My final long haul bus ride was pretty terrible, I barely got a seat and the people in charge seemed to have never loaded a bus load of people before. But eventually we were all on and the drivers cranked the air-con until it was freezing. Combined with the typical uncomfortable seats, I had very little sleep the whole night. We arrived into Bangkok at 5.30am and I was definitely over it, and totally out of it from no sleep. I was staying with Jess and Andy, friends from home who I visited last trip in the Philippines (link) where they were teaching at an international school. Now they have moved to a new school in Bangkok and had a kid, Malaya who is now 7 months old. So I was looking forward to having a real house to stay in for my last few days away. The school is in a ‘planned community’ called Nada Thani, a bit out of the center of town, I took a taxi there and managed to track down Andy using the gate guards cell phone. Having a baby they were already up. Great to see them again and see their place, the teachers all live in these apartment buildings and they have a really nice 3 bedroom place overlooking the pool and play area (with real grass! hard to find in Asia). I was shattered from the bus ride so just hung out all day at their place. So nice to have a big comfy bed, free internet, nice bathroom, western food….all so overwhelming! In the afternoon we sat by the pool and had a few beers while Andy tried to tell me it was colder than usual (it was really a perfect 28 degrees). After I had a bit of a nap I went down to the local American style supermarket to pick up some food for the evening and Andy baked an amazing carrot cake which we took to their next door neighbours and ate dinner, cake and went through a few bottles of wine. I love Bangkok…
Over the next few days I prepared myself for home, which includes doing a lot of shopping. The weekend market in Bangkok is huge so I spent ages there buying way too many t-shirts. Andy, Jess and Malaya came for awhile but obviously having a kid changed things a bit so left me to fight the crowds and the heat while Malaya went home to have a nap. I caught the new underground from the market to MBK, the big shopping mall in town which has heaps of christmas decorations, the first I have seen for awhile.
Got my hair cut and coloured and a bit more shopping before I jumped in a taxi which took ages through the traffic to finally get back home. The next day we all headed out again on the water taxi which goes down the river into town, great way to get around Bangkok and very cheap. We got off near one of the major temples which has the worlds biggest reclining Buddha’s.
It really is a very very big Buddha, like massive. It was really cool to see, all gold with amazing detail. We walked the length of it then back around behind it where you take handfuls of coins and drop them in the offering bowls along the way out.
The rest of the area where the Buddha is, is really interesting, heaps of other temples and Wat’s to look at. But of course you can only see so many before they all look the same so we headed back to get some lunch then on the boat, Jess and Andy headed back home and I jumped off near Khao San road, the ultimate backpacker street which has everything you could want. So of course more shopping, food and checking out the backpackers lining the streets, getting dreads, drinking beer, buying clothes, passing out from too many drugs, lugging packs….it’s kind of cool actually, not in a cultural way of course but kind of fun. I took the boat back towards home as the sun was setting over the river.
I had one more full day in Bangkok which I spent just hanging out at Jess and Andy’s place, trying to pack my bag and lying by the pool. We left Malaya with the maid/nanny and headed out for an early tea at this awesome restaurant right on the river with amazing Thai food, we watched the sun set while little boats zipped around.
Living in Bangkok is great, and the more Jess tries to convince me to be an international school teacher the more I think that it really is a good idea and now doing my post-grad teaching diploma is on my list of options for home time. After our amazing dinner we stopped on route to pick up sticky rice from the supermarket and came home and had sticky rice and mango while 3 masseuses we rang to come to the house gave us foot massages….things don’t get much better than that, Bangkok is awesome. My flight the next day wasn’t till 9pm but I left about 1pm after finishing packing and having lunch with Jess, Andy and Malaya. They won’t be coming back to NZ for at least another year which by then Malaya will be so much older, so it was really nice to see them and hang out in their amazing place. I took a taxi to Khao San road and booked a minibus for 5pm then brought a few final things and had one last street side curry and iced coffee and a half an hour Thai massage. *Sigh* I love Asia….then jumped on the mini bus to the airport to begin the long journey home.