We found ourselves back in Bangkok this weekend, this time to meet a team that brought us two fifty-pound bags of treasures! Here are the highs & lows of our little jaunt.
Low: Our lives here require us to travel often, whether it is for paperwork, rest, medical, visiting “home”, teaching; the list goes on. Travel, in and of itself, is a low.
High: We got two huge bags of goodies! This includes two studio monitors that Stephen bought with a grant for a new project coming soon—more on that later, but just know that this is a dream long in the making, and we are really excited to see it coming together tangibly.
Low: As the team was splitting into four teams to go in different directions, it was discovered that they had picked up an extra bag that wasn’t theirs. Since they had to go catch a flight, Stephen & I offered to turn it in for them. This was a bad idea.
Low: I was tempted to just leave it, but we decided we should do the right thing and return it. This was a bad idea.
Low: When we went to the desk, they were very concerned that we had a bag that wasn’t ours and we didn’t have a boarding pass. Ultimately, I’ll just say they took Stephen back behind security and ended up charging us $15 for the whole scenario. It is scary to have people suspicious of you in an airport.
Low: Once we finally left the airport, we realized that two huge bags of fifty pounds each plus a backpack of our clothes for this trip is a lot to get on the subway. For an hour.
Low: Two huge bags of fifty pounds each plus a backpack is a lot to get to the hotel just one kilometer from the subway station. The wheels also happened to not be great quality and quit on us at the airport, leaving us to drag all hundred pounds of goodies as a dead weight down the street in the blazing sun.
Low: We arrived very, very sweaty.
Low: We couldn’t find the hotel, but were greeted by a security worker asking us very rapidly if we were staying at C U Inn Bangkok, which we were. He then smiled and pointed down this creepy alleyway.We drug our bags down said alleyway, muttering something to each other about possibly being robbed but hoping it might reveal this really lovely hotel we saw online. We were not robbed, nor did we find a beautiful hotel entrance. He led us to an unmarked door with glazed glass and we ridiculously followed him inside, muttering something to each other about the new possibility of dying.
High: It was the hotel! And it was beautiful! A great deal, a great experience, and named C U Inn Bangkok, which is a pretty impressive play on words for someone’s second language. We might comment on Agoda that they should not lead people in through the alley…
High: The amazing bag of goodies revealed things well worth the kilometer walk of death!
High: We rested. This is so difficult in Mae Sot, let alone when our house is our ministry. It was so nice to sleep in a comfortable bed with an oh-so-soft comforter around me in paid-for aircon (which means Stephen has it low). I can’t tell you how nice it was to sleep and not wake up to children outside the window! While I love the children outside the window, the screaming games are a brutal wake up call. So are the street dog fights in the middle of the night. …It was just really nice to sleep really well.
High: This guy. He’s the best travel companion. We have fun together and we laugh.
High: We went to purchase a used item for Stephen’s big we-will-announce-it-soon project, and the store owner had forgotten we were coming. It was not packed nor ready for us, but he offered to ship it to us in Mae Sot for free! This is one less thing to get on the bus with us and one step closer to this project happening, so that’s a win.
Low: Chatachuk Park. I really don’t like this place. First, let me tell you this: Chatachuk Park is right by the bus station we arrive into in Bangkok. On the other side of it is a subway station to the rest of the city, including the airport. Three or four times in the past, we have attempted to walk from the bus station through Chatachuk Park to the subway station to save money on a taxi. Every time we have failed. The park is a maze, with very, very few entrances and exits. Sometimes, we couldn’t figure out how to get in the park, and ended up walking many kilometers around it. Other times we got in but then couldn’t get out. After multiple “adventures” of walking, sweating, carrying huge amounts of luggage, and ultimately failing, we usually end up in a taxi. Or back where we started. (As you can tell, the walking, sweating, & carrying luggage is a very common theme to our Bangkok trips.) We have since agreed together that we will never try to walk through Chatachuk Park, but we will pay the taxi whatever he would like. Despite what Google maps tells us, this is not a good short-cut plan.
This trip, our hotel is near to the bus station and Chatachuk Park. We thought we’d head out this morning and enjoy a run in the park in the middle of the city. The park begins approximately 40 meters outside of our hotel, but it is gated, so we started to walk along the fence to find an entrance. It should be close, right? They want you to be able to get in, right? Or maybe not. We had to walk 1 kilometer along the park fence, eyeing the park from the outside, before we could get in. We also couldn’t even climb the fence because there is a moat around the park. A gated, moated park? Who is trying to get in here that it requires this much protection?So I’m done with Chatachuk.
High: Pala Pizza, a little stop just off of the subway, where we had an amazing little dinner! We loved the brie & speck pizza, plus a five-cheese that included brie & gorgonzola. So delicious.
Low: We tried all weekend to contact a friend from the community who is now living in Bangkok, hoping to meet her for dinner. We called Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, plus text messages and attempts to send her money to her phone in case she couldn’t call us back. We didn’t hear anything until early Sunday morning, at which point we had multiple miscommunications and couldn’t determine where in Bangkok she lived—in the actually city, or just within an hour? “Bangkok” is a very loose term in our neighborhood. Anyway, it didn’t work. This was a pretty big disappointment.
High: We went to Chinatown on our last morning in search of two odd little electronic pieces Stephen needs for his project. It was such a fun adventure to spend two hours wondering around Chinatown, asking store after store if they carried this random, tiny little piece. They often said no, but go ____. So we went ____ and they said to go _____. We did this many, many times, and then we found this guy. He understood exactly what we wanted and knew exactly where it was in his very full, very oddly organized store. It was a great morning.
Low: Our bus ride back was probably the worst we’ve had in nearly five years. Cockroaches were crawling out of the hardware in front of us and at our feet, but after killing three within five minutes we decided it was a lost cause. We also had the worst driver yet, which made sleeping very difficult for both fear and generally feeling like you were tipping repeatedly. We both arrived to Mae Sot exhausted and nauseous.
High: A morning nap when you are really, truly exhausted is really rewarding, so we enjoyed that before diving back into life by taking someone to the hospital and welcoming the kids into our home!