Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Day 4- part 1...Last of Bangkok!

We had a GREAT night's sleep last night, sleeping till 6:30am.  We both woke up feeling refreshed and excited for our last day in Bangkok and to move on to Chiang Mai this afternoon.  As we feel that Bangkok and Chiang Mai will be COMPLETELY different, both culturally and pace of life, we are going to blog two separate entries for today.

We had breakfast today outside by the river.  It was yet another beautiful, but hot day!  Breakfast was incredibly delicious and a GREAT way to start our day.  We had these homemade banana pancakes with honey on them.  The bananas here are so ripe, so fresh and so sweet.  They are all mini bananas, and as weird as it sounds, they taste like a REAL banana.  Both Graham and I are them and said the same thing, "this tastes like a banana should taste like, but doesn't at home".  We almost couldn't stop eating them.  That is until we had a bowl of pineapple and watermelon, again fruit that tasted as it should, and really is NOT good at home, now that we tasted this.  They were the most incredible pieces of fruit I have eaten in years.  You know that quote in "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory"?  It reminded me of that...

"The strawberries taste like strawberries, and the snozzberries taste like snozzberries."

Sadly, we did not take a photo of breakfast!

We had a small snafu while trying to get money out at the ATM (gotta love travel issues), with us ending up having to call the bank and get things sorted out so we could take out more than $250 at a time (who knows what THEIR limit is, we didn't)!  Weird, as we have definetely taken out more than that least it was sorted quickly.

We took the riverboat to Wat Arun- the temple across the river from the Grand Palace.  The view alone from the Pier was incredible!  You then take a small ferry across the river (2BAHT= 12 cents!).  It was somewhere that Graham had never been to or seen, which was the goal of every place we were going to on our honeymoon.  I wanted to see some of what he loved from the last time he was here, but to show him new places that would be something we could experience together!

Wat Arun was very architectural, and so detailed.  We both agreed that it was more beautiful than the Grand Palace and we could have spent days here.  It was much more peaceful as well, which made for a VERY relaxing morning.

We got our photos taken in Thai clothes!  It was such a touristy thing to do, but SO much fun!  Graham really got into the spirit of it after seeing me in the clothes, and it really made for a VERY fun photo, which we can't wait to blow up!  At 100BAHT= $3.33, who could not have random tourist fun?!

We walked all 3 bases of the temple!  If you know me at all, that's a HUGE deal, as I have an insane fear of heights.  I had a panic attack at the 2nd level, which Graham telling me, "I'm surprised anyone is allowed to climb this without a harness", DID NOT help!  He wanted me to look down for photo, which I tried to refuse, but he wasn't having it.  It was a horrible experience, but I tried to move on and climb the last level, knowing I would regret it otherwise.  There was this super sweet German guy that told me to sit down in a corner, take deep breaths and was rubbing my back.  He calmed me down huge, as Graham was walking around not knowing what was going on... and when Graham came back around, he wanted to make sure that my husband wasn't doing anything to hurt me.  Cautious and kind, but hilarious!  Nice to know a stranger can be really helpful, even in another country!!!


We climbed up to level three (on our hands and knees) as the stairs were TINY and really steep!  There were the most AMAZING city and temple views.  We got to sign a sheet that was wrapped around the top of the temple, that they were going to use to decorate a roof with.  So fun!

This was my "take it now, face, I can't handle this"!

Right before PANIC ATTACK!

What a VIEW!

We came back down slowly, and although VERY anxious, Graham was very proud of me, and I was VERY happy!!!!!

When we got down, we were so hot and so exhausted from the sun, that we stopped to get a drink and sit in the courtyard.  We had the most DELICIOUS iced coffee EVER!  It was so good, we asked the lady how to make them, so that we could do it at home.  She was thrilled to show us!  We knew that some of the ingredients can't be bought at home, so we will find a store to stock up before we leave!

Here it is in case you can find Nescafe Ice packets:

1 nescafe ice mix packet
1 scoop instant coffee (we use decaf)
1 scoop coffee mate (we don't use this at home)
1 scoop condensed milk (we don't use this either at home)
1 scoop sweetened condensed milk
Evaporated milk and sugar to taste

Mix all ingredients, but the last 2 ingredients with hot water in a mug or measuring jug.  Fill entire glass with ice and pour in first ingredients.  Add milk and sugar to taste.

Our adaptive version is:

1 nescafe ice mix packet, 1 scoop instant coffee, 1 scoop mocha chocolate, 1 scoop sweetened condensed milk.  Mix with 400mls of hot water in a measuring jug.  Fill entire glass with ice and pour ingredients in.  Add evaporated milk to your liking. 

BE CAREFUL AS SUPER ADDICTIVE!  It seems complicated, but so easy when you make them 2-3 times!

I bought 2 handbags that were handmade by this really lovely, young girl in the market for 250BAHT= $8.  It is well known to barter ALL OVER THAILAND, but sometimes I just couldn't.  I mean 2 handbags, handmade for $8, I found no reason to barter, as she needed the money more than I would.

We took the ferry back to the Pier, and got some great longboat/way of life shots.  I am in love with culture.

This was was fishing.  Very innovative to use a tube to sit on, a pail for his catch and was casting his net along the pier.  He was so excited when we asked if we could take his picture (and by ask, we mean, show our camera and nod!).

We walked the market on Pier 8, and got to try alot of the delicious food on offer there. We tried dried plum- it was a sour/sweet/salty combination and quite "moorish". The dried tomato had to be my favourite! Thais tend to dry fruit and eat it as candy, and it was delicious to try something other than the "normals" at home here: you know, apples, bananas, apricots, cranberries etc.

Yup!  10 BAHT= 33 cents!  YUM!

We walked through a fish market.  Everything was dried and sold to market mechants, or locals to be used in home cooking.  Once you got over the smell, it was fascinating to see the selection and the local trade.

We ended the market trip with some treats!  Deep fried banana (in this coconut batter- YUM!) with fresh dragon fruit juice.  The colour of it, was so enticing- Bright Purple!  It was one of the most yummy, non-processed juices we had ever tasted!  We could have drank gallons of it!

On our way out of the market, we were blessed by a monk, when he asked why we were visiting Thailand.  We told him we were on our honeymoon and he put his hand on my shoulder, contently blessing me with, "May Buddha bless you".  It was a very peaceful moment, and I felt overwhelmed by how open people are with religion here- feels like a stark difference from at home sometimes.  We took the riverboat back to our guesthouse before catching a taxi to the airport.

I really enjoyed Bangkok, being warned that it was a "love it, or hate it" type of place.  There were things that I could have done without (traffic ALL THE TIME, and people ALWAYS wanting you to buy something, even when relaxing and sitting down for a meal), but overall, the culture, food and experience of Bangkok was amazing!  Even Graham's views on Bangkok changed (he was not a fan before).  Planning a mix of busyness and relaxation really made it amazing.

We took the taxi back to the airport, a 1 hour ride (300 BAHT= $10!!!!!!), and were shocked when we checked in and found out that the airport ONLY served AMERICAN FOOD!  We were SHOCKED!  I had very sore legs from all of the walking we did yesterday, so I was happy to sit down to eat anything and get off my feet!

Even Ronald is saying Thank you!

Off to Chiang Mai next!  We can't wait!  We are going to cooking school, hope to rent a scooter to get to some sightseeing, and will be riding elephants through the jungle!!!!!!!!!  So much more fun to be had!


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