Saturday, November 22, 2008

Trying to get to Sukothai (Thursday, 10/23)

The Four Faced Buddha shrine in the middle of Bangkok

(across the street is the site of one of the 2006 new year's eve bombings)

The next morning I wake up to my alarm at 7:30am, decide I am not going to try and make the morning train with a bunch of the other hashers, and fall back asleep. I wake up again at noon, and stumble into the kitchen half-awake to find Gift in the same condition as myself. I find out that she normally wakes up at 5:30am, but today is a national holiday and she must have needed the sleep, because she only woke up a few minutes before I did. I decide that I am going to take the 2:30 train, so I have some time to kill. We sit around eating breakfast, talking about ourselves and the world, and just generally chilling at her place for a while. After a while I look at my watch again and realize it is already 2:15. Shit. Oh well, I guess I will take the 5:30 train.

We both decide that we are done with sitting around inside, and Gift offers to show me around town so I accept. We walk down the street to one of her favorite restaurants and she orders for us. She orders some spicy foods because she wants to see if I can handle it. Ironically, one of the dishes is too hot for her, but happens to be one of my favorites. While we are eating, a monsoon rolls through, but luckily it finishes up by the time we leave the restaurant. After lunch we wonder down to big park in the center of the city (similar to central park). One of the lakes in the park is swarming with Monitor Lizards like we might see geese back in the states. Some of the lizards are massive and while I am squatting at the edge of the water trying to get some good pictures, one enormous lizards surfaces right in front of me for an up close encounter.

The huge monitor lizard that surfaced right in front of me
(The picture does not do it justice; this thing was huge)

After wondering around the city for a couple hours, we get to the train station. Gift helps tremendously in translating for me, but I find out that the 5:30 train has been canceled, and unless I want to buy a first class ticket on the 8:00pm train, the only other option is to get a third class ticket on the 10pm train. I opt for the third class ticket and we leave the train station determined to kill some more time. We unanimously decide that ice-cream is probably the best course of action, so we start walking towards a place she knows about. We end up in a section of Bangkok famous to the locals for having good street food. We are on a desert mission, so we pick up some fried Chinese pastries from one cart, and head over to one of the shops for some ice-cream. Of all the choices of ingredients, I decide upon candied mango, jellied coconut, and sticky rice. I am expecting them to be mixed into the ice-cream in some way, but they just plop them in a bowl and throw a couple scoops of ice-cream in on top. Whatever. Surprisingly, the candied mango is my least favorite of the three ingredients. After that we wonder around some more, getting pastries, and going to the four-faced shrine where a bomb went off a couple years ago. After that we were both feeling pretty lazy, so we decided to grab some snacks at a Seven-Eleven, and head back to her place to watch a movie. I am determined not to miss the last train of the day, so at 9:15 I say goodbye to Gift and catch a taxi to the train station.

Some Chinese pastries being cooked by a street vendor

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