Check goes to sleeping in an airport. Many things we have checked on our tour around the world. Checked went to the biggest mountain we climbed, a checked went for first time eating larva, check went to the first time experiencing an earthquake and in Bangkok we checked off sleeping in an airport. Fast moving staircases, rapid people, full blast air-con and constant human talks in the background. Iza found her spot on the floor and I tried to get comfortable on metal seats. We arrived around 10:30pm from Kuala Lumpur and figured we can save money by sleeping one night in the airport. Good idea when you think about it, but not so good when it becomes reality. Hard cold floor, uncomfortable seats, and freezing temperatures. Plus, constant awakening freak outs “Where are my bags?? What is going on?? Where am I?” Nevertheless, sleeping in the Airport is checked off! First and last time we.
Don’t Be Fooled by the Nice People on the Streets of Bangkok. As my mama and papa came to visit us in Argentina last November, they got hungry for more touring and joined us for 3 more weeks in Thailand. They started their tour with a jet-leg and we were just floating with the unknown. Fresh and new to Thailand’s ways, disoriented we were approached be a lovely older lady. “Where would you like to go? Can I help you?” We informed her of our mission to the Grand Palace and asked what is the best way to get there. “Today there is a promotion, if you take a tuk-tuk with the yellow flag he will take you around for 10 bats each to 4 different places. Since it’s a Buddhist holiday all of these attractions are free today.” she pointed to our map, showed us where they were, and kept smiling. “Have you reserved any of your tickets for future travels? Or any tours? In TAT right here.” she pointed. “You can get better prices, it’s a travel agency away from all the other tourist agencies and its part of the government.” Everything she said sounded awesome, as we had no plans, and didn’t really know what to do, her plan just fell out of the sky and organized our first day in Bangkok. We took a tuk-tuk to the tallest Buddha, to the agency which organized our next week to the jungle. “Wow we got so lucky, people are really nice here” I said, with a smile. We heard from so many travelers that people in Thailand are super nice and are the best. Actually Iza and I burst out laughing after getting on the tuk-tuk with the yellow flag.
Little did we know, that she was totally scamming, I don’t know how but she was. After walking around in Bangkok we were approached by more smiling people who tried to gear us towards some sort of great promotion. Difference was that she was really good! Either way, I think it benefited us. But don’t be fooled, if they approach you, probably is a scam.
What can I say about Bangkok? Not my favorite city in the world, but it definitely has a character. There are around 9 million people living in Bangkok, a constant movement, of motorcycles, cars, buses, tuk-tuks and people. Early in the morning or late at night, Bangkok is alive with dust, sugar, shopping, food and tourists. Besides visiting the Grand Palace, taking a ride in the canals and eating some really good veggie food at May Kaidee’s, there is nothing else to my taste. Ahhh and it’s a fantastic place for shopping. It got me here! Many backpackers find themselves in and around the Khao San Road, the most touristy area in Bangkok. From the Geico Bar you can observe the madness and constant movement. We could not believe the flow of backpackers, leaving, coming and mingling. A backpacker invasion. These backpackers are different tall Europeans, good looking Europeans, our eyes, and necks were in round movement the entire time. Hello good looking people! HOT.
The Floating Market Around Bangkok. More like a floating tourist market. Anyhow, we gave it a go, end up getting picked up by a bus that took us to the the market. By the time we arrive after 9am the real market changed to serve the tourist. The prices were higher and the merchandise changed to suit the holidayers. Either way, it was a great sight, great photo opportunities. We had a choice to take a boat and maneuver through the busy hagglers or just walk around and observe everything from the side. We decided to walk around instead. We ate some food and it was fast come fast go. Total time of 2 hrs which is not much if you really want to sit and observe. A hint, if you really want to see the real market come early around 7am before the tourist arrive, that’s when the real market is in action. The market and the area was created by Chinese people who migrated earlier on and created all the canals and living spaces. Even with many tourist’s I think it’s still a worth place to visit. We have seen a bit on our travels and this is definitely a new sight for us. Skip the taxi and take a bus with an agency for half a day and pay only 250 baht.
Crazy Monkey Town, Lop Buri. After Bangkok and it’s surroundings we took off north, initial planning was to go down south to the highly recommended beaches by tour books. Due to the flooding and heavy rains we followed the sun and headed towards Chiang Mai. We stopped on the way in Lop Buri, 150km north-east of Bangkok. A city full of madness, where Thai people live along with the crazy Macaque Monkeys. The monkeys mainly occupied the Lop Buri Monkey Temple it’s about 800m from the railway station. Many people stop by on the way to Chiang Mai and check out the free roaming fuckers. It’s worth stopping and checking them out, but beware, they are not cute little monkeys that are harmless and behind bars! They are angry, ugly and bossy. They will fuss and puff at you, and chase you! They chased my mom, who freaked out and wanted nothing to do with them and the place. I’ve never seen fear in Iza’s eyes and when the monkey tried to attack her she was in another world. I laughed until one chased me and I ran for my life. Screw these little fuckers, they are ugly, full of diseases and will chase you for no reason. They don’t like to be photographed! So, 4 hours later we hopped back on the overnight train to Chiang Mai.
The 3 Day Jungle Trek Around Chiang Mai. As a family, Iza is officially part of Czersk’si clang, we got on a truck that headed to the jungle. One hour from Chiang Mai, we were on a river floating on bamboo shoots. A bamboo rafting trip. Lots of laughs, super wet from having fun, we ended the trip soaked and happy. Nice calm beginning to a 3 day journey.
After lunch we began our trek up the hill, our guide spoke no English so we had no idea what to expect. We just rolled with whatever. Up the hill down the hill. Sweat trickling down my body, Manika’s (my mom) face was shinning redness, as we continued to trek to the unknown up the hill. Between few breaks and more up the hill we finally arrived to our destination. In the middle of nowhere a waterfall a pretty one. we ate interesting pumpkin and slept together on hard wooden raised beds. Night was cold, the bed was hard, and one of the Serbs along with my father had a snoring battle. Next morning, barley seeing through my eyes we packed up and headed deeper into the jungle.
After many hills and sweats, and after a MSG lunch in a valley near the river, we continued to trek till we arrived at a jungle tribe village, where we stayed the night. A village where everything is made by hand, no electricity and no clean water. A village where all living things live in piece and belong in the food pyramid. The chics follow the chickens, the chickens follow the roosters, the roosters follow the pigs, the pigs follow the people. The people eat the pigs, that eat the chickens, and the chickens feed on shit. An organic living with immunity to bacteria and allergies. The kids are roaming, the woman beat the rice and the man walk the cows. At night, everything lives and breaths in the same place. It was not easy to use the bathroom in the middle of the night, as getting up the hill I had to cross through sleeping cows, pigs and shit. A primitive living, a living with pure joy of simply living. Laugh, sex and eating is all that keeps them going. The ripe fruit from the tree, the shitted egg, and the river shower is the norm for the kids who looked at us with a smile and offer their energy.
In the morning, once again barely seeing through my eyes we ate breakfast and headed towards the populated attraction, the elephants! We walked took a taxi and eventually arrived at the elephant riding camp. WOW. What area all these white people doing here?? What a difference just 2 hrs coming from the jungle. OK… let’s ride these amazing animals, these smart, wrinkled beauties. My mother was super excited, before she came all she talked about was the elephants. If it was just Iza and I, I don’t think we would have done it. But lets go! Lets do it. When I sat on these giants, I instantly regretted it. “This is a bad idea.” we were so high up, going down the hill fear was in my eyes as I held for my life. The elephants followed each other in a row, with ears flapping, they walk the road a million times, a robot action. Our elephant had a 6 month baby that was maneuvering between all the elephants legs. The highlight of the ride. They used they trunk to blow saliva and dirt at us. It was an hour of riding, holding tight and I couldn’t believe that we were doing it. There is nothing exciting about riding elephants. TRUST ME! Maybe, if I was in Safari in the wild where it’s just me and the elephant and the rest of the wilderness. In Thailand? It was way to touristy and I felt the animals were just being used. Yet another thing that is added to the checklist.
Cooking School at May Kaidee’s Vegetarian Restaurant. After returning to Chiang Mai we decided to taste the secret in Thai food. We wanted to know what truly makes Thai food one of the best cuisines in the world. All the travelers that we have met always told us “Ohh wait till you get to Thailand, the food there is absolutely incredible, is the best.” Yes, I have to agree, is definitely one of my favorite cuisines. Tum Yum, Pad Thai, Fresh Spring Rolls, Peanut Sauce, Papaya Salad, Mango Sticky Rice, Pumpkin Soup, and all the curries with coconut. They all have the “SAME, SAME” ingredients, but “DIFFERENT” taste. We went to one of our favorite restaurant in Thailand to learn the secret. May Kaidee was a restaurant that we found in Bangkok, but she has a sister who lives in Chiang Mai and is her twin in making people smile with her passion for food. We were lucky, as the day of cooking we were the only three students at her restaurant. Iza, Manika, and I, we started the class by going to the local market and learning all about the fresh ingredients that make up the flavors. They use all fresh, fresh, fresh veggies and spices. Chillies, thai ginger, sweet basil, lemon grass, garlic, tamarin, peanuts, cashew nuts, coconut milk, sugar and all fresh vegetables like chinese cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, baby corn, carrots, kale, mushrooms plus onion and tomato. All of their dishes are fresh and made just under 10 minutes. We learned 14 different dishes, all vegan and all without the use of MSG. Many vendors add MSG to favor the food on the streets. One ingredient that I am not crazy about is the use of sugar, sometimes is just too damn sweet.
Well spent 5 hours, cooking, laughing eating and learning. We ate so much that for the rest of the day I didn’t eat anything. I was good for dinner and next day’s breakfast. So, the secret my friends is Love and Fresh Ingredients!
Phuket, Krabi and Thai New Year! When the weather got sunny we headed south to where our original plan was, to Phuket and Krabi’s beaches. Phuket a prime tourist attraction. Holy Crap. Everything here is double the price. Our hotel was double the price and double less quality. To Iza and I this was norm, stinky room, uncomfortable bed and dirty walls, to my parents this was a nightmare. My dad has a sensitive nose so he was complaining, but he had no choice, they finally saw what we roll sometimes. He was also mesmerized by the use of tiles to decorate the bed. FUGLY. What we did in and around Phuket? Relaxed, tanned on the beaches of Raya Island and played Rummikub. Plus, we celebrated Thailand’s New Year.
Ohhh hold up!!!! I have to pause for this one. Now read this carefully!!!!! IF YOU COME TO THAILAND COME DURING THAI’s NEW YEAR! It’s absolutely a celebration that should not be missed. We were in Phuket and it was crazy, I hear that Chiang Mai is even more crazier. So, what happens? EVERYTHING HAPPENS! Drinking, partying and most importantly you are being cleaned and blessed by everybody and anybody. It’s a celebration that in some places lasts 3 days, and it’s all about getting people wet. Ohh sorry I mean cleaned from bad sins, by getting them wet. It was my papa, mama, Iza and I. Ready with guns full of water and ready to battle. Ohm I mean clean people. Actually it was far from being clean! It was dirty water taken from fountains, and anywhere there was a possibility to fill up the ammunition. The night before was a warm-up to what was going to happen the following day. We drank Thai rum, and battled with some jewish tourist’s that were clearly winning as they had extreme pressure and iced cold water. My eyes were under pressure. But we won the battle with Russians!!! POLSKA!
The following day, ohh man! This is when it really happened, the entire city of Phuket was crazy wet, locals, tourists, kids and transvestites. We were all playing the game, look, aim, and shoot. Additional to the water they were also putting nasty powder all over my face. In some cases it was toothpaste, and that was nasty. Million zits were in my head. Manika decided to take it easy, papa did some rounds with us and eventually the two Hot Soldiers remained at battled. We met people, blessed people and cleared their path. One bottle of rum, followed the next battle of rum, followed swimming in the dark in the ocean. We battled but bacteria won! Infections appeared and with stuffy nose, clogged ears and zits we continued to my parents last leg trip, Phi Phi Island.
Phi Phi Island is famous for the beach that is featured in the “Beach” movie with Leonardo DiCaprio. The beach does not look anything like I remember from the movie. It’s crowded with tourists and at the time when I saw it, had a low tide so it didn’t look impressive. But we took a snorkeling boat around the area and we all were amazed by the beauty and hip about Krabi. Crystal clear water, super cool fishes plus giant mountains of limestone. Mosquito Island had the best snorkeling and Bamboo Island had the best beach! Iza and I are black from the serious strength of the sun’s rays and we are also eaten alive by the loads of mosquitos. Phi Phi Island is a cool spot, if you wanna party there is plenty of places to get your rock on. The island is made up of hundredths of boutiques geared towards tourist. You can buy the same shit in every single one of them. Again these good looking backpackers.
Phi Phi Island is where we said goodbye to my parents, with a sun glow they returned back home. Done, and fully energized with 520 pictures to remember, they took off. My mothers last words “Aga, you can’t drink the way you drink, you absolutely loose control and listen to Iza, she is smart and sexy!” I know, I know. But who was the one that brought the delicious home made blueberry vodka??? huh???