Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Bangkok without a Wolfpack

How did I get to Bangkok? I think it was a rental car, or was it a bus? Wait, that's right! It was an 8-hour train ride!

I arrived at the train station, located the border to Cambodia and Thailand, way earlier than expected. The ticket booths were closed until an hour before the train's departure, so I found a seat on the platform and and took in my surroundings. At first glance, the gaudy portrait of Thailand's king reminded me of  the Avatar: Legend of Korra. Geekdom aside, it seemed a lot different than Vietnam and more modern than Cambodia. When the train arrived, a long line formed at the ticket booth, but I made eye contact with another foreigner - an Austrian, maybe - who asked me from afar, how many tickets I needed. What a sweetheart! He bought my ticket and I reimbursed him the money afterwards.
I boarded the train, along with another foreigner from the states, and endured the slow, hot train ride into Bangkok. My glamorous hotel was located in the Chinatown, an upscale district of Bangkok. I couldn't enjoy the hotel for long because I suffered an emotion breakdown over my lost prescription glasses. It sounds silly, but I was mentally and emotionally exhausted and losing my glasses was just another expense/worry that I could not afford at the moment. What's worse is that I felt horrible for stressing over a pair of glasses when I just witness immense poverty in Cambodia! My phone would not connect to the WiFi and had no way to reach my mom or best friends for comfort, so I threw my cellphone across the room, which thankfully didn't break, and escaped to the shower to calm down.
The next day, I did some retail therapy at Chatucak Market to buy souvenirs and clothes. The market was large and hectic but the small stores were beautifully operated. I had a really nice time checking out all the trinkets and buying meaningful items for my friends and family. There were also small booth for massages where I received the best foot massage of my life. Thank  you Thailand for perfecting retail therapy! Seriously, thanks!

The next few days I explored every major temple in Bangkok. I also scheduled a tour that included a visit to the Bridge of the River Kwai and the famed Tiger Temple. The tour also included a visit to a nearby waterfall, a short raft cruise, and elephant riding! The tour was amazing but stressful. Everyone was given stickers that indicated their tour and we would switch vans constantly and end up with different people, but I guess that method worked for them.

The one thing that drove me insane were the shady tuk tuk drivers. Bless them, but you would ask them to take to you one place, but they would try to reroute to you visit another place that was "on the way" so that they can receive gas vouchers. You didn't have to buy anything, but you were pressured since you walked into a store with everyone staring at you. The only time it worked out is when I was taken to a jewelry store. Know your customer. There, I bought a tiny elephant necklace. My advice: unless that place is beneficial to you, like you actually want a tailored suit or outfit, get out and find another tuk tuk.

 The last night of the trip, I had a soup that caused a terrible bout of food sickness. It took all my strength to make it to the airport the following morning. I sat in the terminal texting my mom about everything that occurred on the trip. I couldn't tell her beforehand because I knew she would die. I put on a brave face until I reached Naha Airport (Okinawa). There, the customs security opened all of my bags while ask rude and personal questions. I guess a girl can't travel alone? I got extremely miffed when they began searching every pocket of my folded pants for drugs. My underwear was also out in the open for everyone to see, but I was paralyzed with the sensation to vomit. They went so far as to open all of my over-the-counter medicines and finger through the pills. Luckily, they didn't get too far with the ibuprofen because I had prescription Xanax pills hidden in the bottom.

Once I was cleared, I met with my friend who drove me back to Ginoza. Once home, I walked straight to the bathroom and vomited. めんそーれ!

This trip's blog post has taken me too long to write for obvious reasons. Who wants to remember a trip that was overshadowed with heartbreak? I did my best to make the most of the three counties but let's get real, I could not enjoy this trip. I traveled with my ex-boyfriend for the remainder of this trip because I didn't want to miss out on the opportunity to visit these beautiful countries. My only other option was to return to Okinawa and that was not going to fly with the future me. There were too many moments that I thought "wow, (insert place/temple) is beautiful" only to have that thought ruined by his presence. I destroyed my self worth by relying on his pity direction, which is why I had later prove that I was a boss-ass bitch by planning a trip to Hong Kong and (bungee) jumping off of Macau Tower.

On the flip side, so much good came out of this: I realized that I am strong person; I received so many praises on how well I handled the situation; and, this is a loaded statement, but I am no longer held back.

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