Friday January 18, 2008

Fieldtrip to Southeast Asia :: Part 1 - Bangkok


Hello again! I haven't done a teendrama recap in what seems like forever, and this one will, without a doubt, be the longest one yet (300 photos?) so I think I'm going to have to break into into a bunch of smaller entries (otherwise it'll never get done).

So anyway, around October my buddy Rob from high school started kicking around the idea to visit his sister (Pam) who's been living in Kuala Lumpur (er, the capital of Malaysia - I had to look it up too). I was in - especially considering the last time we made a trip to visit Pam (2001) we ended up flying into Madrid and making our way to Pamplona for the Running of the Bulls (much fun, very dangerous). So we started drafing up some travel plans - initially really ambitious (Tokyo! Hong Kong! Bangkok! KL! Dubai!) and eventually scaled down to Thailand -> Malaysia -> Singapore. After a good month of procrastinating, we got some last minute tickets (expensive!), packed our backpacks and on Christmas day (seen here in my new Christmas jacket - thx Pam!) drove from Medway, MA -> NYC in order to catch our 8am flight.


I'll save most of the details of the trek from NYC -> Bangkok... some 25 hours of travel time (NYC -> Chicago -> Shanghai -> Bangkok). In hopes of being able to sleep on the longer leg of the flight, we got pretty liquored up back in NYC - we hit pretty much every bar we could find open late night on Christmas Day (Motor City, the place next to Local 138, 7B). For anyone that's ever tried this before, you've probably figured out it's a dumb idea to get nice and drunk before a long flight as you're pretty likely to wake up somewhere over the Atlantic / North Pole / wherever pretty hung over about 6 hours into it. (er, which is exactly what happened to us). So anyway...


I set the stopwatch on my Future Watch. 12 hour trip from CHI -> Shanghai. When all the bars fill up on the watch, we're there! Delicious little ramen snack pack almost makes you forget how shitty spending 12 hours on plane without seatback TVs can be (Hint: don't fly international on a domestic airline. F U United!). "Oh, what's that in the background?" you ask...


... Zelda for Nintendo DS! I heart you boomerang!


Out the window. Somewhere over the North Pole? (flight goes up and over the globe rather than all the way around it - huh!)


Annnnddd 12 hours later (well, 15 if you count Chicago airport transfer) and we're in Shanghai.. and looking at a 7 hour layover before our flight to Bangkok. Rob and I both figured we'd pass the time with a workday's-worth of Super Mario Kart battles, but much to our surprise we were able to get a special visa that let us leave the airport in between flights. So, where to??

Downtown! We asked the guy who was selling tickets to the MagLev train (Magnetic Levitation) where he'd go if he had 7 hours to kill in Shangahi. He had no idea what we were saying, but he pointed to this one spot on the subway map ("People's Square") so we hopped on the train and headed in. BTW, MagLev = awesome. Magnets! 300 km/h (that's about 186 mph! Rumor has it it maxes out around 270 mph). The train tilts to its side when making turns - kind of like Mike Yap racing a superbike I suppose. Amtrak, would it kill you to build this between NYC and Boston? (@ 185 mph = 1h 20 mins!)shanghai_subway.jpg

So Pudong Airport -> Mag Lev -> Longyang Metro station. Here's what greeted us as we tried to journey to the center of the city (after three minutes of fiddling we finally found the "English" button) .


And onto the streets of downtown Shanghai. I wish we had more than 2 hours to explore (and that it wasn't 8pm at night), but all we really got to do was walk in circles around People's Square looking for something that resembled a local pub (we never found one). We walked by malls and movie theaters and more malls and more theaters and eventually got off the main roads a bit (above) though we really didn't find anything interesting. Pollution is supposed to be pretty bad and yes, it smelled a lot like Chinatown NYC on the hottest of summer days. Rob and I figured we must be in a shitty area (smells + trash + sewage?) just as we stumbled across a MF dealership which then dumped us into a street market. No Oriental Pearl Tower for us (tallest in Asia!), just a lot of aimless wandering.


Soooo back onto the train so we wouldn't miss our flight. Bummer = realizing that the only pair of pants you brought on a 15 days trip are now FILTHY.

2am we arrive in Bangkok (5 hour flight from Shanghai). I had called ahead from the US about a week earlier in an attempt to book a hotel room. The combo of crappy Skype connection + broken English left me abut 30% optimistic that we'd have a room waiting for us when we arrived, but sure enough when the gypsy car (which ripped us off with a ridiculous fare) dropped us at the Royal Hotel, we were all set to go. Best shower ever -> zzzzzzz in under 20 mins.



And Saturday! First day! Here's a pic of our hotel room (overlooking the pool = luxury!) - special thanks to Anthony Townsend for the recommendation. Btw, a week or so before we left, I posted our rough itinerary ("Thailand, Malaysia") online - Flickr, Facebook and teendrama - and had a bunch of people write back with "5 things to do in Bangkok" style lists, so special thanks to: Argo, Marc J, Mike Anderson, Nick Gray, A. Townsend, Scuba Steve & Tyler. Oh, by the way, we hit *everything* on the lists.


First up, #1 tourist spot in all of Bangkok? Wat Po and the reclining buddha! This ain't no educational blog, but three things you should know: (1) "Wat" means "temple". (2) Thailand has tons of them.. not just Bangkok, all of Thailand. The Book lists some 250 (btw, when I say "The Book", I am referring to the Lonely Planet, Thailand guide that *everyone* is walking around with), and (3) there are many reclining buddha's all over Thailand - some big, some small.

This guy? In Wat Po! The big reclining buddha! The biggest in Thailand? I *think* so but I also seem to remember reading a bigger one somewhere?


See? Big. Maybe three stories high, 60 yards long? Me and Rob are already sweating it up from the 100 miles of walking in 90 degree heat.


Sadly, we missed Sagat defending Thailand's honor by about 30 minutes (damn you free continental breakfast!).

ps: I'm such a dork I couldn't leave this without Photoshopping a little Ryu up in there.


Annnnd another temple at Wat Po! This one was much more ornate. By the time we found this guy, we were already kind of done with sightseeing. (note all the cameraphones).


So, we walked around looking for the Wat Po Massage School (#1 on Nick Gray's list, btw) for a bit... getting distracted by this sign for the Crocodile Pool. That sounds fun.


Which, sadly, we found to be closed, half-way drained and probably without any crocodiles. Of course, that didn't prevent the kids enrolled in the school that's tucked way in the back of the Wat Po grounds from using the gate at the entrance if the croc pool as a backstop to their makeshift soccer net. ("Hey new kid! It's your turn to hop the fence and get the ball!")


After wandering aimlessly, we took Nicks' suggestion and got an hour massage at the Wat Po massage school (given by students - kind of like getting a haircut at one of those haircut schools in NYC?). 360B (Baht) = $12 US!


Me = never had a real massage before (besides what we got at Vindigo; I never did the Google thing)... and from the stories the sketchy Beaver Creek kids tell (you know who you are!) I wasn't sure what I was getting myself into, especially when they asked me to change into these little capri pants.

Buuuuttt, massage was awesome, not shady at all and maybe best thing ever after 30+ hours of travel. Rob = wasn't so hot on it. The lady I had kind of beat the shit out of my back and legs. I guess Rob got the same, but maybe he's just a little more tender (all the laddeeeez say "aaaawwwwwww"). Bonus: free lemonade at the end!


What next? To the mall! (another one of Nick's suggestions). We grabbed the nearest Tuk-Tuk we could find. Tuk-Tuk = motorcycle outfitted with what I guess you could call a chariot on the back. Says Battjer: 'Tuk-Tuk' because of the sound the of the two-stroke motor makes (hold on, hold on, video below).

Btw, Bangkok = crowded. Cars + scooter + cycles + Tuk Tuks. The Old City is small enough to walk around in, though hard to do with the lack of crosswalks and stop lights. Before arriving in Bangkok, most everyone described it as "controlled chaos" or "city on the brink of madness" etc. which is exactly the feeling that you get when you're cruising around in the back of one of these things - traffic laws don't apply, pedestrians are second class citizens, pollution everywhere.

Anyway, to the mall!


We landed at MBK, biggest mall in Bangkok (?). Six floors of madness and *packed*. We strolled around for a bit, at least a whole floor (think: half the Natick Mall, people) devoted to booths hawking cell phones (thanks for the tip, Argo). Half of the fifth floor is a food court...


... where you trade in 100 B ($3.50) for vouchers worth 2+ huge lunches. Between the two of us we sampled 4-5 different soups, noodles, pad thai, chicken numbers, etc.


We couldn't finish everything we ordered and were also kind of playing it conservativly given it's Day 1 of 15. (Echoing in my head, Nick's email: "Don't eat street food on your first day - duh." Ha!). Worth noting: that moment after you suck down your first fountain Pepsi and think, "Fuck, am I not supposed to eat the ice here? Too late now! More Pad Thai for everyone!"


Sixth floor = arcade + movie theater + bowling alley. Marc.J, I know you highly recommended the VIP theaters, but we'll save that for another day... 'cause right now it's time for that Basketball Shootout game (whatever it's called) and Guitar Hero button mashing??? Huh? (they had a version w/ a guitar but it was bus.ted).


And personal karaoke booths! Would have spend my extra Baht here if the damn kids weren't hogging all the rooms.


Okay, enough of the mall. We caught the SkyTrain (above-ground train, kind-of new) and took it through the financial district and down to the river (though not before a quick photo opp with the King... whose photos are *everywhere* thoughout the city, btw). And with no other way from the river back to the Old City (er, our hotel), we did what any tourist in our position would do...


... jump on the riverboat! 10 B (?). (Hey Soco, thanks for the pic!). Given it was commutin'-time our boat was much more crowded with business types. Rob and I both passed out during the 30 min ride back upstream, disembarked on the wrong side of the river, walked over some suspension bridge than collapsed on Khao San Road with delicious Tiger beers.


BTW, Khao San, as everyone will tell you is backpacker city. Most people (and The Book) describe it as as "decompression chamber" for tourists. Argo's comparison of Khao San to a scene in an Indian Jones movie is probably more accurate. I was thinking more Mos Eisley from Star Wars. Anyway, kids from all over the world, speaking 1,000 different languages, just sitting at sidewalk patios bars chilling and drinking beers. This is daytime and quiet (we'll be back). Next up: shower, nap...


... before we head back to Khao San (nighttime!) to meet up w/ Eric Soco (friend of mine from ITP. Eric lives in the city, works less than 10 blocks from me and the last time I saw him, before running into him in Bangkok, was in the Amsterdam airport. Ha!). So we met up, had some touristy food, a few Tigers (Singapore beer), a few Changs (local beer) and allllmmmmost called it a night...


... before stumbling across this Thai disco that was just begging for us Westerners to come in and visit. I accidentally deleted a video I had taken of this place going *apeshit* when the DJ cued up some Thai hip-hop track (btw, they speak Thai in Thailand). Not to be all Johnny Nostalgic, but there's really nothing cooler than being in some club on the other side of the world, and seeing everyone go apeshit over a song you've never heard before and will probably never hear again. (Imagine Randy cueing up The Outfield, circa No Data 2005 and multiplying that by 500 - people went bananas).


A drunk Rob was happy to talk politics with some Thai kid that didn't speak English and prob picked up this shirt at a 2nd hand shop.


4am. Or around that time. Khao San kind of done. Clubs are closed. I has just convinced Rob that was *not* a good idea to drunkenly eat friend grasshoppers or whatever they were. Probably time to go to bed, but...

... we wandered down some back alley and met these kids playing guitar - acoustic versions of Thai Top 40 tracks. We grabbed Two More Beers (* the theme for the trip, btw) (Tiger!) and sat down to listen for a bit.

After two of three songs, they handed us the guitar... oh Sweet Lord Jesus what I would gave given for the gift of being able to play some GnR 'Patience'. New Years Resolution #8: Learn one song (that song!) on the guitar. Just in case.

4:30am on our first night in Bangkok = time to go to bed! Ooorrrr not...


... cause we found this McDonald's right up the street! (I know, I know... but this was the *only* American fast food we ate for the whole trip!). And who can resist these Cheesy Fries?!?


I know This Guy can't. Ha! (And ugh.)


And right outside our hotel (which, btw is about a 5 min walk from Khao San in one direction and a 10 min walk to Wat Po in the other direction). All the lights are for the King's birthday (a month long celebration - those Thai's love their kings!). Annnndddd goodnight to day #1!



Ugh. Long flight + long day + long night = may not the best of ideas. Somehow we made it for the freebee breakfast (ends at 10am)...


... where we dined on one egg, something that resembled french toast, lots of rice, a little chicken and that delicious orange mango juice they serve all over the place. Free! (oh, and the soup = delicious!)

Now, this is day 2 in Bangkok. We have a blank itinerary except for (a) to do something fun on New Years and (b) to make it back to Bangkok for our flight to Kuala Lumpur on Jan 2nd. So after breakfast we chatted up the friendly hotel travel agent to see what our options where. Thanks to my super network of Thailand experts, I had a bunch of suggestions on what Thai islands may be home to good times. So we checked on flights...

Koh Samui? No flights.
Koh Phi Phi? No flights.
Koh Pha-ngan? No flights.
Koh Mak? No flights.
Phuket? No flights.

... basically the vibe was, "You really shouldn't show up the day before New Years to make plans". Buuuttt, we did manage to get a flight to Krabi, a port town in the SW side of Thailand and not too far from the islands. We'll take it, please. We were only able to get a one way ticket (no return flights till *after* the 2nd), and the foolish lads we are were thinking "Bwhahahah - we'll just find another way back to Bangkok" (keep this in mind for part 2).

Anyway, so one-way ticket to the *beautiful beaches* of Krabi booked! (ha!)... off to Day 2 of sightseeing.


First stop, Chatuchak Market (thx Argo & Nick), the SuperBowl of Street Markets that's only open on the weekends (today = Sunday = ka-hing!). It took us about 20 mins by cab to get there (real cab, no tuk-tuks today, thank you), but imagine something the size of the Javits Center (er, or any convention center) just filled with narrow alleyways and people hawking stuff out of little booths - food, clothes, new shows, used shoes, Diesel jeans, little fish, squish things, plates, bells, belts, whatever you can think of they're selling here. And no price tags, every time you ask it's a different price and it's your job to haggle them down to as low as you can go. Rob and I both gave it a shot - I scored a wallet that has slots too small for credit cards (Sweet! $2 US). Rob bought a broken watch (Ha! $5 US). Mom, you would love it here.

I should have taken more pics / video. These one really doesn't do it justice - I'm standing in the middle of a four-way intersection of shops, with more shops - as far as the eye can see - in all directions.


See this map? The tiny rows, the tiny intersections? The pic above is taken from one of those crossroads on the right hand side. Almost at the end of the market. It took Rob and I about 30 mins to walk the length of the thing. Crazytalk.

So after dropping about $6 US each (food!) we caught the Metro (different from the SkyTrain, brand-brand new!, underground) down to Lumphini Park. Our goal was to try to catch a Muay Thai fight (Sunday sounds like fight night, no?) and take a stroll through the night market at Lumphini Park (thx, Nick).

We took the Metro to Lumphini, asked a cop for directions and then set off to find the stadium. We wandered around for a good hour (?) looking for this place. Now, we don't how big the stadium is - are we talking high school gym size? College basketball? MLS soccer? Or maybe it's just a little door that goes to this underground arena like in Bloodsport? No idea.

So, we're wandering around though markets and alleys and projects (?) looking for this place - no one speaks English where we're at, so we're out of luck with that. Rob stops someone on the street and makes his boxing-stance gesture (translation: "where is the Lumphini ring", and I think the dude thought we wanted to brawl right there on the street). We're passing old ladies setting up for a street fair thinking we *must* be close since they're prepping for all the crowds, right???


Or not... we eventually find the place about 10 minutes down the road. It's a huge stadium (see?). We're such idiots. All the setting up and prep by the local people was for their dinner-time market. Ha!

Anyway, we've been warned by The Book that the ticket buying process is full of scammers and hustlers so of course we're super skeptical of this Thai guy who speaks perfect English trying to sell us VIP tickets. The Book told us to go second tier ("VIP is for tourists, 2nd tier is for locals!"), and this guy is telling us the book is crazy; the fights tonight won't be crowded; we're betting off getting VIP tickets and getting closer.

Being the smart and savvy travelers we are, we brush off our English speaking friend and do what The Book says... 2nd tier tickets please, for a whopping 1800 B ($60 US - twice the cost of our hotel room for a night!). (btw, it's a well known secret that if you speak Thai, you get in cheap. If you speak English, etc. your tickets are exponentially more expensive.)


Anyway, so tickets in hand. It's about 5:30p. Fights start at 6p... we figure we'll roll in at 8p, maybe kill an hour or so taking a tour through the park and then arrive just in time for the MAIN EVENT?


Hey, here we are strolling through the park. The park is maybe 10 blocks x 10 blocks in size? As we're walking past the people jogging and pushing strollers (feels a lot like Central Park, btw... beautiful grass, water, er, palm trees), we see all these people dancing in unison at the far end of this field. Hmmm....

So we walk over to check it out. As we get closer it's clear that they're all exercising - two people in the front with mics and everyone else dancing along. Kind of like old Disney Mousersize workout videos, but with *hundreds* of people!

And then we get a little closer (actually sitting on a rock about 25 feet away watching) and I realize that all the music is from DDR (er, Dance Dance Revolution) and that they moves they're doing are all DDR dances (where the goal is to step on one of 9 "keys", arranged like a mobile phone layout). Look! You can see it in the video! Weird, right?

And then, all the sudden the music stops, and this booming voice comes over the loudspeaker (in Thai) and everyone stands up and some song other plays. No one is dancing. And Rob and I (who are already in awe over the whole Massively Multiplayer DDR thing) have no idea what's going on...


... until we see in The Book (er, 3 days later) that at 6pm every day they play the National Anthem throughout Bangkok in all public spaces while everyone stands and faces South (?). Oh, and by the way, *not* doing this is apparently a huge sign of disrespect. Of course, me and Rob and staring North, sitting on this rock, eating the Thai equivalent of Junior Mints and talking smack about their DDR dance techniques. Oops. Next time, I promise!

Okay, moving on. It's around 7p, we're getting bored, we figured we'll roll into the fights, watch a few boring matches and score some good seats for the MAIN EVENT.


Though by the time we got in, the stadium was EMPTY (except for those VIP seats which are of course filled with tourists). We are literally two of *four* people sitting in the 2nd tier. (um, we - suckers)


And then we check out the lineup - even though we only showed up an hour late (fashionable!), we're already 2/3 of the way through the 7 fight lineup! Oh, and there there's no main event. There's no heavyweights. Shit, these are MIDDLE SCHOOL KIDS! (116 pounds was the heaviest!)

But you know what, it was still pretty awesome. Five rounds, three minutes each. As each round starts, this live band (!!) on the sidelines starts playing (yeah, just like SF2!) and as the round gets closer and closer to closing, the music gets faster and faster and faster. And the kids aren't f'ing around either - any of these fighters (even the 75 pound 5th graders) could have *crushed* us.


So despite the stadium being *empty*, the crowd was into it. The corners were into it. And the 15 or so working-class Thai's that were sitting waaaay back in the 2nd tier cheap seats were into it. Apparently, common knowledge (er, apparently except for us) is that TUESDAY nights are the big fight nights. Weekends (er, including Sundays) are for tourists and suckers. But whatever, it was still pretty awesome.

So, with the fights over a good, well, two hours ahead of the little schedule we had in our heads (we're such suckers), we had plenty of time to go and meet Argo, Ann, Soco and the rest of the ITP crew that was in Bangkok for dinner (more on that in a second). We were cutting it kind of tight on time - quickest way across town? TUK TUK!


So we hailed some guy right outside Lumphini Park who raced us across town. You ever see that Seinfeld bit where he's taking about taxi drivers in NYC? "These guys will take chances with your life for $5 dollars that you wouldn't take for $5000 dollars. And it's all happens behind that glass partition - almost like you're watching it on TV". Anyway, that's what our trip across town was like.

Imagine being in a wagon that's being towed by a dirt bike. That's kind of what it's like. Same sound, same exhaust. And even though the things are partially covered, there's no seat belt, nothing really to hang onto at all. If we were to flip or crash or whatever, we'd easily be thrown 50 feet... especially at the speeds this guy was racing at. We actually got some air over this one bridge (twice!). To be honest, I think the dude saw my digicam in the rearview mirror and started hamming up his driving skills for the photo opp.

Anyway, a quick stop to drop off our shit at the hotel before heading back to Khao San Road...


... where we met up w/ the ITP crew. Mark and Ann (who live in Bangkok) set up this dinner a place called "It Happened to Be a Closet" (kind of perfect considering the restaurant, er dinner table, is literally a room that's in the back of this clothing store). The place is tucked down some random alley, right of Khao San, and ironically right around the corner from where Rob and I were boozing till 4am the night before).

Okay, a quick worlds colliding moment here - everyone in this pic was at NYU's ITP program during the two years I was there... and here we are all, on the other side of the world having dinner together on almost zero planning. Ha!

Left to right: me, Argo and Ann (living in Bangkok and working on all the interactive installations for the new Bangkok National Museum), Viv and Taku (in from Amsterdam), Nicole (in from South Korea) and Eric Soco (in from NYC, about a 4 min walk from where I'm typing this up right now).


Anyway, dinner was amazing. Easily one of the best meals we've had the whole trip. I went splitty-splitty w/ Rob on the ravioli and pork chops. Soco and Taku were knee deep in some black squid sauce pasta (which - surprise surprise - turns your mouth pitch black). We ordered up multiple rounds from Delicious Dessert City (I stole this pic from Soco, so thanks!)


By the way, if you find yourself in Bangkok, make a reservation! (no walk ins)

It Happened to be a Closet
32 Khao San Rd.
662 629 5271

And, while I'm at it, lemme take a second to pimp the Royal Hotel which was also pretty good to us (about $30 US/night! Free breakfast! Pool!)

Royal Hotel
Rajdamnerm Avenue
tel: 662 222 9111



Post dinner, Ann whisked us away in an caravan of Tuk-Tuks - leading us down to this secret rooftop bar right on the water...


... which overlooked the Temple of Dawn across the river. Of course the pic I took sucks...


... so lemme refer you to this one I stole from Soco (sorry again, man! original, Flickr)

If you're in Bangkok, come grab a drink here! Er, though finding it may be kind of a crap shoot. Hint: On the back side of Wat Po (the side facing the river) there's an entryway to the temple rounds. Directly across the street from the entryway is a dead end street. At the end of the street is a restaurant (on the right). Climb the steps to find the rooftop bar. Good luck with that.

Annnddn, that's the end of Sunday. Oh wait, we went back to Khao San, hit up the tourist bars again (late night American hip hop dance party filled with frat guys and the Lady Boys that love them? We stayed till 4am).



Our last day in Bangkok. Flight to Krabi isn't till 6pm so we've got a whole day to kill. We packed and checked our bags (Mom, sorry, but your cookies got all smooshed - we had to abandon them at the Royal) and headed off to...


... the SNAKE FARM! We read about this one in The Book, and put it on our Must Do lists (though *only* after we realized that Tiger Temple was 2 hours outside the city - wah!). Anyway, so we rolled up, paid our 200 Baht ($6! Expensive!) and walked around the grounds... at little disappointing at first. Kind of like going to a zoo and seeing nothing but snakes - lots of closet-sized terrariums with very little going on inside. Yawn.

The woman selling tickets suggested we go inside and listen to the snake lecture that was going on, so we gave that a try for a few minutes before Rob got *spoken to* for taking photos on the PowerPoint presentation. So then we just milled outside for a while. We were just about ready to get out of there when the guy giving the lecture started leading everyone outside to this little amphitheater where he was about to start some snake show. We decided to stick around for just a few more minutes...


... which turned out to be the greatest idea of all time. The guy in the yellow is the main lecturer - the one that yelled at Rob a few paragraph ago - some Thai guy who speaks pretty solid English though with a pretty thick accent. As is talks, he has his handlers bring out these snakes, one species at a time and he introduces each one:

"Does anyone know which country has the Fourth. Most dangerous. Snake. In. The world? If you guessed Thailand. You. Would. Have been. Correct!"


Meanwhile, little kids are running over and trying to pet the snakes while the handler as struggles to keep both the snakes and the kids under control - they're poisonous! The whole purpose of the Snake Farm (there was a Red Cross sign on the entrance) is to "milk" the snakes for their venom which is then used for creating snake bite antidotes! Kids, look out!



Meanwhile, while we're now 100% captivated by guy presenting (man, I wish I knew his name) and the handlers who are managing the snakes and little kids, the *other* handlers are pushing through the crowd that's standing on the side of the amphitheater (er, us and the rest of the late-comers)... pushing through the crowd holding the World's. Most dangerous. Snakes. by the neck!

Example; As we're watching, this soft spoken guy behind us is all "excuse. excuse" which of course we don't hear until catch a little of the the HHHIIIIIIISSSSSSSSSSSS of these two GIANT KING COBRAS that he's holding in his hands! WTF!


The King Cobras (Most. Venomous. Snake. In. The. World. btw) get dropped on the group and instantly start going after the handler - standing almost thigh high and striking this guy's boot over and over in a pseudo-synchronized manner. Pretty awesome.

Of course at the end they bring out the 22 foot Python (Third. Longest python. In the world.) to wrap around our necks. Rob was literally one of the last kids to man up and get the his python wrap on. I did it too (Rob, get me that pic!). Some little four year old girl was first in line. Ha!


And post-Snake Farm? Back to the mall of course! (MBK!) Nick and Marc.J suggested experiencing the Bangkok VIP movie theater experience - and we were a little sightsee'd out - so we caught the VIP edition of the hit movie "National Treasure 2" (amazing, or, er, not really). VIP seats = kind of a disappointment... where were all the folks serving us free food and drink? All we got were blankets and a really comfy Lazy-E-Boy seat (in which we got to watch the King's National Anthem / propaganda video post-previews, pre-movie... and yes, everyone stands up. Think: baseball National Anthem meets movie theater).

Post-movie = food court to a hotel bag pickup to the airport!

So remember, the "zero itinerancy" party of this story? The only plans were to have a rad New Years and then somehow make it back to Bangkok for our flight to Kuala Lumur on the 2nd? Well, we currently have a one way flight to the beautiful beaches of Krabi and currently no way of getting back to Bangkok. While at the airport, we chatted up some travel agent folk in search of flights back... nothing from Krabi (etc) to Bangkok till at least January 3rd. Which leaves us with a few sketchy options: (a) try to find a 10 hour train ride back to Bangkok, try to find a 15 hour bus / pickup truck ride back or (c) find someway to skip the flight and cross over into Malaysia by heading through the dodgy areas of southern Thailand (click it).

Ah, we'll figure all that out later! We've got Krabi-time to look forward to!


Wait, which one is our flight again?


Oh yeah! To Krabi!

(ps: next update sometime Sunday - after my Vimeo account refreshes its upload quota!)

ps: Go to Part 2!

Fri 1/18 @ 6:19 PM | # link| Comments (0)
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