Hello from sunny/rainy Bangkok, Thailand! We made it here…eventually.
In the past week, we’ve touched down in three countries. God it feels good to be on the move again. After a few sad goodbyes to our friends in Mount Maunganui and lots of cider and dancing at Mount Mellick, Ric and I left our New Zealand home of seven months for Auckland.
We’ve lived in New Zealand for the past 14 months and only spent a few days in Auckland here and there, so we thought it best to spend some time touring the country’s biggest city before leaving. Though I must admit we did more eating there than touring.
I think we were really ready to get to Asia, because throughout our “last day in New Zealand” all we did was eat Asian food. It started with pork buns in the morning, continued with Korean pancakes as a midday snack and finished with Teriyaki Noodles at Food Alley on Albert Street (Thanks to Henry Lee at Fotoeins Fotopress for the suggestion). Each meal was cheap and delicious.
After catching up with one of Ric’s friends from Port Douglas over $NZ5 Heinekens at Father Ted’s, we headed to bed early to be well-rested for a full day of flying or so we thought…
We arrived at the airport the next day buzzing about the start of our five-month vacation. We checked in, ate breakfast and bought sushi for our meal-less 10-hour Jet Star flight to Singapore. We even boarded the plane. But after about 30 minutes of sitting on it and putting up with an awful screeching noise, the captain announced that the mechanical problem on the plane was a lot worse than they first anticipated and that we would have to get off for about an hour while it was being fixed. Nek Minute: “We’re sorry to announce that Flight JQ217 to Singapore has been canceled.”
I felt my stomach drop, but thought, we’re still on vacation and we’ll just get there tomorrow. Though the delay was gutting, I must say that Jet Star really looked after us. They put everyone on the canceled flight up in a nearby Holiday Inn and provided us with breakfast, lunch and dinner, completely free. Our hotel room had a king-size bed with goose-down pillows and meals were served buffet style. We were happy.
The next day, it was time to try again. Everything went to plan. Jet Star even gave us complimentary meals on the plane. You usually have to pay for everything on the budget airline. After ten-hours we touched down in Singapore, where our excitement turned to exhaustion. I slept through our two-hour flight to Bangkok and still woke up exhausted.
Luckily Luke, one of Ric’s best friends from home, was waiting at the airport for us. It was great to finally meet him after chatting with him on skype for over two years. He’s been living out here with his girlfriend Felicity for the past year, teaching.
We’ll be staying with them while in the city and their apartment is absolutely amazing. Centrally located, extremely roomy, nice bed, even better views of the city and a rooftop pool. I don’t think life could get any better.
As usual, arrival excitement fueled my body through the night, as we dropped off our bags and headed out at about 10 p.m. for some drinks. After a few at a restaurant next door to their apartment, we got right into the nightlife and headed to Soi Cowboy, which is one of Bangkok’s seediest streets. I forgot how much fun it was to just sit in a bar and watch people here. Thai guys on motorbikes, decrepit 70-year-old men with gorgeous 20-something Thai girls, neon lights, food carts. You really never know what to expect at night here.
Luke warned us with our fourth Chang beer how bad the hangover is from it, but we kept going anyway. He was right. I think that’ll be the last Chang I’ll ever drink. It’s worth paying a few baht more to not feel as terrible as I did the following day.
Our first official day in Thailand was spent lounging, wandering about MBK, eating as much street food as humanly possible and saying, “We’re here,” every ten minutes. I even fit in a one-hour Thai massage for THB200 (about $US6). It felt like my masseuse was pushing for cracks the entire massage. Finally at the end my back completely released, clicking for about ten seconds as she bent my body back over her knees.
At night we had a few drinks at home then took our first ride on the sky train to Soi 38, where everybody ordered something different from the 12 stalls on the street. I tried egg noodle wontons with crab meat. Another amazing meal less than THB100 ($US3).
I didn’t want the day to end, but jet lag completely took over my body. It was time for bed.
As I write this, I sit next to a napping Ric and keep looking out at what is by far one of my favorite cities in the world. Still on New Zealand time, we woke up at about 6 a.m. this morning and have already spent three hours just wandering around. I don’t know if it was the condensed milk coffee or the two bottles of water I drank this morning to counter an extremely spicy breakfast, but I feel absolutely amazing.
I didn’t think it was possible, but I love this city even more. It just feels like home. No schedule or plans, I think today we might spend a few hours sunbathing and swimming on the roof, visit a drag show later and just see where the night takes us. Like I wrote before, I don’t think life could possibly get any better.
Lots of Love,