My posts since Singapore are WAY overdue, and I am so sorry to all the Dandygram readers for the long delay . . .
After Singapore, Ruben, Elliott, and I made it back to Bangkok safe and sound. The following day, I saw them off since they were headed back to San Francisco to start summer classes at UC Berkeley. We had a fun last night in Bangkok together--watching more FIFA World Cup games, eating CHEAP street food, and staying out late with two nice gals from Denmark.
The following day, Ruben and Elliott left (June 17), and I went to the airport with them to get online for a few hours while I waited to greet Chivi--Andres' sister who was to arrive later that night from Saigon!! I was able to also see Nate (my cousin Rachie's husband) who arrived to Bangkok Airport from Chiang Rai and had a short layover before his flight back home to Los Angeles to finish his degree.
After the numerous hellos and goodbyes throughout that entire day at Bangkok International Airport, Chivi and I left for Khao Sarn Road (the backpacker mecca in Bangkok) to find a hotel, drop our bags, and get some food. Being out with Ruben and Elliott the night before, I met a friendly guy traveling by himself (Jeroen Ott from Amsterdam, Holland), but he was at the tail end of his travels in Thailand.
Jeroen had given me a traveling tip the night before about the nice place where he was staying right off Khao Sarn Road--both affordable and pleasant--so I convinced Chivi to go with me. Within minutes in the hotel, we ran into Jeroen who was headed back to his room for the night in order to recover from our previous night out. As a traveler, it's always a good idea to have one of those nights every few days or so!
After some cheeeeeeeeeap street food with Chivi and a few beers at a nice place with live music, we thought it also a good idea to call it an early night because the following night was the USA v. Slovenia game. Since it gets a bit crazy watching those games on Khao Sarn Road and because they are played in Thailand at 1:30am, you must be well-rested to stay awake into the wee hours of the night (remember the EIGHT hours at the pub in Saigon with Ruben).
The following day, Jeroen, Chivi, and I hailed a Tuk Tuk and made our way down the river and into the heart of Bangkok to do some exploring and sightseeing. We managed to get lost for a bit, but eventually, we ran into a nice Thai guy whose English was superb. He gave us the scoop on where we could go with the time we had left in our day (after wandering through numerous markets). So after another quick Tuk Tuk ride, we arrived at the oldest temple in all of Thailand. It was simply o-mazing because up to this point, I hadn't been in or seen many temples during my time in Thailand, Vietnam, or in Singapore, so it was quite an experience.
After a very relaxing time inside the temple, observing the many paintings covering the walls and admiring the beautiful shrine, we started getting anxious to get back to Khao Sarn Road, shower, and get settled into a bar with a nice view of a television for the USA match.
It is absolutely great to be on Khao Sarn Road for any World Cup games because it is essentially a hub for travelers arriving, leaving, or in transit within the greater Southeast Asian region. So at a nice pub with numerous TVs and a few projectors, I managed to find a few others from the States who were wearing patriotic gear: reds, white, blue, or USA soccer jerseys).
After the game, we took our big group up to my favorite place on Khao Sarn Road--the Roof View Bar. It was the place Chivi and I had been the night before and where I had met Jeroen with Ruben and Elliott the night before that. I know, I know--so original, but often, you can run into some of the same people or see familiar faces among the staff who laugh and smile about the nights before. PLUS, there is really, REALLY good live music every night, so it became a favorite spot after the second night of familiar songs, great sing-a-longs, and great people.
With a large group of girls and guys from all over (Denmark, Holland, Sweden, Austria, Argentina, England, and USA), I invented a fun game using the roses that are sold up and down Khao Sarn Road. Personally, I think it's a great game to break the ice and with so many good looking people, you have think to yourself . . . why NOT play? Here are the logistics:
You start with a rose that has been shortened and trimmed of its leaves. Then, in the group of friends (best with a mix of guys and girls for the soon to be told obvious reason), you pass the rose to each person, and the rules are that each person removes a single pedal on their turn. When the last pedal is finally removed, the person who removes it must kiss a member of the opposite sex, and VOILA . . . The Flower Game!
Incorporating this game with the people in our big group--people who were from all over and beautiful inside and out--made for an eventful night at the Roof View Bar to the point where we could barely contain ourselves . . .
(Jeroen and I about to play The Flower Game.)
(Our big group that night.)
There was another final highlight to that evening on Khao Sarn Road: I met two amazing ladies from the U.S. (Danielle and Nina) who had recently moved to Bangkok for a year and were just starting to teach English at a nearby school. We had a great conversation and shared similar stories about the happenings back in the States. To my surprise, Nina had mentioned how she attended Boulder State, so we had much to say about Pearl Street and its happenings.
With time growing short in Bangkok for both Jeroen and I, we made the most of it--leaving our cameras in our rooms to go swimming on our friends roof top pool at their hotel and just enjoy our final nights of World Cup matches, Roof View Bar music, and a little dancing at The Club. Jeroen left the day after Holland won their final group match, and I left the following day for Koh Phangan to attend the infamous Full Moon Party that takes place every month--attracting thousands of backpackers to the small island.
Lastly, I hope you won't be disappointed when I write to you that the majority of my sightseeing and the visiting of local attractions will slowly come to an end in the future Dandygrams. This isn't to say I didn't go to amazing places, but I really was getting more used to meeting people and enjoying their company throughout each day. It really started once I was on my own, and being with people (for this extrovert) is a much better time than going to some place by myself. Therefore, what is to come in the next few weeks is story upon story of what happens when amazingly fun and truly great people come together over great food, beautiful beaches, and fun nightlife. Just you wait--but not too long, I promise!
Next up on The Dandygram: Koh Phangan, Random Moment #1, and Nine Stitches!