Day 44 Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Two Fridays ago, August 30th, I made the radical decision (thanks to my amazingly supportive parents) to book a trip to Bangkok and Koh Samui, Thailand, for my week long “study break”.  We had been advised by Paul and Kate to take advantage of this week off, as our next study break would be the week before finals and I would like to study during that time.  We have a travel agency on campus, and they were able to hook me up with some great deals on my last minute trip.  I chose Bangkok because I wanted to experience the craziest, scariest, most extreme city in the world.  I chose to also travel to Koh Samui (a small island off the coast of Thailand) because I figured I would need a break from the insanity of Bangkok, and I heard it was one of the most beautiful places on earth.

Saturday I packed, cramming everything for the weeklong trip into my book bag, as I like to travel light.  With nothing but a passport, a couple outfits, and an itinerary of flights and accommodation bookings, I was ready for the trip of a lifetime (within the trip of a lifetime).

Sunday Sean, my Irish roommate, saved me $60 in cab fare, and drove me to the airport.  My flight wasn’t until 4:45pm, and I arrived with plenty of time to breeze through customs, grab some pizza, and exchange some American money for some Thai Baht.  The exchange rate was 32 Baht for one American dollar.  I boarded the Thai Airways plane, and skimmed through the array of popular movies on my personal touch screen until I found my third favorite movie of all time, The Prestige.  The six-hour flight “flew” past, and before I knew it we were on the ground in Bangkok.

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With money belt clipped on tight, passport secured, backpack zipped up, I exited the plane into the hot, sticky Thailand air and hopped aboard a bus for the international arrival part of the colossal Suvarnabhumi Airport.  Thailand immigration was almost too quick, and within a matter of minutes I was following signs for the exit and public taxis.  I eventually found them on the first floor, after wandering around like an idiot tourist for a while.  I told the lady at the stand near the taxis that I was going to HQ Hostel, and showed her the address.  She scribbled some nonsense down on a card and told me to hand it to my cab driver.  Once in the cab the driver told me the trip would cost 700 Baht, and even though I was warned to never take a taxi without using the meter because the set price is always much higher, I said “ok” partly because I didn’t know what I was doing and partly because it was past midnight and I was willing to pay the $21 American dollars for the 40 minute drive to my hostel.  The drive through Bangkok was intimidating, with big buildings everywhere, tons of traffic even late at night, people all over the streets, street food carts still dishing out steaming bowls of whatever, hookers waving, bright lights, seemingly endless identical streets of nonstop action.  I instantly knew I had found what I was looking for, an environment that would challenge me, “make a hard man humble” as they say somewhere, I think.  When I arrived at my hostel the cleanliness and the kind English-speaking receptionist pleasantly surprised me.  The place was small, cozy, comfortable, and easily missed walking down the street.  It was right off Silom Road, a very popular and lively street.  I paid a 200 Baht deposit for my room key and towel and headed up to my nicely air-conditioned and immaculately cleaned room, where I met my roommate Sarah.  The room had six beds (three bunks), but only Sarah, I, and some other guy (I can’t remember his name) were in there the first night.  Sarah loaned me some shampoo, I took a shower in the surprisingly very nice showers, and headed to bed looking forward to my first big day in Bangkok the following morning.

I set my alarm for 8:30am, something I never do.  And after a quick shower I was out on the streets of Bangkok the first time for breakfast with Sarah and my other roommate.  A new guy, Luke, had moved in that morning but was too tired from his flight from the UK to come out with us.  We walked down Silom Road past many street food stands, steaming cauldrons, sizzling grills, and small open storefront restaurants.  We finally picked one and sat down for a plate of chicken and rice and a couple bowls of noodle soup.  The whole delicious breakfast cost us each about $3.  I decided to spend my day shopping, as I was told it was a must-do activity when visiting Bangkok.  Sarah had to leave to catch a bus to Chang Mai, continuing her solo journey, and what’s-his-name had to get back to work, his escape time in Bangkok coming to an end.  We all said goodbye at the nearby train station that towered above the city amongst the skyscrapers, and they showed me how to buy a ticket and where to go for my day of shopping.

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I paid my 24 Baht (about 75 cents), hopped on the long, air-conditioned, full train, and two stops later stumbled out looking for the first of three malls, all in a row.  These malls were huge, much larger than our malls in Omaha, which aren’t too shabby in their own right.  The first was very upscale, with shops I could never afford like Gucci, Louis Viton, Hugo Boss, Giorgio Armani, Prada, fancy jewelry stores, fancy sunglasses stores, and other glitzy stuff.  Needless to say I didn’t spend much time there, even though it did take me quite a while to make my way to the other side where I exited for the next colossal mall.  This mall had some sweet stores, with quality clothes, a food court, sunglasses, and closely resembled a mall from back home (except it was Bangkok sized).  But I didn’t come to Bangkok to may the prices I paid back home, and I’m not much of a shopper anywhere in the world.  I came to Bangkok looking for the rumored extremely low prices on goods that look real, but more times than not are just exact copies with the real brand logo.  I asked around in the middle mall as to where I could find these “fake” products I had heard so much about, as I was in search of some fake sunglasses, and I was pointed in the direction of the third mall, MBK.

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This mall was the largest of them all, big enough that you could spend a whole day and not see the whole thing, and big enough that I got lost several times while exploring the endless halls of stores stuffed with North Face jackets, Under Armour Backpacks, Rolex watches, Lacoste t-shirts, Nike shoes, Dre Beats, Nikon cameras, and literally anything else you could think of, all fake.  Everything in the entire mall was a copy of the real thing, priced so low you almost had to buy. Dre Beats headphones for $20,  T-shirts made of really nice material $4, very realistic looking Ray Ban sunglasses $8, $20-$50 North Face rain jackets (and every other version) , were available everywhere you turned your head as you walked through the seemingly never ending corridors of MBK mall.  These item caught my eye that day, and I left the mall almost feeling like I got ripped off on my $10 Thai curry feast for lunch.  A great start to my Bangkok experience.

Next I crossed a couple skywalks over the constantly congested streets, filled with a mixture of bright colored cabs and motorbikes, and climbed several flights of stairs up towards the tops of the buildings to the train.  From there I went to the end of the line where I had been told was the great Chatuchak Market.  I had heard that this market was the largest outdoor market in the world at 27 square acres, and sold literally everything from a handmade rocking chair to a pet tiger.  Apparently it was a weekend market, and seeing as I made my initial Bangkok visit during the week, the market wasn’t at its full strength.  I can only imagine what the place looks like on a Saturday afternoon, because I was absolutely blown away at what I saw during the week.  One section of the market was the craziest pet store you have ever seen.  Stand after stand after stand of any pet you could ever want and any pet supply you would ever need.  Puppies, kittens, parrots, hundreds of species of fish, guinea pigs, rabbits, hedgehogs, lizards, snakes, sting rays, squirrels, swans, geese, and many more species of animals surrounded me every turn I made as I lost myself within the Bangkok super pet store maze for quite some time.  The other stands open in the market that day sold mostly house furniture and clothes.  One section (by section I mean 200 stands at least) sold books of every variety, with no order or organization, just piles and piles of books.  I figured I could have found anything.  I made it a mission of mine to come back to Chatuchak market that Saturday for my last day in Bangkok after my Koh Samui trip, and before I headed back to Perth.  I caught a cab back to the train station, completely drenched in sweat from the walking in the scorching hot sun and thick humidity.  I had become lost when exiting the market and had tried to walk around the entire 27 acres to find where I had came in.  After hopping off the train with my hands full of Bangkok souvenirs, walking down to Silom street, and making the short walk back to my Hostel, I was ready for a breather and shower before making plans for that evening.  I figured I had walked 5-10 miles that morning/afternoon, a perfect warm-up for a big night out with my roommate Luke and his four other friends from the UK.

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After showering, admiring my purchases, and learning that my $20 Dre Beats were indeed fake, the six of us hit the town.  We explored the crazy busy streets of Silom for a while, even venturing down Patpong alley.  All I’m going to say about this area is 1)  I would never bring my children, 2)  places like the transvestite bar in Hangover 2 exist in abundance, and 3)  if you are a white male tourist around 20 you will be literally dragged into these places.  Experiences like these were why I came to Bangkok.  I wanted to say the craziest, darkest, nastiest, “out there” place on Earth, and from what I have seen so far in my life, Bangkok tops the list.  After barely escaping the grasp (literally) or Patpong alley we caught a cab and jammed all six of us plus the driver in for a trip across town to the infamous Khao San Road.  This party heaven consisted of too many bars to count blaring all sorts of party music, several dance clubs, small hotels with rooftop pools and bars, rows of street vendors selling just about everything, carts every several feet selling cocktails, beers, and plenty of Pad Thai, chicken sticks, and fried Scorpions.  This place was absolutely insane; as each bar was packed with tourists and locals alike all with the same goal in mind, party.  Us six 20-21 year old guys engaged in a proper pub-crawl, meeting a plethora of people as we went.  The group got bigger and bigger as the night went on, and we finally settled at a bar called “Golf Bar Cocktails Very Strong We Do Not Check ID Card & Restaurant”.  That’s Bangkok for you.  Basically the night was a blast, and Khao San Road lived up to its awesome reputation.  Being a responsible world traveller I made sure I ended up in my own bed with my alarm set for 6am so I could be ready for my all day tour of the famous Floating Market and Tiger Temple the following morning.

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By 6:30am I was riding shotgun in a van full of tourists that I didn’t know on the way to the Floating Market, one of the largest in the world.  I slept the hour drive to the market and purchased two Red Bulls the second I got out of the van.  Our group made our way down to the roughly 20 foot wide canal and boarded a long wooden speedboat.  This thing had a huge engine, and I’m sure it could have absolutely flown through the narrow waterway if the driver would have wanted to.  After about twenty minutes on the speedboat we hopped off at the floating market where we had to option to walk around and visit the many shops around the water, or pay $5 or so to ride a canoe around.  I opted for the canoe, and relaxed as many different boats selling yummy smelling food, and stands selling cheap souvenirs went past our boat propelled by a single Thailand local lady.  Boats filled with fresh fruit, steaming cauldrons of noodle soup, full grills somehow designed to fit in a skinny canoe, all scooted past in a constant canoe traffic jam where the “sidewalks” are packed full of people trying to sell you picture frames and straw hats.  After a 45 minute ride of this madness, I hopped off the boat, found a vendor selling noodle soup, bought some “Tiger balm” for my “headache” (really I just wanted to help out the poor old lady trying everything to sell me the stuff), and headed back to the van for our next stop on the tour adventure.

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The next stop was “Elephant Village”, near the Floating Market, where we were given the opportunity (at an added cost) to ride an elephant.  Of course the $9 was totally worth it and now I get to say I rode an elephant in Thailand!  The things are seriously huge, and at one point I thought I was going to fall off when the beast stepped down into a swamp for some underwater walking (and a touristy picture).  Each elephant had a guide, armed with a pickaxe, who just sat on the elephants head with nothing holding him, and effortlessly kept his balance while I was holding on for dear life in my seat strapped on to the elephants back.  Midway through the ride my guide turned around to me and tried to sell me some fake ivory necklaces to “feed his family”, as many vendors I had met over the past two days have said.  Unfortunately you cannot help them all and I had to respectfully decline his offer.  After the ride we gathered up the crew, who was watching a baby elephant take a shower, and headed for our next destination.

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While I was under the impression that this “Floating Market and Tiger Temple” tour would only stop at those two places, I should have remembered I was in Thailand and there is no way they would let your wallet off that easily.  The next stop was a bit further down the road at a snake show.  Here we could watch “the most dangerous show in the world” where a guy messed with a King Cobra or two.  None of the group wanted to go, so we kind of stood there awkwardly as the tour guide urged us to head in and the people behind the counter basically begged us with their eyes to buy tickets.  Reluctantly the van driver/tour guide hopped back in and we were off to the Tiger Temple!  Just kidding, we made one more unexpected stop at a “souvenir village” where locals were carving things on wood and you could purchase your favorite Buddha figurine.  Turns out that I was to board a different bus for the Tiger Temple, which was another hour and thirty minutes down the road, so I said goodbye to my group and hopped in another van.  I had the whole backseat in this van, where I laid down and caught some much-needed sleep, considering the night before.  When I woke up we weren’t at the Tiger Temple, rather a floating restaurant where I finally got to eat!  It was 1:30 and I had been up since 6am with nothing to eat but a bowl of noodle soup.  The plates of chicken and beef kept coming, and the rice was plentiful, and before I knew it I was full and happy (a big deal for me).  After another 30-minute drive we were finally at Tiger Temple.  It was scorching hot and horribly humid at this point, and I could hardly walk without panting and losing an abnormal amount of sweat (apparently my sweating problem means I’m “really healthy” but I think it sucks).  Yet I figured I’d be fine for the hour we were allotted to explore the temple.  The Tiger Temple was really just an extremely low budget, run down zoo with barely any exhibits.  There was one with a couple lazy, way too hot, black bears, and another that apparently had some tigers but I couldn’t see any.  The place wreaked, and it probably didn’t help my nostrils that I was literally soaked in sweat and wearing the same clothes as the night before.  Walking around the barren dirt grounds of Tiger Temple were deer, boars, and yaks, all tame from being raised by humans and being around them their whole life.  It was pretty cool to be able to stand a foot away from a live deer, maybe even touch it if you wanted to.  I searched and searched for the rumored 120 adult tigers in the Temple (most in the world in one place?) after I got my first taste when I got to take a picture cuddling up to a three month old baby tiger.  I had almost given into the heat exhaustion and disappointment of Tiger Temple until I did the “sky-walk” that allowed you to walk over all of the tiger cages and I even caught glimpses of a few in their one acre by one acre pen that they were allotted.  The cages went on and on, but I was baking alive in the sun, my hour was running out, and I wanted to take a picture with one of the beasts!  So I asked around and was led to the Tiger Canyon where there was a line of other sweaty tourists waiting to get their picture taken with the 20 or so extremely calm (drugged?) tigers behind a fence.  I waited my turn, and eventually got the opportunity to kneel down behind a full-grown tiger, give him a pet, and take some pictures as proof.  What an experience!  I left Tiger Temple very satisfied in the end and would recommend the experience to anyone.  Grabbing a couple waters on the way out helped too.

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I was ready to get back to HQ Hostel and catch up with the UK guys, but in typical Thailand tour fashion we made one more stop.  As it turns out I was extremely glad we did, as I got to check The Bride Over the River Kwai off my list of places I need to see!  The historic WWII site was absolutely beautiful in person, and something that was amazing to see in real life after it had been a part of so many war videogames growing up.  I picked up a Red Bull tank top before leaving on yet a different van (apparently no one wanted to hold on to me).

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I slept most of the three-hour ride back, but I remember our drivers amazing aggressive driver skills, and passing the breathtaking Thai temples that were lit up at night.  Of course we met stuffy traffic as we got further into the city, and by the time I was back to HQ Hostel I was ready for a shower and some relaxing time.

I met the guys in the lobby and we decided to go out to Khao San Road again.  After a mini pub-crawl I headed back relatively early (1am) because I had to wake up at 4:30am to catch a taxi by 5 for my flight to Koh Samui at 7:40.  I told myself I could sleep when I’m dead.  Everything went smoothly until I went to check in at Bangkok airways and I reached in my money belt and discovered my passport was missing.  After tearing through my bag it was confirmed, I had lost my passport.  The following is a brief summary of what happened next:

Got my boarding pass anyways with a scanned version of my passport I had with me in my backpack. Went to the gate, assuming I could go to the American Embassy in Bangkok when I got back on Saturday to figure it all out before I flew back to Perth Sunday morning.  My dad texted me after I had told him what happened and he said the Embassy is closed on the weekends and I had to act now to get an emergency passport.  Called the Hostel and had them search the room (the best they could at 5am), and they couldn’t find it.  Decided I would have to miss my flight which couldn’t be missed under my contract with the travel agency.  Took a cab to the Embassy, which took a long time.  Once I got there I struggled through a language barrier with a guy at the entrance who told me I couldn’t bring my bags inside and I could either let a stranger on the street look after them for the next couple hours or go down the street and find a place to leave my backpack.  I walked down the street to a translators office (assumed I could at least have some good communication there) where I had them watch my stuff for 40 Baht.  I had to sign a sheet and it looked as if others had done it before me, so I felt a little better about leaving my MacBook in a random building in the heart of Bangkok.  Still nervous though.  Went back to the Embassy after scarfing down a coffee and chicken stick.  Found out I needed a police report before filing for an emergency passport.  Took a cab to the police station which was pretty close.  Had to go through a bunch of paperwork and there was a huge language barrier with the officers, but eventually I made it out with my completed form.  Decided to walk back to the Embassy this time.  Went through security, walked up to the counter, and learned I needed a passport picture.  Was given directions to the place but I still had to ask like three times before I found the small office within a huge office building where I could get my little picture taken.  They worked quick, and 150 Baht later I was out the door heading back to the Embassy.  After going through security again, I filled out a ton of paperwork, paid 4,500 Baht for the emergency passport, and then was asked for ID.  I reached in my money belt and my heart dropped as my American drivers license was nowhere to be seen.  Hustled to look if it was in my locker in the Embassy lobby where I had to stash my phones and headphones.  Somehow it was, and I happily gave it to the lady at the counter who would hopefully approve me for an emergency passport.  I waited and waited for the approval, and a couple hours later it was!  But my journey was not over, as I had to obtain a Thailand Immigration stamp so I wouldn’t look like I swam over here when I went to leave back to Perth.  I also had to check with the Australian Embassy in Bangkok if my Visa would transfer over to my new passport.  I also had to check with the airlines and the travel agency back in Australia to see about flights to Koh Samui later that day (apparently they have one every hour so I wasn’t too worried).  The Australian Embassy wasn’t open until 2:30, and at 11:30 that felt like way too long.  Took a cab to the Thailand Immigration Building.  Another long cab drive, and my wallet was really starting to hate me.  Once there I searched the truly massive building for the Immigration office, receiving very little help from the receptionists who knew little English.  Finally found the Immigration office at 12:10, and as I walked in the employees yelled me at that it was “lunch break” until 1.  At this point I was almost dead because of hunger, but the mission was more important.  I called the Australian travel agency, and they said they couldn’t move my flights and I would have to pay for new ones if I wanted to go to Koh Samui.  I called the Hostel and told them to look again and call me back in ten minutes.  They never called.  I called them again and they said they could not find it, which was the answer I was expecting.  I was just about to head down to the food court within the huge Immigration building at 12:45 when I got a call from the Hostel.  They had found my passport!  I instantly ran outside, grabbed the first cab (may have jumped in front of some people), and started the long drive back to the Hostel.  This drive took an hour and a half with heavy traffic, and we even got in a fender bender when trying to switch lanes.  Both drivers got out, and rather than involving any police or insurance, decided to call it good.  My driver was not flustered at all.  Got my passport from the lady receptionist at HQ, and when I asked her where she found it she would reply, “Yes!  I found it!”  Got back in the cab and headed to the airport which was another 40-minute drive.  Got out, paid the driver 600 Baht for his services and friendship (he called me his friend and shook my hand, which never happens.  You hardly ever talk to the drivers here because they know so little English and are just kind of rude).  Once at the check-in counter at Bangkok Airways once again, I told them my story and without a thought they handed me over a boarding pass for the next plane, free of charge.  I slept the entire 45-minute flight, and woke up on the beautiful tiny island of Koh Samui, Thailand.

Intimidating Thailand Immigration Building

Intimidating Thailand Immigration Building

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Since I travel light with only a backpack, I skipped baggage claim and headed straight for the public taxis.  To little surprise they were charging 600 Baht to get to Lamai, where my Hotel was.  I asked them if I could use the meter and they said there were no meters on the island.  Refusing to pay $18 American dollars for a trip that should cost at most $6 (with a meter), I hit the streets in search of a better option.  Two little island girls saw me walking and said, “Taxi?”, and I just couldn’t say no.  I ended up getting a ride from a local guy on his motorbike for 300 Baht, which was still a lot but the ride was worth it.  I got to my hotel after a 30-minute drive around the island and checked into my own room at Buddy Oriental Samui Beach Resort.  After unpacking and showering I asked the receptionist where to go that night and she said the Chaweng strip.  I was advised to take the Tuk Tuk taxi, which was really just a truck with benches in the back, and they would take me the 25 minutes to Chaweng for 60 Baht.  The street was a mini Bangkok, with bright lights, tons of bars, nightclubs, massage parlors, pharmacies, tailor shops, and nice restaurants.  Motorbikes lined the streets, the best and cheapest way to get around if you know how to ride one.  I chose a good-looking pizza joint and settled in with a two for one cocktail deal.  I walked the streets, checking out several shops, and dodging countless men on the street looking to attack my wallet with their “good deals” or “cheap price” on suits, taxi rides, drinks, you name it.  I went to a bar, got my butt kicked in pool by a girl, and decided to call it a night.

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The next morning I asked the receptionist which beach was the best, and was instructed to go to Chaweng Beach.  I hopped on a Tuk Tuk, paid my 60 Baht when I hopped off on the Chaweng strip, and took the short stroll down to the beach.  What I saw next was truly beautiful and I instantly knew why Koh Samui is such a popular tourist destination.  The water was crystal clear, and between one to three feet of depth as far out as the eye can see.  That means the water was that beautiful light blue, with some sandbars poking up every now and then, a perfect spot for sunbathing.  The sand was white and powder soft.  The beach was very long and lined with small resorts.  These resorts weren’t the towering structures like in Cancun, rather one to two stories, each with a pool, bar, occasionally a beachfront restaurant, and chairs out onto the beach.  I spent the day laying out for a little while at each spot, jumping in the warm tropical water whenever I got too hot.  Covered decks offering Thai massages littered the beach, as one could not walk 50 feet without a Thai lady making eye contact and yelling “massage?!”  They were only six bucks an hour, so of course I had a couple!  I walked the whole beach, stopping for a nice lunch and an occasional drink, and before I knew it the sun had gone to the other side of the island around 6 and it was time to call it a day.  After a cheeseburger and fries dinner at Momma’s Burgers in Lamai, I took a “nap” at nine, intending on waking up for the Green Mango club on the Chaweng strip that didn’t get going until midnight, but I didn’t wake up until nine the next morning.  The sun had wiped me out.

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The next day I did literally the same thing, after I had asked a couple locals if there were any other beaches worth going to on the island.  I was assured that Chaweng was as good as it gets.  The only thing that bothered me about the beach was the constant stream of locals walking up and down the beach that would insist on selling you their necklaces, beach toys, hats, food, etc., if you made eye contact for an instant.  I ended up buying some souvenirs for my friends back home after bartering the price down relentlessly.  That night I enjoyed a nice Pad Thai and an entire red snapper (I was hungry).  I headed back to the hotel with every intention of returning to Chaweng for a party at Green Mango around midnight, but yet again I didn’t make it.  My day was good enough as it was, with another two massages and a nice sunburn to take home with me.  Besides, I had to get to the airport rather early to catch my flight back to Bangkok, and I wasn’t about to mess that up for anything.

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The Koh Samui airport was one of the coolest I’ve ever been in, completely outdoor with some parts covered by a wooden roof.  There were chairs, couches, and beanbags scattered around the terminal, and also a bunch of free food and drinks.  The flight went smoothly, and when I returned to Bangkok I was like an old pro, walking with purpose through the airport and then demanding to use the meter for my taxi trip.  Paying just 200 Baht to get to my hostel this time (plus a little for the highway toll booths), a different hostel called Lub d Bangkok Hostel in the same area, I was determined to have a cheap final night as I had burned through way too much cash on the trip.  All settled in to my new room full of seven other dudes, I sat on my bed for a while amidst the smell of feet and had a Facebook chat with Peyton.  He was visiting Indonesia and was on the islands of Gili (worth a Google search).  Hearing that you MUST get a suit while in Thailand at one of the many tailors (seriously there was one every four stores, ridiculous), I researched the best ones and one happened to be close by.  Hopping down from my bunk, I walked down the road a ways to the tailor where I talked at length with the 50-something Arab manager.  I worked at a deal where I would get their best black suit, made of Giorgio Armani fabric from Italy, tailored to  fit my body for $150.  The real deal costs $3,000-$4,000 back home, and when I received my perfect fitting suit later that night I was convinced my suit was a quality item! I decided not to head to Chatuchak Market because it was just getting late and I would only have an hour to look around after hunting down the nearest train station and getting there.  So, after grabbing yet another Pad Thai dinner down an alley packed to the brim with street carts and tiny restaurants, I decided to head to Khao San Road to buy one final souvenir.  I only brought 500 baht with me ($15) to limit my spending.  The rest of my money was for a cab the next morning to the airport.  I spent 100 Baht to get there, and knowing it would cost at least that to get home I only spent 250 Baht on the “street of dreams”, buying random street food.  When I returned to the Hostel I went up to my room in search of someone to hangout with.  Hostels are great places to meet people, and it wasn’t long before I was at the bar downstairs with a guy from Canada that was “exploring the world”.  He had been basically everywhere because he had some deal where he would get flights for extremely cheap because he was related to a flight attendant or something.  I don’t quite remember, but I was jealous, as I had totally caught the world-travelling bug.  Before I knew it, it was past midnight which meant bedtime so I could get up for my very early flight to Perth.

Before the sun was up, I was up, and by 5am I was in a cab for the final time, heading to the Bangkok airport.  I paid the toll booth one final time, we zipped in and out of lanes one final time, my taxi driver bragged about how much over the speed limit he was going one final time, and I checked in at Thai Airways one final time.  There was a slight moment of drama at the check-in stand because my Australian Visa had transferred over automatically to my emergency passport, and my Thailand immigration stamp was on my original passport.  So I had to wait about 20 minutes as the message was sent to Australia, clearing me to fly.  I was absolutely starving by the time I cleared customs and made it to my terminal, so at 7am I ordered a double Whopper with cheese and a large fry from Burger King and demolished it before it even had a chance to put up a fight.  By 7:40 I was on my way home.  A short snooze, and Hangover 2 & 3 later I was back on the ground in Perth.  It was interesting to watch Hangover 2 after visiting Bangkok, and I can now totally see how they got into trouble rather quickly in a city some would describe as “sinister”.  I loved every minute of my journey to Thailand, especially Bangkok, and I look forward to the day when I can show some friends around the crazy city.

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I was welcomed back to the Perth prices with a $60 taxi back to my house, where my roommates were excited to see me and hear my stories.  As I waited for Peyton to return from his journey I reflected on just how awesome my spur of the moment trip to Thailand truly was.  I saw some incredible things on my week alone in a land I never thought I would visit.  This “trip of a lifetime within a trip of a lifetime” was simply amazing, and I cant wait to plan my next one!

4 responses to “Day 44 Tuesday, September 10, 2013

  1. Judy Collins

    Oh, Tyler! What an adventure you are on! I loved reading about Thailand and was so impressed by your resourcefulness with your passport escapade. I’d have sat on a curb and cried!!!! “great” Aunt Judy xoxo

  2. Lisa Garcia

    Thanks for “taking” me on a vacation of a lifetime! Your details made me feel, and unfortunately “smell” like I was there with you !!! Glad to hear you are still safe & sound !

  3. hi, Tyler, Loved your blog telling us about your exciting adventures in Thailand! We’re looking forward to your next entry. Love, papa & Ama.

  4. John Johnson

    Your roommates aren’t the only ones looking forward to hearing your stories. Keep ‘em coming!

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