Thursday, June 09, 2005

Day Five in The Land of Smiles

Yes, family and friends, I'm still alive. I apologize for the tardiness of my first blog, but this place takes some getting used to! After twenty-six hours of travel, we reached Bangkok late Monday night, were whisked away from the airport in a taxi through a sea of neon and concrete, broken only by the occasional massive glittering wat (temple), and dropped in a plush Marriot oasis in the middle of this bustling foreign city. Oh yeah, when I say "the middle" of the city I'm probably being facetious because when I went on the sky train the next day I realized that when one looks down on Bangkok from a high elevation, all one can see is more and more Bangkok. The city is huge and seemingly neverending.
Our tour of Bangkok is a little fuzzy in my memory... the jet lag, the poor quality of air, the thousands of people on the street everywhere, the spicy Thai curries... I was on overload. I can say that I experienced many faces of Bangkok, however. Our hotel was situated in a red light district which, to my surprise, was a great place to hang out, day and night. We spent days roaming the streets by foot, taxi, and skytrain and went to markets geared at farangs (tourists) as well as those where the Thai people shopped, we ate delicious hot food, fruits, and shakes from street vendors, and we visited Wat Pho, where the Royal Family is buried and where rests the massive Golden Reclining Buddha that some of you may have seen or heard about. The days were fast paced, disgustingly hot and humid, and overall quite a shock to my system. Very fun, in its special way.

That said I'm rather relieved to have left Bangkok. I'm not really the city type. Yesterday we took a two and a half hour bus ride from Bangkok to Hua Hin, a beautiful fishing town with just enough action. We are boarded in a student housing facility twenty-odd stories tall oceanfront on the Gulf of Thailand with a pristine swimming pool and balcony with an ocean view in every room. I'm thinking maybe I chose the wrong college... just kidding St.Mary's! The landscape of Hua Hin is absolutely gorgeous, huge limestone mountains flow into the Gulf and the surf is quite intense. We met Ted, who is coordinating our stay here and our Engaged Buddhism Workshop and he took us to some amazing sites. One was the top of a huge boulder that provided us with an incredible view of Hua Hin and the other was a wat that was situated on a limestone formation that jutted out into the sea that was the home of probably one hundred monkeys and a few dogs. It was scary, amazing, and absolutely gorgeous all rolled into one. We had dinner at an outside seafood place that Ted knew. I'm sorry Maryland... but this is the best seafood I've ever had, here in Thailand.

I'm currently at Webster University at Hua Hin on a break from our Buddhism workshop with Ted. He is a great resource on Buddhism and Thailand whom we are very lucky to have found. My next blog will be with you shortly, I promise, and until then... much love to you all.

3 Comments:

Blogger Holly B said...

So glad to see you made it safely! I hope everyday is a wonderful adventure.

2:22 PM  
Blogger Dani B said...

I hope you're having an amazing time! Be careful and take as many pics as possible. I hope you took a pic of the Buddha. Miss ya!

6:36 PM  
Blogger Matthew Tripp said...

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7:25 AM  

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