Disclaimer: Everything written in this mini blog is the personal opinion of the writer and should not be taken as fact, although occasionally facts are stated. This mini blog was created as a coding exercise, but it's kind of fun so the writer kept it around.
Currently showing 20 entries per page
- Day 2: puppet show pt 1
- Day 2
Current location: Central Bangkok
Today I ended up waking up at 3:30am, going back to sleep again, and eventually getting up for breakfast by 8am. My mom and I hung out since my sister and her family and my dad were all at the royal palace. My sister had plans for the mall after that...they were all vetoed by heat and exhaustion. My parents and I went to the mall, only to learn that my dad had mistaken the time for this puppet show, which my mother really really really wanted to see after learning of my experience 11 years ago, and it was an hour earlier than he'd said.
I didn't mention previously but we had hired a driver (named Ay or Ei, like 'hey') who has so far rescued us several times from my dad's mild incompetence when it comes to planning trips. He was the one who called and informed my dad of the actual time of the show.
Scheduling snafus aside, the mall is very nice and fancy, super upscale and stuff. We went all the way to the bottom and found a strange buffet/market where you are handed a card with credit for 1000 baht (about 30 USD) (I think that's how much it was credit for) and then you can roam around dozens of kiosks with cooks and the like. The kiosks themselves all made Thai food classics, though if you've only eaten at Thai restaurants in the states, you would only recognize about three dishes maybe. One section of the kiosks was actually imitation street food (I think? I'm not sure where the cooks come from). Not as good as the real thing but good enough for most.
We ended up snagging some food to go since we were now in a time crunch (to my mom's irritation) and headed back to go to the puppet show.
The puppet show is no ordinary puppet show, of course. They are advertised as traditional Thai puppets, though their origin is actually from the early 1900s, making the practice around 120 years old or so. They're essentially largish puppets that require 3 puppeteers to operate, with all puppeteers dancing with the puppet. (continued..)
- 12/22/2019 @ 6:49am MST (America/Denver)
- Day 2: puppet show pt 2
- ...the puppets and puppeteers are performing traditional Thai dance, called Khon, in tandem. It's a very beautiful and graceful style of dance, with a lot of deliberate hand gestures and foot placement/stomps and the occasional emphasis on the body swaying.
It was a small audience in a smaller theater, and the show itself was only an hour or so. My older nephew got singled out a lot for puppet harassment since we ended up in the front row and he was the only child (other than his brother, who is too young) there. He seemed to find it funny and wanted to take a picture with the monkey king puppet afterwards, which the puppeteers took as permission to harass him some more. :)
The story, as it were, was mostly just short tales of the Monkey King getting into trouble and getting out of trouble. Fairly typical for this particular deity, I have to say. Afterwards I ended up getting randomly interviewed about the play. Haha...good luck getting decent footage? I kind of expect they'll just delete it as unusable or something. Ah well.
Anyway, after that we rested at the hotel again and then went back to the mall to try one of the restaurants. I looked up what they had in the directory and found some Italian-Thai fusion cuisine. It was...definitely fusion. We were served dinner rolls made with squid ink! And then they put pasta in my dad's tom yum and all sorts of other things in our other dishes.
Now I'm back at the hotel catching up on my journal entries. Tomorrow we'll check out and head to the cemetery that holds my grandfather and grandmothers, and then stop by a particular noodle shop that serves the best pork satay in the world (not really exaggerating!!!). Then we head to Chiangmai!
- 12/22/2019 @ 6:59am MST (America/Denver)
- Day 2: various thoughts
- It is easy to forget the abject poverty many live in within Bangkok. Walk a block from your nice hotel and discover a whole homeless community living next to railroad tracks! Glance off to your right when walking down any street and see the hundred cable wires bundled together with no regard for safety and zero hint of regulation as they power the various luxury malls in the tourist areas! (These cables run in front of traffic lights, too. Wow.)
The streets are awash with signs that they were not built with foresight. Traffic jams are abound, the road choking from the buildings that loom tall and cluster close to maximize space. Drivers consider driver's ed a mild suggestion. Scooters are masters of dodging and weaving with no regard for lanes or laws. At any given moment a scooter will be passing you in the latest traffic jam you've just gotten yourself into. The streets are dirty and the air pollution has forced many to wear masks as they go about their business. The guard wais respectfully at you as you enter your gilded palace, no sign on his face of the heat or lung damage he must be accumulating standing on the street day in and day out.
The juxtaposition is strange and sad. Bittersweet. A dirty alleyway turns into a mini night bazaar in the span of ten minutes. The hotel next door serves gourmet meals and garnishes special desserts with edible gold leaf. Western luxury is the neighbor of Eastern poverty. In what way are they related? I wonder...
- 12/22/2019 @ 7:15am MST (America/Denver)
- Day 3: fish
- Day 3
Location: Bangkok -> Chiang Mai
Today was fairly stressful. There was...a fight. In any case, the original plan was to drive 2.5 hours to Nakorn Pathom to visit my grandfather's grave, eat at a noodle shop that makes the best moo satay, and then drive another 2.5 hours back to go to the airport and sit in a plane for another 1.5 hours (total). This ended up not happening, with only my father going to Nakorn Pathom. He brought back my favorite moo satay.
As for the rest of us, we split up. My mom and I hung out at the pool, discovered the steam room, and then we grabbed my older nephew and we went to Sealife Bangkok, which is a pretty cool aquarium. Then we got a bit lost amid all the giant malls before finally heading back to the hotel in time for my dad and the driver to pick us up for the airport. Both nephews had been up since 3am so they were absolute wrecks by the time we arrived in Chiang Mai.
Now we are at a villa and I have to climb 2 stories every time I want to go to bed. Haha...I feel myself losing weight already! Anyway, I had to wait until this morning (5:30am) to actually find out the password for the wifi here to post.
I've always liked Chiang Mai more than Bangkok and so far my memories have been proven correct. There are fewer traffic jams (as in none?), things are closer, it's cooler and drier, and I can't wait to try to stay awake long enough to go to the night bazaar. Chiang Mai has the largest. Oh boy, gonna get me some roti! My dad wants to find some sort of hanging lantern that we saw in the airport. I think for 12/24 we're going to try for the zoo. My sister wants to try to visit an elephant reserve but we'll see if she actually can get that last minute reservation...the trouble is that our dad thinks Thailand treats its elephants the best but his only option for seeing them is a place that apparently allows for riding them...which is not ethical and that is a no-go for my sister. (I don't like riding elephants at all.) Eh...anyway.
- 12/23/2019 @ 4:34pm MST (America/Denver)