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Published: December 16th 2017
Day 6 - So we had a slight mishap yesterday, that we confirmed today. So you may not notice it because it is just so familiar to you, but when you withdraw money from an ATM in Australia it always gives your card back to you before it gives you your cash. This does not happen in Bangkok.......it also doesn't happen in Bali, which is where we first discovered the phenomenon! So I love my husband very much........but twice now, he has walked away and left our ATM card in an international cash machine. We turned our room upside down, it isn't here. All is well, this is why Kristal is a paranoid planner, always with a backup plan! Commonwealth is about the worst bank in the world to do business with overseas, with the withdrawal fees ranging from $12 - $20 for every singe withdrawal, so we have been using my Qantas cash card, which charges very minimal fees when you load it with Thai Baht before you withdraw. So luckily, though my card is lost, Todd has one too and I spent most of the day activating that card, transferring all the cash from mine that is lost to
his (and thanking fuck that no-one realised that the lost card has Paypass facilities!), and then paying some bills and doing some general housekeeping stuff for a pay day. This unfortunately took hours rather than minutes overseas and by the time I was done it was well into the afternoon, so we decided to have a late lunch at Charlie Brown's again, since it is next door. Corey also wanted to check on our snails!!
On our way out, I had to see if the reception guys could print the Muay Thai tickets that I had bought for Rajademneon stadium.....I had emailed the tickets a little while earlier, and I was trying to explain that to the guy at reception when one of the ladies there just insisted that I come and use her computer behind the counter so I could print. 15 baht per page, which is like $0.60 per page, but I didn't give a crap, I just wanted my Muay Thai tickets so I came around the counter and sat at the computer and panicked just a bit.......the freaking keyboard had Thai characters on it! I've never really thought of myself as a 'touch typer' but
it's amazing what your brain knows when you trust it. I had to log onto my work email and get our tickets and then print them. All the websites defaulted to Thai and not English too, so cool and weird! Anyway, managed to get it done, reception staff awesome, Toddy laughing at me behind the hotel reception counter working away at the computer. It was fun actually 😊
So Thai Boxing tix in hand we greeted the same waitress from Charlie Brown's who recognised us, and we have since learnt some Thai pleasantries, and we are getting them right (or at least better!) I think! Sawatdee ka is hello for me, Sawatdee krap for the boys. The Thai language is male/female based, and to be polite when I say something I say 'Ka' at the end, and boys say 'Krap'. The Thai people we've met actually look really happy when we make this effort to speak their language with them.......they are probably just laughing at us because we are saying it wrong, but still, everyone seems to appreciate the gesture. Anyhoo, we had some yummy food again at Charlie' Brown's, and some crazy cheap beers, I think it's like
89 baht for a big arse 620 ml, that's about $3.50, excellent value for a long neck!
After some food and beers we went to the street to hail our first taxi, I was a little nervous, again for no reason. I had read everywhere that the taxi drivers are evil people who will rip us off and not put the meter on......about 15 minutes into our ride I noticed the meter hadn't moved from 35 baht and I thought, oh god, here we are, the taxi guy didn't put his meter on and we'll get fleeced! But no, eventually the thing finally moved up, like so slowly, we were in the cab for 20 minutes and it cost us about 60 baht......like $2.50. We gave him a 100 and told him to keep it!
So we had caught the taxi to the nearest boat pier, Saphan Taksin. Taking express boats up and down the Chao Phraya river can be quicker and cheaper than getting a taxi into the centre of the city because there is no traffic........plus it's just fucking cool to cruise along the river to get where you need to go! Saphan Taksin is kind
of the main pier, like pier '0' I guess, and we wanted to get off at pier 13, Phra Arthit, which is near to the main Khao San Road market area. Unfortunately, there are 2 piers here, and we were sitting there for quite some time trying to figure out how to get on the 'Orange flag' express boat which was going to our destination, before a guy asked us where we were going and told us we were in the wrong place lol. Oops. 10 metres to the right we straight away worked out how to buy tickets and the boat arrived immediately. Woohoo! Still rocking the Bangkok public transport system!. The express boat was really cool! Because we had gotten on at the beginning we all managed to get seats together, as we went through subsequent stops it did get quite crowded, but we were sitting pretty. Bangkok by the river really is quite beautiful, and the cool breeze through the hair as you hammer down past the huge hotels and temples is just so nice! So 13 stops took us about 20 minutes down the river, way quicker than a bus or taxi, and we jumped off
into the main market/backpacker area of the city.
Of course with 4 of us 1 person is always bound to be busting for a pee so when we got off the boat we started looking for a place with a toilet that might not be gross. Found a lovely little backpackers place with a bar out the front and we decided to stop in for a drink (what a shock!) and a pee break. As we sat there sellers of tourist bits walked up and down the road with their wares.......I could hear frogs, but it wasn't until the lady with the wooden frog statues came past that I realised it was fake frog! I swear, these things sound really cool, and are quite beautiful for wooden frogs lol. So I decided I need to buy one, then I don't have enough change and the lady decided I needed to just buy 2 for a discount......and I accepted I am terrible at saying no, and REALLY terrible at bargaining haha. So now we have 2 frogs. As a concession, she gave all 4 of us nice bracelets, she knew we had given her too much money 😊 Anyway, we
waded our way into the main market area and kids are going crazy, sooooo many things to buy at the market stalls! Todd totally excited too, he found a stall with t-shirts that I would never let him wear in my presence they are so offensive lol. Anyhoo I had to drag them from the markets to catch a taxi so that we could make it to the boxing in time for the first fight. We waded through the market until we got to the main street and we looked to wave a taxi down. This was the most fortuitous timing we have had thus far....we got a fantastic driver whose name was Pui. Pui was keen to tell us about the boxing and talked to us about the other things we want to do on our last days in Bangkok. We mentioned we wanted to go to Pattaya to go to the Cartoon Network Amazone, and he said 'Yes Yes!! I take you there!" I told him to tell me a price, I had already gotten a quote from Mr Wi after our tour the other day, so I had some idea of what it might cost. He said,
"How much you pay?" and I said "nah, how much you charge?" He looked at me in the rearview mirror and was quiet for a minute, then he said again, "how much you pay?" and I said again, "how much you want?" And we looked at each other in the rear view mirror again while he thought about it some more. He eventually said, how about 2500 baht! This was 500 baht less than my original quote, and even though I knew from the look in his eyes that he had given me a 'high' price, I thought 2500 was more than fair! 2500 baht to drive us 2 hours to Pattaya, wait while we ride on water slides all day, then drive us 2 hours back. That's $100 for his service the whole day. Boom.
So Pui gets us to Rajademnern stadium and we navigate our way through all the street food stalls and market sellers to get inside. My name is prominently displayed on the sign for "foreigner" tickets, and into the line I go to pick up our tix. We bought the second class tickets, so not ringside, but not the cheapseats either. We were ushered
through security, where they checked our bags, and then up into the stands. Seats weren't assigned, basically just concrete stands and we grabbed seats pretty close to the action! The first fight had just started and we settled in and waved over the guy that was to be our best friend of the night, the food/drink guy! He brought us some beer and we were into the show! The fights were really cool. The Muay Thai fighters all start with a dance and prayer and show each other and the referee so much respect. Some of the boys fighting were so young, apparently they can start professional fighting as young as 13, I'm not sure if any of the boys we saw were that young but I tell you there were definitely some very young boys. The fights were amazing, I actually hate boxing, which is the only real fighting I've ever tried to watch previously, but this was sooooo different to that. Instead of talking smack about each other and being dicks these fighters pray together during their traditional dance, touch gloves and sometimes hug. Real respect for both each other and the fight. I really liked that part
of it, and it happened both before and after the fights almost every time. We saw 2 technical knock outs and both times the fighter who knocked the other guy out was way more interested in picking his opponent up and making sure he was ok than he was getting his belt thing. I loved it. The boys loved it. The stadium was great, though my arse was a little sore from sitting on the concrete slab for 8 fights straight. We had a guy bring us hotdogs and beer and softdrink for Corey, and the atmosphere was just amazing! We watched as the crowd swayed from supporting one fighter to the other, the whole stand beside us was gambling on the outcome.......anyone who knows Todd and I knows we like the opportunity for a gamble, but holy shit, there was no way in hell we would have been able to join in this game. he gambling is all done in hand signals and sign language. It's crazy! And the atmosphere in the crowd and the noise in the room always increases massively when it's a close fight! All the odds changing, all the bets changing, it was fantastic! We
decided since we couldn't join in on the real fun we should offer a bet of our own with the American tourists seated behind us. We bet 100 baht on the 5th fight......and lost, then double or nothing on the 6th fight...and lost......and then double or nothing on the main event fight of the night the 7th fight! We put our money on Ong Bak the man in the blue trunks, the local boy.......we fucking lost lol. We suck at picking fighters. We paid our money to the Americans and decided to head off after the next fight after the main event. Grabbed a taxi right out front of the stadium and paid bugger all to get back to our hotel.
By the time we had gotten back to the Narathiwas it was after 10pm, which meant all the little food bits around it were closed, but we were starving since we hadn't really had dinner, just a hot dog at the stadium, so it took me a little while, but I discovered a website called foodpanda.com which basically hooks you up with food delivery......so here we are in the familiar situation of being drunk and hungry at 11pm....and
so of course we got pizza!! And I swear to god that pepperoni and sausage pizza was amazing! And completely surprising in Thailand because I had no idea how we might find pizza here, this was amazing New York Style amazing pizza, better than Alice Springs! We enjoyed the shit out of that and then headed to bed.
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