Bangkok for the weekend – Feb.1 – 4, 2013

The plane at JFK lifted off around 10:40pm EST Wednesday night and began the 12 hour journey to Doha, Qatar.  The first movie I watched in the seat’s headrest was Argo.  It’s pretty kewl that Qatar Airways can get movies that are still playing in the theatre.  However, it probably wasn’t a good idea to watch this because the movie was about the 1979 Iran-hostage situation…the exact area I was flying to!  After a second movie, I tried to catch some sleep but it didn’t happen.  We finally landed in Doha and had a 2 hour layover.  The last part of the trip was a 6 hour flight to Bangkok.  I watched the Leonardo DiCaprio movie The Beach.  I’ve never seen this movie and was kicking myself for that…It’ s about a man that goes to Thailand by himself for an adventure…it definitely had some underlying themes & messages that resonated with me.

Around 7:30AM local time, we finally landed (about an hour before I got to see the sunrise)…the visa-customs line was long and took about half an hour to get through.  Luckily my suitcases made it over and nothing was damaged or lost 🙂  A 40min cab ride (300 baht / $10 US) later I was checking in at the Bedrooms Boutique Hotel.  It was located in the Sukhumvit part of Bangkok and only $32 US / night.  I would def recommend them as the rooms  are modern, clean and the location is perfect (near BTS On Nut and food options).  Here’s the website http://www.thebedroomsbangkok.com/  Other reviews from Agoda’s website http://www.agoda.com/asia/thailand/bangkok/the_bedrooms_boutique_hotel.html

Since I flew in early, it was too soon for check-in and my room wasn’t ready…all I wanted was a shower and my bed to crash in.  So I got some brunch at the restaurant and luckily an hour and half later the room was ready 🙂  I unpacked, showered then passed out for 4 hours…it took a lot of will-power to get back up around 4pm to do some exploring.  The weather was comfortable (80’s ?) but a bit humid.  Nothing un-bearable.  I checked out the street carts, bazaar and shopping centers (Big C and Tesco) for food.  Everything is cheap.  Here’s a video clip of the streets http://youtu.be/qm4Bzw3erKY  BTW, Chinese New Year (Feb.10th) is a big celebration here because of the Thai-Chinese population.  Although not an official holiday celebrated, many people celebrate it.  Most of the stores sold decorations or had ornaments up already.

The next day I woke up and took the BTS above-ground train and the MRT subway to explore more parts of the city including the Stock Exchange of Thailand.  In the afternoon , I met up with my Canadian friend Bill (who runs http://www.fightpassport).  He took me to a Muay Thai gym that specializes in clinching.  Luckily the gym was pretty empty as a majority of the fighters and trainers went to watch a fight at one of the stadiums.  Because I’m not as experienced as everyone else, I can be pretty self-conscious.  When I got there he showed me the case with 4 – 8 different champion stadium belts (from Raja/ Lumpinee) that the gym’s fighters have won.  Obviously they are doing something right with their training.  I asked him what the format of the session will be and he said we’re probably going to clinch for an hour straight and only 2 rounds on the pads (although they’re 5 – 10 min rounds!).  To be honest, I don’t have much experience working in the clinch and was a bit intimidated to hear this.

I stretched, shadowboxed then hit the heavy bag.  BTW, Bill kicked the heavy bag once and it broke off the chain…it was pretty funny as the people thought he was Baukaw or something, lol.  About 10 min later I entered the ring and began my rounds.  Because of my torn MCL from my last trip here as well as plantars fasciitis (foot ligament inflammation , I haven’t been able to do much training ie. no skipping rope, no jogging and no kicking Thai pads.  My doc said I had to completely rest which resulted in me not going to any sort of Muay Thai gym for the past 6 months (which totally sucked!).  I could only goto my regular gym and lift weights…luckily they have a heavy bag so would shadow-box and work on my punches and elbows.  The first round with my trainer was about 5 min I think.  He had me working punches, elbows, knee and kick combo’s.  One of my sticking points is getting my hip more involved when kicking…it irks the sh1t outta me.  I had a short break then did a 2nd round with him. After that I was pretty gassed and my chest burned, ehhhhhh.  Then came the clinch-fest…Bill and one of the taller Thai’s helped me with different techniques for about 30-40 min.  I’ve never done so much before.  But this really is what the gym specializes in and was happy to learn everything.  I forgot to get the Thai’s name but he was super-friendly and helpful.  When I’m ready to step up my clinching, I will def return here for a solid month of training.  Here’s Bill’s write-up of the gym http://fightpassport.com/muay-thai-training-journals/muay-thai-bjj-training-bangkok-thailand/  Thx again buddy.  Afterwards, we went and grabbed dinner in Nana area.  Had the chicken and cashew nuts which were really good.  Then I got a tour of the go-go bars where the Hangover II was shot, lol…it was definitely a trip to see it in person hahahaha.

Sunday I went to my favorite barber shop in BKK called Never Say Cutz (see previous post: http://www.journeyto8limbs.com/2012/07/06/day-21-22-june-16-17-goodbye-phuket-hello-bangkok )…unfortunately Jack wasn’t there and had some other guy give me a fade.  Not bad, but it wasn’t Jack-quality.  Later that night, I got an hour foot massage…best $4US I spent! 🙂

Monday morning, my alarm woke me up at 6AM local time so I could start watching the Superbowl on CBS’s website.  The stupid site would continually play Samsung commercials then error out for the live stream…so just went back to bed.  Around 10AM my alarm went off again and I frantically re-packed everything and checked out to make my 12:45pm flight to Phuket.  After a 45 min cab ride, I arrived at Suvarnabhumi Airport and went to the AirAsia desk to check-in…she said Air-Asia flies out of Don Mueng airport now and that I need to get in a cab because I don’t have much time!!!!!!  I ran back out to the cabbie line and told the driver to go fast…it’s a 40min ride back towards Bangkok and that didn’t give me much time.  The driver made it to the airport around 12:15pm and the flight leaves 30min…but still have to check-in my bags and go through security.  Luckily when I got to the gate, they didn’t even board yet.  That was one of the most-stressful parts of the trip so far.  Once I boarded the plane, I heard people talking in loud and intense voices…they were pushy too…Was I back in NYC!?!?!  – No, I wasn’t, it’s just that the majority of the plane was filled with Chinese people!!!  I wanted to tell them “Sabai-sabai” which means relax in Thai.  Not sure if I’ll be using this air-line again.

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