Jan 31/Feb 1, 2010
Hot, Humid, Overcast
Two days this week I have not written a daily blog. Sometimes, the days are either too intense or not intense enough for writing. In this case, yesterday was too hectic for me to sit down and write. We slept in yesterday morning and Denny told us to be packed up and ready to go by 9:30 in the morning. At 9:45, breakfast had been eaten, the dorm had been cleaned, and everyone was packed up and ready to go. Then we waited. The minivans had been scheduled to pick us up sometime between 10 and 11, so we could arrive in Bangkok with enough time for Denny to catch his flight but also late enough so that we could check into our hotel without waiting.
We waited some more. It became increasingly hot, and our stomachs became increasingly empty. At 11:45, the first of two vans rolled up. The driver apparently spoke very little English, and we started packing our suitcases in. Many times, we were assured that the other car was only 10 minutes away. While we were waiting, Denny and I coined the phrase “Thai Time,” where promptness matters significantly less. At 12:45, the second van arrived, and it turned out that the driver of the second van had brought a friend along for the ride and there were only nineteen seats in total. One person was seatless. Thankfully, it turns out that one of the seats could be pulled up so the driver’s faux pas didn’t halt our journey. Then we took a three hour drive back into Bangkok, while watching the worst movie known to mankind, Into the Blue. The guys did not complain about two hours of Jessica Alba in a bathing suit.
As we got nearer to the Bangkok airport, it became apparent that the driver did not know where the hotel was. Denny was running late for his plane, so he jumped out of the car, mistakenly taking Matt’s notebook with all the hotel information. “Bye guys!” he said as he ran off with the vital notebook. “Hope you can find the place!” The driver’s English seemed to get even worse as we drove for forty-five minutes around Bangkok. We gave him the street address, but it seems that using addresses is not a widespread practice in this city. The driver suddenly stopped the car and got out. We had no idea where he went, but drove like crazy when he got back in the car… for about a hundred feet. Off to the right, we saw the hotel and screamed “Stop! Stop!” Relieved, we pulled into the hotel and got out.
It was actually quite a pretty hotel, and it was nice to have a real shower and toilet paper. (It’s the little things in life, right?) We immediately left to go find food, and found this large outdoor Thai restaurant with pool tables. The pad thai took a very very long time to come, and when it arrived, I put one bite in my mouth and resigned myself to food poisoning. The shrimp was soggy with a strong fishy flavor, the noodles tasted a little bit like old socks, and the carrots were hard as rocks. I ate quickly so I wouldn’t have to taste it, paid for my food, and immediately went to 7/11 to buy emergency food for later that night, and a probiotic drink in hopes that the good bacteria could fight off the bad. It seemed to work, because I dodged the onslaught of food poisoning that a few others were stricken with. The rest of the night was spent hanging out. I guess that saying that it was too hectic to write is a cop out because the morning was very stressful; sleeping in a real bed was touch and go for most of the day.
I began this entry as we were sitting in the Bangkok airport, but we had to get up from our spot check in, go through security, and get our passports checked. Now I’m on the plane to Delhi. Denny tells us that our time in India will be the most challenging of the trip. I wonder how it will be. There are so many things to see – the Taj Mahal, the tiger reserve, just being out on streets that are totally different from the United States.