A Travellerspoint blog

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We're going to Thailand!!!

1 week countdown!!

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For the extremely rare friends or family members who haven't heard us blab repeatedly about how deliriously excited we are about our upcoming annual winter vacation trip.. here it is: WE ARE GOING TO THAILAND!!!! If you're anything like me (let's call it geographically challenged) you probably know that Thailand is in Asia somewhere. Thanks to this enclosed little map, you can see that it is indeed in South East-Asia, under China - well technically under Laos and Myanmar but again, if you are like me.. you didn't know where those Countries were either ;) Or we can simplify it by saying it's on the other side of the world, as Thailand is exactly 12 hours ahead of us. Now why Thailand? We were looking for a winter vacation that would include adventure, a hint of a culture shock and the possibility to veg on a beautiful beach to relax before going back to the grind (I could easily make a coffee grind pun intended joke here.. but it'd be too predictable coming from 2 coffee company employees.) Thailand seemed to be offering the best of both worlds. The grand departure is set for February 11th.. which just happens to be our wedding anniversary that we will happily celebrate on a 22.5 hour plane ride. (Can you say mile high club! ;) lol!) Our trip itinerary includes 3 days in Bangkok, 3 days in Chiang Mai, then off to Phuket until the 25th. We will try to blog every few days like we did last year. We hope you'll enjoy tagging along in our Thai adventure!! :)

Posted by Rattrays 04.02.2010 04:49 Archived in Thailand Comments (2)

Stop over at Narita airport

Tokyo, Japan

Have you heard of the 2010 Snowmageddon? That's what they named the surreal blizzard that hit Washington DC the day before our departure and forced most airports in the entire Northeast to completely shut down. I'm sure by now you guessed I'm about to tell that our connection was nowhere but the national capital itself.. So after 7 straight hours of phone calls and internet searching, sweat & tears (and chips and beers), we finally got confirmed on a flight out of Boston at 9am through Toronto on a very tight connection. We literally ran from our plane through customs and on to gate 173 to catch our flight to Tokyo. We barely had 5 minutes to spare before they started boarding. This time there was sweat but definitely no tears ;)

After another 13 non-stop hours in the sky, our feet finally touched ground in Tokyo. The monster flight went surprisingly fast compared to what we expected. Between movies, games, the numerous mediocre airplane meals and multiple siestas in the sky, we were in Japan before we knew it. We are now just waiting to board for the last leg of our trip. As ridiculous as it sounds, we are super giddy to be in Japan even if we're confined to the airport. Shopping in a foreign Country is the best!! :) With one final 7 hour flight from Japan to Thailand, we'll arrive at 11:45 PM (11:45 am Eastern time). Hopefully we will be able to catch a few Zzz's but not much rest for the weary as we kick off our tour of Bangkok first thing in the morning. Next blog: no more boring airplane stuff.. The real trip and the fun is about to start. Prepare to be jealous ;)

Posted by Rattrays 22:55 Archived in Thailand Comments (2)

Flat Stanley and his new Japanese girlfriend

Tokyo airport

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Posted by Rattrays 10:25 Archived in Thailand Comments (1)

Bangkok, Temples and Buddhas

First day in Bangkok

Bangkok.. That sounds so different from what we know.. so exotic. But during our 20 minute ride from the airport to the hotel we realized that big cities all look the same at night, wherever you are in the world. Wide highways, tall buildings and insane drivers surrounded by concrete, concrete and more concrete.

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The Amari Atrium hotel is nothing special. Run down a bit but clean with great service. Our first day in Bangkok was absolutely Awe-mazing and was all about temples. We started off with the Marble Temple. Jack (our Asian World tour guide) said it was the "less beautiful" of the temples we were to see that day. But to us, it was incredible! To make it even more special, a monk happened to be teaching as we arrived at the temple. We were quite thrilled to see that. One of the most distinguishing features of the Marble Temple were the more than 100 different Buddha statues outlining the corridors. Some dating back more than 1000 years.

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Next we went to the Grand Palace which is considered the greatest spectacle of Bangkok and used to house the entire Royal family. The palace is of indescribable beauty. The most unbelievable part is it was built in only 3 years by volunteers who did it with love and respect for the king. You seriously have to see it to believe it.. This had the be the most astonishingly beautiful man-made building we've ever seen.

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Last stop of the day was The Temple of the Reclining Buddha which is home to the 45 meter long gold Buddha lying majestically on its side with mother of pearl motifs on his feet. Majestic!! (And much too large to catch the whole thing from one snap shot..) There are 108 bronze bowls next to the Buddha in which you can drop coins as an offering to the temple and is known to attract good fortune. I obviously just HAD to do it and found it to be entertaining as well as surprisingly peaceful.

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After a quick stop back at the Atrium to freshen up, we headed out for dinner and a show. The restaurant had been converted from a traditional house of very wealthy Thai people. After a delicious traditional dinner, we were treated to a series of cultural dance and music, previously reserved for the Royal family. The dancers and attire were dazzling. What stood out the most were the dancer's inverted fingers. Dancers were selected at a young age of 7 and for two hours every day of their life, they would bend their fingers backwards. As they aged, their fingers would have a natural bend to them. Why you ask? The King perceived this to be more beautiful.
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After a very full first day, we didn’t have to beg for Mr. Sandman to bring us a dream.. ;)

Posted by Rattrays 01:36 Archived in Thailand Comments (4)

Floating market, Cabbage and Whaaat???

Second day in Bangers

The second day in Bangkok was different but just as interesting. Again, we were up before the birds started singing to go on another tour. We drove an hour out of the city to experience the vibrant, colorful and hectic floating market. Imagine a market not only on both sides of a canal but also floating on top of it.
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Hundreds and hundreds of paddle boats with both buyers and sellers. Food, souvenirs, clothing.. you name it, you'll find it. This place was electrifying!! We loved the energy and colorful beauty of it all so much, we couldn't stop snapping photos.
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We didn't do a whole lot of shopping but bought different types of typical Thai foods: Dragon fruit, lychee, coconut ice cream, bananas in coconutty batter deep fried in coconut oil.. Mm.mm.mmmm! DELISH. And all that yumminess was deep fried right on the little boat between 2 women. I’m sure it sounds just as safe as it looked…
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The afternoon was spent at the Rose Garden. A charming park built to display Thailand‘s rich heritage and culture. We had a tasty lunch buffet waiting for us in a restaurant over looking the water with a lovely view. DSC_1267.jpg
The entertainment was… umm..….. Let’s call it “cute“. The show included demonstrations of Thai dancing, sword fighting, Thai boxing, a traditional wedding ceremony and more. The reason we thought it was only “cute” is because it felt a little too much like a tourist trap. Everything felt caricaturized and even the boxing and sword fights were staged to entertain the crowd. I’m sure a lot of people enjoyed the show but this wasn’t our thing. We prefer the authentic experiences instead of the “make believe” for tourist crowds.
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For Valentine’s day dinner, we chose to go to Cabbage and Condoms. Appropriate for celebrating the official lovers’ day, wouldn’t you say? I know, cabbage and condoms sounds really weird and well.. a bit disturbing for a restaurant name. But there is an explanation behind the name. The restaurant was opened by the founder of Population & Community Development Association and helps fund population control, AIDS awareness and is also a host of rural development programs. The food was delectable and the décor was delightful with all the fairy lights on the patio but also hysterically funny with condom X-mas trees, mannequins dressed with clothes made entirely of colorful condoms and the exit sign that says: sorry, we have no mints, please take a condoms instead.
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By about 8:30, the delayed exhaustion of the past two long days of doing the tourist gig and only sleeping 4-5 hours/night because of the whole jet lag thing finally caught up to us with a vengeance. We made our way back to the hotel, packed our suitcase for the next morning and off to La La land we went ;)

Posted by Rattrays 04:53 Archived in Thailand Comments (1)

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