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Around the world travel, Backpacking, Bangkok, Bucket List, Southeast Asia, Temples, Thailand, Travel

Temples and Temples and Ping Pong, Oh My?!

It turns out Friday was a national holiday in Thailand, and the government was promoting tourism, so we managed to get a tuk-tuk to take us around for 3 hours for about the price of $0.25. Imagine what you would pay for a 3-hour cab ride in NYC? We did have to stop off at a couple of tailor shops, as it seemed that’s who was providing the gas coupons to the tuk-tuk drivers. Who knows? That’s what we were told, but hey, we still got a $0.25 tuk tuk ride, whether it was truly a holiday or not. Doh, was our driver and he also rolled in a Thai language lesson into that bargain tuk-tuk drive. We now knew how to say “hello,” “thank you,” “goodbye,” and “good luck” by the end of the ride. Now, there are A LOT of temples in Bangkok, and after a couple, they do all start to look the same, but we wanted to make sure we saw the main ones. After about 3, we opted for a change of scenery. We grabbed some Thai food close to the hostel and began chatting with some people at the next table over (who we’d seen earlier on the temple circuit) who were making their way back to London via Tehran, after spending 8 days in Thailand. We decided to spend the afternoon on a long tail boat on the Chao Phraya River with them.


It was pretty eye-opening to hear their stories from the most recent election in Iran and the protests and violence that accompanied it. And again, it makes me realize that my travels will enable me to cross paths with people from all over the world from all different walks of life, which is what I love most about it all.

After our river cruise, we headed back to the hostel to gather ourselves and debate about the evening plans. For those of you who know Thailand, I can just say the words “ping-pong,” and you’ll know where this is going. For those of you who don’t, here’s some background. Bangkok is known for many things, one of them being sex tourism. Many people come here for this alone. There is one area specifically, Pat Pong Road, which is the equivalent of a “red light” district, where these “ping pong” shows are all the rage. Basically pair a strip show with a talent competition, the act being the most bizarre thing a woman can do with her “you know what”… To keep this PC, I won’t go into too much detail, but we did see ping pong balls being launched (yes, launched) from there, bottle caps being taken off of bottles, darts being launched at inflated balloons, and well, you get the picture. One of the last acts was a lady blowing out all of the candles on a birthday cake (No, I’m not kidding). We decided this was our cue that the party was over, and made a fast exit. And on the way home, I couldn’t help but think that I’ll never look at table tennis in quite the same way again.

Around the world travel, Backpacking, Bangkok, Cipro, ER Visit, Southeast Asia, Thailand, Travel

Welcome to Thailand, Where’s the closest hospital?

We wake up early on Thursday to head to Bangkok. I am in a world of pain. It now hurts to breathe. I feel like I have a stitch that is occupying every muscle and crevasse in my stomach. My chest feels tight and the more I think about it, the more worried I become, and the more my chest hurts. I now know this is not residuals from whatever I had picked up in India. Fortunately, I’m travelling with my friend Amanda, who is a nurse in Atlanta, so she is poking and prodding my stomach, making sure it’s not my appendix. God, please don’t let it be my appendix, but if it is, get that thing out of my body now so this pain will go away. Unfortunately, today is a travel day. We have a three hour flight to Bangkok. I try to eat, I try to go to the bathroom, I try to drink water. Anything to make this thing leave my system. Then the pain shift, The pain leaves the right side of my stomach and moves to the left. At this point I feel like something is literally gnawing at my insides. Somehow, I manage to get to the airport, get my bags checked in and get on the plane. I pray that I’m not that girl that needs “medical assistance” during the flight. 
I know I have to hang on until Bangkok, where I have heard hospitals are clean, numerous and the doctors speak English well. We board the plane, and the pilot announces the flying time is four hours. I curse the one-hour time difference. As we fly, with each breath I take, I feel a pinch. We land in Bangkok, and I tell Amanda I want to go straight to a hospital. We walk through the medical check, which is being recorded by video camera because of the H1N1 epidemic, and I try to look as healthy as possible (although it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world if I got sent back to Bali).
We decide to find accommodation first and then find a doctor. We get a room for about $6 per person just off of Koh San Road, and fortunately there is an international medical clinic just around the corner. We hightail it here, and I’m just relieved to be somewhere where someone might be able to help. I speak to a doctor and she diagnoses me with a kidney infection and a fever. She tells me I need a course of Cipro (antibiotics), and bless Dr. Saha in NY for sending me away with this as a “precautionary measure.” I am told to go back the next morning to get the results of the tests and make sure it is nothing more serious. In the meantime, I take the Cipro, Tylenol, and drink liters and liters of water. 
The following morning, I feel like a new woman. Well, I can breathe without pain and have a much better range of motion… I think of the other way this scenario could have played out… I thank the Cipro, the English-speaking doc, the clean clinic and my very patient travel partner. We venture out, slowly, to see some of Bangkok.