After my hour flight from Chiang Mai to Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi aiport, a driver from Sitmonchai gym was waiting for me. It’s about a 2 hour ride there and costs 2000 baht. You could take a much cheaper train and bus or minivan to this rural area, but I don’t trust my Thai language skills yet, haha.
Around 10pm we pulled into the driveway of Sitmonchai…this was one of the gyms I spent my past 2 months researching on the internet, reading reviews, pics and watching videos of training. They have a stable of well known active Thai fighters. Their signature style is heavy-hands with KO power and devastating low-kicks. The gym is located in a small rural town, called Tha Maka in Kanchanaburi Province. For training, this is the perfect type of environment as there are minimal distractions and temptations 😉 I’ll also be living at the gym, amongst the Thai’s…meaning my room will literally be just a few feet from the ring and give me a very intense, “authentic” training experience. Although I was only going to spend a week here, there was no way in h*ll I was going to miss out on this part of my trip 🙂
The first person to greet me out of the car was Pornsanae (watch this short Muay Thai Journal episode by John Wolcott)…who is he? Just some fighter that’s fought at some of Thailand’s most prestigious stadiums…wow, what a stand-up guy. Abigail who is the ambassador/ manager came after and the first thing she said was that I look like Saenchi! lol
As I walked into the common area, I met everyone else who either worked or trained here, both Thai and foreigner…3 other American’s, the most I’ve met on this trip, ha…Sweden, Canada, Portugal and Australia were some of the other countries represented. Also, for the week, I would have a roommate, Andrew from Canada. A few hours later, I met the owner Pee A and Nick…they just arrived from China after his fight.
Being that it was late, I didn’t wanna be a jerk and wake up my roomie by taking a shower…so I used the communal outdoor showers in the back of the camp. It was dark and barely light…just a bunch of shower heads spread a few feet apart on concrete ground, nothing fancy. There were a few plastic lawn chairs where people left their shower soap, shampoo, etc. On the fences were peoples shorts and t-shirts draped…but I didn’t care, it was hot and just wanted a cold shower to feel refreshed then pass out in my bed.
Afterwards, I just stood there and reflected on what occured…did I really just take a shower outside? If you asked me 6 months ago, what would I be doing? This is the last place I’d think of as an answer. And after already spending 4 weeks in Thailand, a rural area with just the basics didn’t faze me…I was ok with this 🙂 In contrast to this, back home my friends think I’m a bit of a high-maintenance diva, lol.[nggallery id=24]