Thursday, March 29, 2007

Bangkok, Marriott Resort and Spa, and Koh Phangan

Was going to put a bunch of pictures up but Blogger doesn't seem to be working so I had to e-mail this post in.
Been awhile since i posted, Maureen and Ali made it to Thailand and it's been difficult to get enough time at the internet cafe to write up something solid. 
On the 25th I took a train from Phitsanolok to Bangkok (6 hours), they only had 3rd class seats available but that's the best way to travel!  the car was packed with people and luggage in seats, standing, sitting on the floor.  I had a seat, but gave it up for a few hours for an old Thai woman carrying a baby.  I tried talking to people but no one spoke english so I just listened to my ipod and watched the country fly by.  I'm pretty used to long train / bus trips by now.
I got to the Bangkok train station and didn't want to take a cab to the marriott, wanted to use the sky train i've heard about which i saw from my map leaves right from the train station.  the Marriot was on the other side of the river and the train only went to one side, i didn't know how i would get across but i just jumped one.  made it to the end of the line and of course Marriot has it's own ferry from the riverside directly to their hotel.  I jumped on the ferry with my huge pack sweaty as hell and everyone else of course is a 5 star tourist.  I sit down and they hand everyone a water bottle and lemon scented cold towel for the 20minute ride...pure luxury.
I get to the hotel find my way to check in, they can't do it at the main desk b/c maureen is a Gold card VIP so they escort me to the concierge lounge fix me a free cocktail and tell me to enjoy the happy hour hord'oevres buffet until i'm ready to be shown my room.  amazing...they of course upgrade us VIPs to a deluxe suite with a riverside view and I immediately hit the hot tub / pool area.  I lounge there for awhile then head in for a hot bath in the room.
When I go to find dinner I can't eat at the hotel, the minimum price for a meal is half of what I plan on spending in a day.  So I walk out to try and find something but the hotel is far outside town.  Eventually I wander down some dark alley where I think I see a food stall at the end.  I get there and it's some kind of soup stand serving a little shantytown by the river.  I walk up and order, luckily one of the girls there speaks some english.  Sat down, ordered a beer, and everyone is looking at me.  I started eating and trying to talk to the girl who spoke english.  Ended up hanging out there for 3 hours and making 8 or 9 new friends.  At some point the restaurant closed and they started bringing out beers and snacks from their homes and serving me.  Was a lot of fun, they kept pointing to one guy and saying he was the mafia and he kept laughing, then after awhile he offered me a joint, but I wasn't down for that.  They kept getting calls on their cell phone and looking at some looked like they were taking bets or running numbers, so i asked to see the sheet and they were running a sportsbook, the sheet had all the game spreads for the next week.  Was hilarious.  They said the minimum bet was 100 baht, max 500 $3 - $15.  I asked if they played poker or cards at all, but couldn't find a gameAt some point they all started going home b/c they had to work the next day, they all invited me back for Thai New Year April 13-15...not sure if i'll take them up on it.
That night Maureen and Ali came in around midnight, the next morning we enjoy the free VIP breakfast buffet then hit some of the sights in Bangkok.  We get back to the hotel around 4 lounge in the pool, hit the VIP hor d'oevres buffet, then enjoy the swim up bar at the pool.  2 days ago pretty much the same deal but we learned our lesson and made it back by 2pm before the afternoon heat wave.  Yesterday we woke up, breakfast buffet then flew to the islands and have been here 1 day so far.  Still finding my way around, but i just rented a motorbike for myself so that should make it easier.
Long entry, but things are going well! Spent yesterday and this morning on the i'm trying to explore some.


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