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To Bangkok or Bust...and we Busted

Bangkok, Thailand

The hour leading up to us missing our flight on Monday from Phuket to Bangkok should have been the worst part of this trip so far, but somehow we were able to turn it into something (kind of) fun!

We started the day figuring out the best way to ship our new 45kg Buddha statue that was delivered to us the night before. We knew that we would have to spend a little time figuring this out, so we had the woman at the Hilton business center help us out. Around 9:30am we popped down to the business center and she had gotten us several quotes from FedEx, All Freight, and Thai Airways. Turns out 'All Frieght' was the cheapest, so we went with them. I wrote up a good comment card for the woman's manager because she was so helpful. Kris added some additional packing materials to secure Buddha, and All Freight came to take him away. The entourage that came to pick him up was quite interesting; two little guys, a girl, and a 'Lady-man' who was extravagantly waving his hands around and thanking us profusely for coming to Phuket and Welcome to Phuket (uh even though we told him we were on our way out of Phuket). They put it in the truck and we bid farewell. It should take 20 days to get Buddha at home. I think it was around noon at that point, and we already had our stuff packed and in the car ready to go, so we took off.

For as great as i am with directions (for those of you that don't know, i am damn near a human compass and I am always our navigator) I am just as fully aware that for whatever reason I suck at military time. If I had blogged at the time of our honeymoon, i would have written about the time we missed our ferry from Ibiza to Mallorca because I bought us two tickets for 01:00 (1AM) but I had Kris and I trekking to the ferry with all of our luggage that same day at 1PM (13:00) only to find out we had missed our ferry by 12 hours. I then proceeded to lose our first class tickets so we had to sit in the lower ferry deck with no a/c and Kris almost passed out and puked. Way to go Elaine. Ok so here is lesson #2 (I'm sure there have been more incidents in between here, but none as significant as these two).

I was sure that our flight was at 2:40pm, so on our hour drive to the airport, we decided to stop at the beach for a few minutes and get a bite to eat.
We got to a cool beachside restaurant when Kris decided to double check our flight time, and we discovered our flight was at 1:40pm (13:40), which was in an hour at that point! We were still at least half hour's drive drom the airport at that point. So we quickly got up and ran back to the car and took off as fast as we (safely) could. We pulled up to arrivals and I took our bags to the counter and checked in while Kris tried to return the rental car. Well Avis proved to be extremely difficult to find and we ended up leaving the car in the arrivals lane and pleading with them to get it for us! When it was all said and done, the Avis folks seemed to be in no hurry despite our time constraint and I think we missed our flight probably by about 4 minutes. We rallied pretty quickly and were able to get another ticket on a different airline that left in a half hour. I got my bag back, but Kris' was already on its way to Bangkok.Our original flight cost us $40 per ticket and our new flight cost $80, but I guess it could have been worse. We arrived in Bangkok to find Kris' lonely bag on the belt. The 30 minute cab ride cost us all of $9. I sure love how cheap this place is!!
At least we were in good spirits when we arrived and we got to the hotel just in time to still get some snack on the club floor :)

Our hotel, Hyatt Erawan, was in a pretty good central location within the city. The Erawan shrine was also right outside of our hotel. Tuesday we headed out to see a few of the famous 'wats', Buddhist temples. We really didn't take the time in Phuket to check any out from the inside, but that's probably just as well since we enjoyed the beach and water more and there is none of that in Bangkok.

First was the Grand Palace & Wat Phra Kaew, which houses the Emerald Buddha. The Buddha statue fell sometime in the 15th century, and its plaster cover cracked to reveal that it was made of solid jade. It was subsequently stolen by Laos invaders in the 16th and the Thais invaded Laos 200 years later to retrieve it back. The palace was built later to house the Buddha, and it's considered the country's most revered Buddha image. This was the largest wat and very impressive! To get into this wat and some others, men need to wear pants and t-shirt at least, and women need to wear pants or a skirt and cover their shoulders. We got stopped by some scammers telling us that we could not go in because we had shorts on, and that at noon, it would be open for us to wear shorts. He offered us a tuk tuk (little motorcycle taxi thingy) ride to the nearby tourist destinations and he had a Pitt hat on and wanted to talk about Pitt. Luckily I remembered reading in my Lonelyplanet book about this scam and we declined. Apparently they try to take you to all the fake gem places and other garbage. I told Kris I wanted some street credit ha! So the Grand Palace was in fact open and I had a scarf for my shorts and Kris got the 'loaner' pants they have there onsite (you can see our awesome clothes in the photos). So the guy's 'noontime shorts are ok' scam was a load of crap.

The second wat we visited was Wat Pho, home of the reclining Buddha. This represents Buddha's passing into nirvana. It's the longest Buddha at 46 meters long and 15 meters high! Huge!

The third wat we went to was Wat Saket, the Golden Mount. This wat was up on a hill so that you could see around the city which was cool. By this third wat, Kris was starting to pass out from heat exhaustion, so we went back to the hotel to rest up a little.

Kris' foot was still hurting him, so we got the hotel's mini medical office to fix it back up again with some more steri-strips which seemed to be working well. Then we headed to the mall across the street from us to get some air conditioned food. Kris says he had his best Tom Yum soup there. I got radish cake which I loved when I was in Taiwan but somehow this wasn't as good. We've also been eating a lot of raw Thai coconuts from the street vendors and we've gotten better at bargaining for them. We were paying up to 40 Baht and we ended up with getting them for 20 Baht.
I had always wanted to try a Thai yoga massage, so I later in the day, I looked up some reputable places to get a massage. A Thai massage is a little different, where it is like a passive yoga stretching with massage and you wear clothes. We picked Health Land and Kris got a regular massage for 90 mins at 850 Baht or 28USD and I got a 2 hour Thai yoga massage for only 450Baht or only 15USD! Kris didn't like his massage much and I couldn't tell if my massage was energizing, or if I got hit by a Mac truck. It was a bit intense and I think I may have bruised a muscle or two. I woke up Wednesday morning a little sore.

permalink written by  blondie on June 14, 2012 from Bangkok, Thailand
from the travel blog: Asian Persuasion - June 2012
tagged Thailand and Phuket

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