Archive for the ‘Bankok’ Category

Feels Like Home to Me

Sunday, May 8th, 2011

My last day in Thailand was one that was full of waiting. We had to be checked out of our hotel rooms by 11 am, but our flight didn’t leave until 8pm, meaning we would not be leaving the hotel until around 5, so we had a full day to fill. Lindsay and I woke up, packed, checked out of our room, put our bags into storage and went down to breakfast with Anneka and Danielle. The hotel breakfast at the Phuket Mariot was absolutely incredible. Not only did they have pancakes, waffles, and omelets that were made to order, but they had a whole station of freshly baked breads of different varieties and a whole table of different spreads for it. They also had an entire buffet of nothing but fruit and fruit juices, on top of a section of the room devoted to thai foods, all prepared from scratch. I thought I had died and was dining in heaven. Between heaping forkfuls the four of us unanimously agreed that this breakfast surpassed the on in Chiang Mai that had perviously held the top stop for best hotel breakfast on the trip.

After stuffing ourselves silly we headed back out into the market area with the goal of finding a place for Lindsay to get a massage. Once we had price compared up and down the street she settled on a massage parlor that wasn’t too far away from the hotel and she purchased two massages, and since this was going to take two hours and the three of us weren’t interested in spending any more money we headed back to the hotel to lounge by the pool. Not wanting to break back into our luggage to fish out our swimsuits we sat poolside dangling our feet in the water. Eventually the sun got high enough in the sky that I took solace on a reclining beach chair under an umbrella, and promptly drifted into a glorious sleep. Danielle and Anneka followed suit and we all napped poolside for an hour and a half before going back to the massage parlor to find Lindsay. Not wanting to spend any more time outside due to the sweltering midday heat, we sat inside the hotel lobby and read Thai newspapers, which, like every other publication in the world during that week, were obsessively turning out articles about the royal wedding. We hung out in the hotel lobby for quite  a few hours, chatting, reading newspapers, writing postcards and checking the clock every once in a while to see how much longer we had to wait. As the afternoon progressed more and more kids from our group joined us, and by the time 5 oclock rolled around everyone was more than ready to load into the vans to go to the airport. Once there, we had more waiting to do before boarding our domestic flight back north to Bankok so we could then catch our international flight back to Sydney.

Lindsay and Danielle sitting in the Airport, sad to go leave, but excited to go home.

While we were sitting in the Phuket airport I kept catching myself saying “I can’t wait to get home” but talking about Sydney, not about Springfield. I can remember being home at different points during my freshman year of college and having my mom say “How are you getting home?” and me always correcting her saying, “I am home, I’m going back to school.” I never really felt at home at UMW during my freshman year, but over time of course this changed. My apt with Sydney has really taken on a homey feel. I feel comfortable and welcome there.While Sydney lacks the presence of my biological family I have crafted for myself another family made up of friends from all over the United States.

After our ten hour flight back to Australia I arrived back at my apt and was greeted with hugs and smiles and lots of questions about my trip. I was really excited to see Lindsay and Yaella and catch up with Jill and the other kids who hadn’t been on the Thailand trip. I really feel like all of us Glebe residents have formed a family. Some of my favorite memories from being in Sydney have been the nights where I have stayed in chatting with my fellow Glebians. I have so enjoyed living in my apt with Courtney, Kaela and Jill and have spent so many nights up till four in the morning having the kind of laugh out loud conversations that seems like they could have come straight out of an episode of “Sex and the City.” I really enjoy being here, so much so that it has become a second home for me. A place where I feel completely comfortable and am excited to return to at the end of a long trip. I will be truly sad to say goodbye to everyone here when the semester comes to a close. I have really enjoyed being a Glebian.

It feels like home to me, it feels like home to me
It feels like I’m all the way back where I come from
It feels like home to me, it feels like home to me
It feels like I’m all the way back where I belong

By Land, Air, Longboat, and Tractor

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

Our last morning in Chiang Mai was an early one, we ate one more amazing hotel breakfast and then loaded into busses for the trip to the airport. We flew from Chiang Mai to Bankok, where we met a connecting flight to the Island of Krabi. Getting off our first flight into the Bankok airport was quite an ordeal, as it was thunder storming quite violently when we landed and so they could not bring out the long metal tubes to get the passengers off the plane and into the airport for fear of them being hit by lightning. However, the personel at the Bankok airport were able to very efficiently resolve this matter by brining rolling covered staircases up to the front and rear exits of the plane and getting everyone off after only having to wait for about twenty minutes. Our layover in the Bankok airport was less than an hour and by the time we landed in Krabi we were greeted with a stifling heat and humidity so thick it felt like we had walked into someone’s mouth.

Waiting for us at the arrivals gate were representatives from the Railay Bay Resort who were holding a huge banner that said “Welcome Study Australia Students.” They escorted us out to the parking lot where we placed our checked luggage into a van that would deliver it to the hotel we would stay at in Phuket, and we were left with only our backpacks, packed with the essentials that we would need for the next three days. The reason for this downsizing in luggage was because the bus then took us to a dock where we all loaded into two long boats, which were not big enough to hold all of our checked luggage.

Views even from the dock were absolutely incredible. All the posters and postcards you have ever seen with images of crystal clear blue water with jagged vegetated mountains in the background and the wooden longboats in the foreground was exactly the reality I found myself in. It was incredible and I was wide eyed and blinking hard trying to take it all in.

Other longboat headed for the resort

view from the longboat ride

more mountain outcroppings

It looked like we were on the set of "Lost" except it was REAL

Longboats are everywhere in coastal Thailand

Almost there!

The estuary side of the peninsula

We had arrived!

When we arrived the tide was on its way out, so a tractor with a large platform on wheels backed out from the shore to our boat and we all loaded onto it and it took us the remaining 40-60 feet to the sidewalk lining the beach. We were given some sort of iced guava juice and cold washcloths upon arrival and were then given keys and sent to check out our rooms. What I did not realize was that this was no ordinary hotel, this was a RESORT. A resort whose predominant clientele base is honeymooners, so the rooms were designed in accordance with that demographic group, meaning every aspect of the room was designed for optimal private honeymoon…activities.

Every "room" was really more of a one bedroom apt, each with a private entrance.

Each room had a private entrance, and a private enclosed patio that surrounded it. It also had a doorbell outside.

Once inside, each room had a private deck area complete with two reclining chairs, two patio chairs, an outdoor shower, and a small hot tub.

Hot tub/outdoor shower

We totally had a moat, the ultimate in honeymooner suite security

Our moat had fish in it, I don't think they were flesh eating, but hey, you can't have everything right?

Bedroom, notice how low and wide the bed is. Like I said- DESIGNED for private honeymoon activities

These rooms were so obviously designed for sex it was hysterical. The shower was HUGE and had a super wide bench seat in it and everything was private and enclosed. If you wanted to have your room made up every day you had to turn on a light that indicated that, otherwise the maids wouldn’t come in. I half expected the mini fridge to be stocked with gatorade and power bars and have a complimentary basket of condoms next to it. Shortly after checking in and throwing our stuff down we all changed into bathing suits and went exploring. There were two pools at the resort, one that was very close to our room and one that was overlooking the beach. After a swim we enjoyed a complimentary buffet style dinner on the beach at sunset, and once the sun went down tiki torches and candles were lit and we enjoyed our dessert via candlelight. After dinner it was dark and a fire spinner came out and did a routine for us, collectively it was the most scenically stunning dinner experience I have ever had.

One of two pools

A monkey. You know, just hanging out.

hotel bar

Sunset over the Andaman Sea

The water was so clear, and so pleasantly warm.

Where we ate dinner that night. It was a complimentary meal provided by the hotel for our group.

Lindsay, Anneka and I about to enjoy our dinner on the beach

Me, Lindsay, Anneka and Danielle on the beach at sunset

Fire dancer

After we had eaten our fill of dinner and finished it off with the freshest pineapple and dragon fruit I have ever tasted we went back to our rooms to shower and change with the intention of checking out some of the nightlife. Danielle and Anneka came over to our room and chatted with Lindsay and I as we got ready, but somebody turned the TV on and because this resort is fancy as hell they had all sorts of movie channels so we got sucked into watching “The Blind Side” on HBO and by the time it ended and we headed out it had started to rain. We ignored the rain at first and kept walking towards the bars but pretty soon the drizzly rain had evolved into a full on torrential downpour. That seems to happen a lot in Thailand. Before we reached any of the bars we decided to turn back, and ran all the way back to our rooms in the pouring rain returning completely soaked but laughing hysterically. So much for blow drying my hair. Since it was almost midnight at this point we all decided to turn in and vowed to get up early the next day to thoroughly explore the island and get in some time on the beach.

Thai: Smooth As Silk

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

The night before leaving for Thailand I slept a grand total of three hours, but fortunately for me my wonderful roommates pushed me out of bed and we were all out the door by seven am to go to the airport. Me, Kayla, Courtney, Jordan, Lindsay, and Ian were all going on the Thailand trip and all the girls were ended up sitting downstairs in the cab for a good ten minutes while we waited for the boys to show up. We all remarked on the oddity of this, little did we know that waiting on Jordan and Ian was to become a major pastime of our Thailand adventure. We got to the airport, checked in, and within two hours were sitting on our group flight to Bankok, Thailand. Everything about Thai air was purple. The blankets and pillows were purple, every third seat was purple and the airplane was just generally quite colorful.

"Thai: Smooth As Silk", and o so purple

We were served two full meals and a small snack on our flight which was about ten hours, but after the twenty one hour marathon flight from LAX to Sydney, everything else feels paltry by comparison. The in flight meals were actually quite good, I mean as far as airline flight goes anyway. One of the side dishes in the first meal we got was a crab meat salad with cucumber and corn. Not that I ate it being  a vegetarian, but I still found it impressive that an airline meal included crab meat. The second meal had stir fried noodles with shrimp and vegetables, and I didn’t eat the shrimp but I was told they were quite good as well.

The seats were so brilliantly colored. On our airplane we had yellow seats too.

After our ten hour flight to Bankok we had some time to hang out in the Bankok airport and then we boarded another one-hour flight to Chang Mai. While in the Bankok airport I changed my $200 AUD into just over $6,000 baht. I felt so rich carrying around that much money in my wallet. In the airport we found a Burger King, Auntie Annes, Subway, McDonalds, Dairy Queen, and a Starbucks, globalization at its finest. By the time we got off our flight in Chang Mai it was nighttime, and our group of 45 kids and our one fearless leader, Christinan, were loaded into a caravan of small red passenger trucks.

Garden outside the Bankok Airport

Our transportation for our travels in Chang Mai

We were taken from the airport to a Thai restaurant near the hotel that already had tables set for us. We had our first authentic thai meal family style and then headed to the Imperial Pink Hotel to check in.

Family style Thai meal

Cool lantern in the center of the restaurant

First authentic Thai meal post 10 hour flight

I think some people did go out that first night, but after a full day spent trying and failing to sleep on planes and very little sleep the night before I was ready for a shower and a sleep so that is exactly what I did so I could greet my first day in Chang Mai bright eyed and bushy tailed.