A Travellerspoint blog

BANGKOK April 5th-8th

So we made it out of the airport into absolutely insane heat and humidity, and wandered around a bit till we found the taxi stand. This little Thai woman was really excited to have us and liked using two lanes instead of one. We had absolutely no idea if we were going in the right direction and could hardly understand anything she said, thanks to all those who told us horror stories we were completely paranoid, but she took us straight to our hotel. No wi-fi there, but AC has never been so amazing. Our room looked out over the pool, we had mints on the pillows and a bathroom of our own. Pretty sweet deal.

We had to get up fairly early for pick up for our city tour, and went to wait down at the lobby where we ran into a couple of Kiwis from Tauranga who were on the same tour. The tour itself was pretty cool, just driving around the city seeing the traffic and buildings and markets was just as good as seeing all the temples. It was pretty sickening going from some of the temples where they had spend so many millions of baht on 99% gold leafing then driving through some obviously struggling areas. There were so many times we wanted to get photos but weren’t quick enough, like the girl on the back of a motorbike doing her makeup, or the families of four on one bike with one helmet between them, or the guy who was selling hot food from his wee cart in the middle of the road. On the way back to the hotel we got dropped off with the other Kiwis (Rach and Rob) to MBK, a massive, massive mall with tons of amazing shops to find some lunch. We went into the food court and all got Thai meals (green curry with lots of hot and a pina colada for Hayley and prawn pad thai and mojito for Ella), totalling about $12NZ each. Fortunately Rach and Rob had been on the skytrain earlier that morning cause we would’ve got completely lost. We made it back to the hotel, in absolutely stinking heat, had baileys before a few hours swimming and reading by the pool. That night we missioned it into the shops to haggle for some shirts for Ryan. Didn’t do too badly for our first go, a few of the shops seemed pretty dodgy, but we think we found a decent one, and had fun picking out the colours anyway. After we met up with Rob and Rach for dinner at a restaurant close to where we were all staying, again they were amazing meals and again very cheap – cocktails included. At this stage Hayley decided she wanted to get a dress made so we all went back to the tailors down the road for more haggling and colour picking. We decided to call it a night, as we had a 5am start the next day.

On day two we were up and ready for pickup by 6.30am for our full day tour. With a group of 9 other Canadians/Aussies/Americans we headed out of Bangkok, first stopping at a 7-11 (they’re everywhere!) for some cheap snacks and then at a farmers market. It was interesting to see but the incredible heat and stink of the produce was horrendous. There were buckets of fish everywhere still flapping about with their throats cut open, mozzies, flies, beggars and animals running freely. Our guide went through about 100 stalls, picking up most of the produce – congealed pigs blood, pig skin, bizarre fruits and pink eggs. The next stop was to have a ride on the traditional form of transport in that area – ox drawn cart. It was pretty bumpy but we got some awesome hats and had turns at driving, although the ox couldn’t really care less whether someone was steering or not. Finally we got to the Khao Yai national park – the second biggest in Thailand. Our guide warned us that it would be even hotter in here than Bangkok – it was. We first visited a large dirty looking waterfall, where the steps to get down to it would have been banned anywhere in NZ. They were insanely steep and so small we had to walk with our feet turned sideways. There were also over 100 of them, which is hard when there are tons of butterflies, elephant footprints and chameleons all over the place to distract you. After this we drove a little further into the park to a large and delicious Thai lunch. When we had almost cleaned up the fruit platter at the end, we got to pick up the fruit to feed to the elephants that were waiting outside. The following hour was the highlight of the trip so far… We walked over to a platform where several elephants with riders were waiting for us. We got Nathan – the guide – and Shirley – the elephant - as travel buddies. With one of us sitting on the elephant’s head, knees tucked behind the ears, and the other on the seat on Shirley’s back, we had a turn each at driving our elephant through a river and around a jungle track. Nathan got off and took photos the whole way. Shirley didn’t seem bothered at all that we were climbing over her head and back, but enjoyed the sugar cane we bought for her and fed to her at the end. Two hours later, we were back in our air conditioned hotel, exhausted and filthy, getting ready to go to Bangkok’s tallest tower for dinner and a visit to the rotating viewing deck at the top, and with the other Kiwis. The taxi drive there was our best yet, with our driver cutting across a four-lane motorway, stopping about 50 cars in the process, to save a bit of time. The food at the restaurant was easily the least impressive of the entire stay but the view was epic – Bangkok is so huge, it went on further than we could see in every direction. Another crazy taxi driver later (where are the seat belts? Or speed limits?) and we were back to bed.

On the last morning we got a bit of a sleep in, and breakfast in bed before a leisurely stroll to the Skytrain (total pros by now) to have a better look at MBK. We bought DVDs, jewellery, food, and a manicure, pretty much spending the last of our Baht. We went back to the hotel for one last swim, a repack and a rest before going back to the tailors to pick up Ryan’s shirts and Hayley’s dress. On the way we went through the markets one last time, and had spring rolls from the side of the road for 25 Baht (about NZ$1). Wishing we had arranged to stay in Bangkok longer, and still not being able to get any Internet, we packed up and left at 9pm that night.

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FLIGHT TWO

Sydney to Bangkok

After fixing the cabbies clock we made it to the airport and through the checks no worries. We wandered down the food court to find some lunch and picked a Turkish place for kebabs. The girl looked at us strangely and then went into detail about how we looked identical to the main characters in some Turkish TV show – she wrote it down for us so we could check it later, it’s called ‘Sultan Suleyman’, but we really don’t think that we look that much like them. When we got on the flight we spent ages deciding what to get with our vouchers (bottle of Baileys, set of 5 Calvin Kline perfumes and a primer) and picking movies to watch. We had awesome seats again (was it you Sarah?!) right down the back in row 73 but we were all to ourselves next to the window. About seven hours into it, in the middle of the night, we looked out the window to a few flashes of light. The turbulence got so bad we had to drink our wine spritzers so that they didn’t spill, and Ella had an interesting time trying to make it to the toilet. It’s easy enough to say that a bit of turbulence is normal, but when you look out the window to a fully-fledged lightening storm it’s a bit harder to play it cool. We tried to film some but we were mostly past it by then, and the awesome forks of lighting all over the place had stopped. Even the flight attendant said it was one of the more impressive ones he’d seen. It’s much easier to say how cool it was now.

Posted by Trailblazn 06:07 Comments (1)

SYDNEY

1-5th April

Once we landed we had to get over to the domestic terminal to meet Ella’s brother Alistair who was flying in from Perth to see her for the weekend. The shuttle was $5.50 each so we decided to be economical and walk. We didn’t really get very far. Turns out the domestic terminal is aaaages away (WHY?!) so would take some time - and directions. We asked the first friendly looking girl in uniform we found, who said she was heading over that way anyway and could give us a ride. Yay! So far so good.

We found Alistair and a taxi and made it to Hayley’s brother Shane’s apartment pretty quickly after that. The drinking began immediately. Had a BBQ and hit the town for the night – got denied from a club (thanks Shane) and decided it was far too hot for a Friday night out.

Over the next few days we split up a bit – Hayley hanging with her mum who had come for the weekend, and bros with their partners. This wee group had lunch at a Turkish restaurant called The Sultan’s Table in Newtown (GO THERE) for the most amazing hummus and breads spread eevvveerrr. Also went to Brenna’s (love of Ryan’s life) birthday BBQ with more drinking – something called caperienas (sp?) also known as Cape Reinga’s for those of us who can’t pronounce South American drinks after finishing a couple. Ella went and checked out some of the tourist attractions with Alistair like the sky tower thing, aquarium and zoo. On the second night, Ella made friends with the toilet bowl, not even due to drinking - not a good start (though Hayley was glad it wasn’t her), but was better the next day.

We spent our last morning getting a few final pearls of wisdom from Ryan before heading off into the big wide world to start the OE for real.

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FLIGHT ONE

Christchurch to Sydney

Two years in the making and we were finally leaving, it was pretty surreal. Hayley didn’t cry nearly as much as she thought she would at the departures gate. Thank you so much to Hayley’s lovely cousin Sarah for getting amazing seats in the row behind business class with tons of leg room. Big ups! Unfortunately there was an issue with the movies in our row and we missed out on some crappy chick flick, so the attendant gave us a $50 duty free voucher each to make up for it. Forgiven. Meal was good and we spent most of the flight realising our epic crossword skills.

Posted by Trailblazn 05:58 Comments (0)

Wishlist

Places to go, things to do...

  • Eurodisney

(Get a photo with Ariel for Kerryn)

  • Find out if Belgium biscuits are just called biscuits in Belgium, and if French fries are just fries in France....
  • Get Hungary in Hungary
  • Eat a hamburger in Hamburg
  • Visit the evil twin of Christchurch NZ, Christchurch UK
  • London Zoo
  • Family heritage - Find a Stronach and McLaughlin kilt, visit Cork
  • Eat snails and frogs legs in France
  • Greek Islands
  • Music festival/concert (anywhere)
  • Go to a movie in a language we don't know
  • Attend Kate and Will's wedding as flower girls
  • An unforgettable yet slightly forgotten night out
  • Oktoberfest (Hayley learns to drink beer - Eleanor giggles)
  • Have a Guinness in an Irish pub
  • Have a French picnic with wine and cheese
  • Get our tan on

Posted by Trailblazn 00:27 Comments (0)

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