Monday, 12 June 2017

Thailand Diaries 26th May - Sightseeing 2.0

I woke up this morning to a message from the Australian girl saying that she'd had a wonderful experience booking through the travel agency, and she couldn't imagine that they would con us. I, however, fuelled by paranoia, was still convinced all our tickets were fake and we wouldn't even be able to get on the train to Chiang Mai. I told Jack I was tempted not even to go on the route, forget it ever happened and book everything again ourselves. He, however, suggested we just ride it out and see, because we still didn't know. Our receipt said a taxi would pick us up at 4PM tomorrow, so we should wait for it and see what happens. 

We were meant to move to a hostel tonight, but I went and booked another night at the Arun hotel just to feel more secure after the shock of yesterday. I also got a little discount too. Whether my bartering skills have improved, or the hotel staff are just nice, I cannot say.

SO. First stop on our Sightseeing Day 2.0 was brunch, at the most AMAZING little place - AMA. I went for Tom Kha Goong soup and sticky rice, which came in a teeny little bowl but was incredibly filling. It's a spicy, prawn and lemon grass concoction of WONDERFULNESS and my favourite dish so far!

Onto the sights. This time, no fucker was going to stop us from viewing the Grand Palace and Wat Pho. We strode fast and pointedly along the Palace wall, and I swear to god it was a complete obstacle course. Tuk tuk drivers asking if we wanted a ride and lingering men asking where we were going, saying everything was closed.. IT IS NOT CLOSED. We know this because we googled it before we left. Walk walk walk.

We walked until we found streams of people in full black outfits surrounding an entrance, but I knew that the foreign entrance was separate so we had to continue on. Remember when I said yesterday that there was no signage? Yep. You just have to walk until you see people queueing.

Anyway, WE GOT IN! YES. Straight to the 7 Eleven for water, and into the palace grounds. What greeted us once inside? A real black Buddha. 

There was a huge, painted wall telling stories, mainly of battles, but this sweet little pair stood out to me.

I said the statue looked just like Jack whenever he was surprised.

Half way through our tour on this very hot and humid day, our water had depleted greatly. Against my warnings, Jack filled it up at a public water fountain. A queue of people were doing the same, but I had been repeatedly warned not to drink anything but bottled water. Then again everyone was doing it. I don't knowwwwww...

After walking around the gold painted grounds, we had a less appealing task ahead. Jack supposedly had a fitting booked at the tailors. We headed onto the street and walked down little roads until we found a row of tuk tuks. Our idea was that a lot of them were probably in on it, so would know where the place was.

A driver came up to us and gave us a much cheesier pitch than the pros yesterday, saying the tailors had a discount only today. Jack said that we had already been and wanted to go back. He said "You've already been? No, I don't know" and literally turned his back on us. Not very good for the spirits. Okay. Onto the next street. 

This time we showed the map on the card Jack had, and the guy looked at it for a while, agreed and we set off. My fingers, toes, arms and legs were all crossed the whole way. Then... we turned down a street that I recognised and THERE IT WAS! THE PLACE! Right, this is stage one of success. We know where it is, so can do something about it, if it is a scam.

Looking back, our behaviour in the shop was very funny. I activated mobile data took about 20 screen shots of the location on google maps, snuck photos of the interior, and then Jack being fitted in............a suit. A suit, of the fabrics we had chosen yesterday, half made. And then a fully made shirt. Omg? This is legit?

The funniest thing came when Jack asked the shop assistant to sign a contract stating that he had been in for a fitting but not yet received the suit in full, and would in a week's time. Which I filmed (secretly). We were taking NO chances, okay? And then asked to get the number again, which turned out to be correct, and we were the ones who didn't use the local code before dialling... Ha.

Then we hopped into an Uber (I had data now anyway) back to Wat Pho, laughing, bemusedly. Does this mean it wasn't a scam? Will the travel agent's be okay too?

The Wat Pho - Home of the Reclining Buddha - was by far my favourite of the two stops today. The Reclining Buddha was extraordinarily big - with it's own building, and you could walk around and see the statue from every angle. This is us being unable to take a proper photo because I'm a midget and he's a giant.

As we were looking around at 5PM, we were lucky enough to witness the Monks' prayer, where they sung continually for around 20 minutes. It was beautiful. If you visit Wat Pho, do not miss this. 

We then went to visit the Wat Pho massage school, and treated ourselves to an hour long Thai Massage to release some of the stress of the day, which was really nice. A word for the wise, Thai massages are not at all like the shoulder rubbing you know -  there's a lot of poking of muscles and stretching of limbs! For Jack's birthday last year, I bought him a Thai massage in Manchester, which he said was essentially paid torture. Ha ha. I asked them to go soft this time.


Dinner! We decided on a fancy meal after the massage because we had been SO on edge for the past 24 hours, and wanted to snap out of it.

Tomorrow is a big day. We wait and see whether our package holiday works out as well as the suits are seeming! Could we really get off the hook? Either way, we're successfully not letting it get the better of us. Today has been lovely.


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