nearby gym for a Muay Thai Boxing training session.  It lasted 2 1/2 hours and was an intense workout.  While Russ went to pick up Melanie at the airport we walked until we were a bit out of the tourist ghetto and had dinner at a roadside place - we picked it when we saw that the travel agent Dave had spoken to earlier was eating there.

Monday, March 28
Bangkok, Thailand

Medical tourism day.  We went to Bumrungrad Hospital, which was huge, spotless, gorgeous and full of friendly staff.  In between appointments we found an adorable coffee shop with two huge, Internet connected macs for free use, and some delicious food stalls outside.  We had dinner down the road at the beautiful vegetarian restaurant Na Aroon.

Tuesday, March 29
Bangkok, Thailand

Flower market
The four of us met up in the morning and took the ferry down the river to Wat Pho.  We each had an hour long massage and I bought of pair of comfy pants to sleep in.  We had lunch at Coconut Palm and then Russ and Melanie went to see the reclining Buddha.  Then we all went to the flower market.  Later that night we headed to chinatown for a street food eating extravaganza.  We ended up at Patpong, the red light district, which was pretty depressing.

Wednesday, March 30
Ayuthaya, Thailand

After brunch we checked out of the hotel and said goodbye to Melanie and Russ.  It took an hour through Bangkok's congested streets to get to the bus station, and from there we hopped on a 50 baht bus to Ayuthaya.  2 hours later we checked into our lovely guesthouse, Luang Chumni Village, traditional Thai teak houses in a picturesque setting with a pond and garden.  That night we had dinner at the fabulous night market- a feast of papaya salad, fried chicken sticky rice, special Ayutthaya boat noodles (we think) and roast corn.  Oh and we started with little gooey fried pancake balls- we didn't realize they were sweet, so we inadvertently had dessert first.  Afterwards we sat and had a beer at Dear Steak, a bar/food stall set up in the 7-11 parking lot.  The owner, Dear, promised us special music since we were American and then played Hotel California.  Is this the most popular song in Thailand?  He also poured our Leo beers over glasses of ice.  This turns out to be a less delicious way to drink beer than no ice.

Thursday, March 31
Ayutthaya, Thailand

We tried to get an early start but didn't get out until 10am.  We spent the next few hours riding our rented bikes around town and checking out the ruins.  Ayutthaya was the capital of Siam for over 400 years until it was sacked by Burmese invaders.  We started at the Ayutthaya Historical Center museum which turned out to be a great little museum.   Then we visited a whole bunch of wats.  We had great noodle soups for lunch at a stall and later stopped for iced coffee at a cafe that only played acoustic versions of Michael Jackson songs.  When we were done touring we went to the "Shootting" range where for 50 baht each we got 10 (fake) bullets to shoot out of rifles.  It was fun.  Later that night we went to a waterfront seafood restaurant that was less delicious and more expensive than the market, and where we got eaten alive by mosquitoes. 

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