Day ONE: Betsy, Kaitlyn, Emily, and Julie vs. Bangkok
The more accurate title of this post is: Exploring lots of temples with lots of other people, and then Julie gets really mad at her friends and her stomach.
You’ve been warned, this is the synopsis of the story so you can choose to read on or not, or just look at the pictures (I would just look at the pictures.)
Here we are, standing in the middle of the Grand Palace in Bangkok surrounded by a sea of Asian tourists in yellow baseball caps, Sony digital cameras, and selfie sticks sweating our balls off. Just kidding, I don’t have balls…Emily might, I don’t know these things. Anyways, it finally hits us that are not at home anymore. In the hours approaching dawn, we had gotten off the plane and taken a cab to our hostel. With little sleep, 30+ hours of flights, flight delays, flight cancellations, and layovers, the four of us were in really pleasant moods.
Earlier that morning, we were all fairly excited. Yes, we can beat this jet lag! Let’s explore Bangkok, eat Thai food, do tourists things, and braid each others hair, yeah! I remember a wave of nostalgia rush over me as we walked through the city. Tropical fruits, food stands, and small brown Asian people that kind of looked like me all were sweet reminders of the Philippines. I loved the Philippines, therefore I now loved Thailand. As we indulged in sweet mangos, figured out the transport system, and pulled me away from food stands, all was well. I’d say that was the high point of our first day in Thailand. The sun had not showed us her full potential and our feet did not yet ache from walking.
We spent the morning and into the afternoon visiting The Grand Palace, Wat Pho, Golden Buddha, Jade Buddha, Reclining Buddha, and Standing on his Head Buddha. That kind of thing, except I kind of made that last one up. We did as much of the tourist things as possible. Did I mention that our cancelled flight caused us to miss an entire day in Bangkok? Hence the rush. Thanks United Airlines…. anyways, it all worked out. I prefer to break things up with frequent eating and drinking breaks. However, my travel partners are way more resilient than I am. Americans are the type of people that will do a 40 hour road trip, no stops, no problem. So we kept on going. The last temple we were all drenched in our own sweat (especially Betsy), probably limping, mumbling words like “water” and “so hot” as we went through the temple not saying a word. Fortunately for us, this temple gave us free water. This was probably the second highlight of our day.
The temples were beautiful, ornate, and overall lovely. The Buddhas were super cool too. If it wasn’t disrespectful, I’d sit on Buddhas lap; personally I think rubbing his belly is overrated. In a perfect world, I would be experiencing the temples during 70 degree weather with 10 other people maximum. This way I could get the best photographs as possible while also having space to run around and do cartwheels if I felt like it. That day did not happen for me. One thing I grew to dislike are Asian tour groups. How do you not get tired of constantly being surrounded by 50 other people, EVERYWHERE YOU GO. I don’t know how they do it. They constantly took the same pictures, accidentally got in each other’s pictures, and got very aggressive when it came to lines all while holding a peace sign up to their face. Ok, ok, it wasn’t that bad, but there was always a large group of them everywhere you went. I got used to it. It really made me appreciate my three white friends. If I held up an umbrella and walked in front of them I probably could have looked like their tour guide.
So we finally made it through the big tourist things. We passed through this little food market 3 times. The first time I’d ask about an early lunch, then lunch anyone? Finally how about late lunch? Zero interest was expressed. It was heartbreaking for me. The mangoes from this morning were not cutting it, I needed food. There are not many things worse than eating 2 servings of pad thai alone while your friends watched. So as we sat down under our umbrella too tired to do decision making, I began to silently weep. Salty tears and sweat dripped down my face as my tiny, petite travel mates sipped on water unphased by the tasty street food that always seemed to surround us. In my mind I began to view Kaitlyn as a 5 foot robot monster that probably could have done 10 more temples, take the hour commute to our hostel, and be perfectly fine. Needless to say, I think the accurate term for me was Hangry: hungry+angry. However I typically get more sad than angry, so an even more accurate term would be sangry or had. The most accurate term of all was Pathetic. I was pathetic, sitting under an umbrella on a beautiful warm day with my three friends in Thailand, crying about being “hangry” when people everyday starve. So once I realized my foolish first world problem, I finally demanded that we eat. Things got significantly better from there, for all of us, I think.
The rest of the day was spent trying to not take a nap but eventually giving in. We had decided that this nap would only last 2 hours maximum and that we would rise for dinner to not further disrupt the new sleep schedule we were trying to adjust to. Poor Kaitlyn, who I like to refer to as mom, woke promptly at dinner time ready to embrace Bangkok night markets, fresh coconut water, and food on sticks . The rest of us moaned and groaned remaining immobile and comatose causing us to sleep through dinner and wake at awkward times of the night. And that my friends is the story of my first day in Thailand, my lowest point of the trip, and proof that we did not spend all of our time laying on beaches laughing at pictures of people getting snowed in back home.