Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Bangkok Blahs

When we got to Bangkok, it was a completely different world from Nepal. The airport was modern, highways connected the whole city, and there were foreign cars! It was strange how I noticed the cars right away, Toyota, Honda, etc. It was unusually good to see them, almost like coming back to civilization. We stayed at the Ban Sabai Hotel, which means “Comfortable House”. It was ok there. We were starving from the long trip and decided to try their restaurant. The prices were a lot higher than we were used to in Nepal, and the menu really only consisted of Thai food. We got Pizza Hut instead. ☺ The next day we decided to check out the city. We had to catch a cab to take us to the train station, then take the train into the city. My bag was searched before we went down stairs to the train. I wasn’t expecting that at all and kinda made me more nervous than I was about being in Bangkok (recent bombings). In other words, it was real and it could happen at anytime. I’m glad they were taking the necessary precautions. There was a shopping mall as soon as we got off the train. Gucci, Banana Republic, and tons of nice restaurants. We made our way back to the first train station and looked for a cab to catch. There were cabs everywhere. Shawn stopped one, the driver shook his head and drove away. That happened a second time, then a third. I tried and got the same response. What was going on here! Maybe we were on the wrong side of the highway? We check our bearings and we were on the right side, the direction heading toward our hotel. How could this be so hard? We had the hotels card, with “directions for taxi” printed on it in English and in Thai.

We walked a little down the road to get away from the hustle of the train station. We were getting so frustrated. A security guard from a car dealership, asked if we were ok in broken English. As a matter of fact, he didn’t speak English at all. I showed him the card and shook my head. He finally was able to stop a taxi and the driver refused, but the guard couldn’t tell us why. He was so willing to help and tried the best he could. He asked a woman on the street with a few suitcases who also only spoke a few words in English. She got on her cell phone and a cab came to pick her up, they asked about us sharing the cab with her, but the driver refused again! Finally, a woman, her husband and small infant came along. She spoke English a lot better, and was able to tell us that most cab drivers aren’t allowed to go out of their area, or if there are, they don’t think it’s worth it to drive that far. By this point, we would have paid anything to get back, it was late and we were tired of standing on the street for hours. She offered to share a cab with us because she was going to the same area as us. After a few failed attempts, she got one to drive all of us! Even then, our hotel was really hard to find and we ended up circling the area for a while. The woman even jumped out of the car to ask for directions- how sweet is that? We made it back to our hotel, we paid for our fare and for the family’s fare. Then Shawn went to give the woman some extra money for her help and she said, I like to think that we are friends, you don’t pay friends. We thanked her graciously, Shawn said take care and we walked to the steps of our hotel. They pulled away, and then pulled back. She jumped out of the car and said to Shawn, “Take care” then hopped back in and they drove away. We made it back finally, thanks to the efforts of the woman, the security guard, and the taxi driver!

We were only in Bangkok for a few days before we flew down to Koh Samui for Yoga Thailand.

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