Saturday 19 Dec 2009 Sawadeeka (Hello in Thai) I seem to be always running out of time when updating my blog and am seriously thinking of buying a notepad (you know one of those small laptops, I'll have a look in Singapore). If anyone can suggest a good model, please send me an email - thanks in advance !!
Anyway, just going back to Bangkok for a while, I find the best way for me to get a feel of the place is to go for a walk round the block. So after arriving at the hotel and dropping off my bags, I went to explore the streets of Bangkok (don't worry I don't do this at night).
Whilst out walking I noticed that there were lots of places where prepared food could be bought and I mean a lot. These vary from small restaurants, small inlets, alley ways, carts on wheels - whereever you look there is someone selling some sort of a thai dish. I'm assuming from this that the residents of Bangkok do not cook at home and find it easier to just pick something up on the way home - I like that idea ! The type of food ranges from noodles, stir fry chicken (well I think its chicken !), octopus, bugs, cockroaches, fruit, etc. I bought some fruit (jackfruit & papaya), haven't braved to try anything else - yet !! Don't know why I'm surprised, but the streets of Thailand are very clean, already my expectations of Thailand have more than exceeded !
I have more than made up from the lack of food in Sri Lanka - having breakfast, lunch and dinner and all deliciously cooked - very spicy though (Saida you would love the amount of chillies that they put into the curries / stir fries).
The Thai people are very proud of their King & Queen and the celebrations were endless. Hundreds of people out every night from 5th to 13 Dec, eating and walking around and enjoying the carnival, concerts and fireworks. Oh by the way, Shirley-Ann tried a fried bug & maggot from a stall near the Backpackers area - uck !!!!!
I just have to tell you that, I had a two hour body & foot massage and it only cost me ................... 9.40p (at this rate, I'll be having a few more !)
On Monday 14 Dec, Anna (from Winchester), Shirley-Ann (from Ayr, but lives in Bournemouth) and Guinilla (from Sweden) and I left Bangkok by coach to go to our homestay in Singburi, which is 155kms north of Bangkok. The homestay is called Lemon House and is in a very pretty location. The rooms are very basic, but clean and sort of ant free. There are two wall mounted fans one for each bed, a wardrobe, table and ensuite bathroom ! I'm sharing with Anna, we seem to have hit it off really well, as I have with Shirley-Ann & Guinilla. There was a funny moment when Anna sat down on her bed and we heard the springs of the mattress making that boinnnnnnnggg noise - so comfort is not highest standards - oh well I didn't come here for the comfort, I came to see the real Thai.
Here at the Lemon House we met other volunteers who are working at the orphanage (from Sweden, UK, Germany, France & Spain). Most of them are between the age of 21 - 29, so yes that makes the rest of us feel slightly old, but they are really good fun (I'm borrowing of the girl's notepad to update this blog) !
On Monday evening, we attended a welcome evening at Twin House (about 15 mins from our place), where we met other people who had just arrived on this programme. The local children did three dances for us. We didn't stop long as the place was full of mosqitos and we could feel them biting at our ankles.
I've only been here a few days and am loving the every moment. I know that if I had done this trip as an organised tour, I would have only seen 3 & 4 star hotels, temples and lots of upmarkets shops. This programme gives an introduction to Thailand and so far, we've seen temples, museums, learnt Thai Cooking, Thai Massage and know how to say some Thai words (kop koon ka - thank you) - not bad for the first week, eh !
On Tuesday 15th Dec, we went for a bike ride and those of you who know me, will know that I can't ride, so I was a passenger whilst our guide Oliver did all the peddling - I loved every moment of it !! We stopped off for lunch at a seedy looking place (it's a sloping shack hanging over the river) ! I would never in a million years have stopped here if I was driving /walking past it. Our guide (Oliver) told us to make our way to the back of the so called restaurant. As we stepped onto a platform we had the river running below us wow - the view was amazing and I have to say that the food was very good too- we all had veg stir fry !
Next week is Culture Week, when we will spend one night in a monastary and learn how to meditate - looking forward to that!
I haven't forgotten Sri Lanka and the lovely kids at the orphanage, one of them has been sending me texts messages saying how much they miss me and I miss them too, like I miss you all back home.
Anyway, this is it for now, Lagone ka (goodbye) xxxx