Sunday, December 15, 2013

12-6-13 to 12-8-13 The Weekend of Failure

      Happy birthday to my dad!!!!!!!!! I feel sad that I can’t be home for the celebration, but I have an idea for his birthday gift. Until March! :) I hope my dad likes it!!!

      Also, this is a blog entry mostly about our failure to reach our ultimate goal of taking pictures with sunflowers. 

Fail Story #1:
      I found out a mini-bus leaves from MTT (my place) to go to Ang Thong, where I was meaning to visit my friend Ashley. It is one hour north of MTT. Because I am north of Bangkok, Jess decided to meet me at my place. However, because she left a bit later than we originally planned, she was stuck in very intense traffic. (Boy, don’t I know how that feels after traveling to Bangkok almost every single weekend!) Anyway, I sat around waiting for hours, and we both were so stressed out that my hair felt like it was just falling out of its own accord. 
      The people at my bus station kept laughing because we couldn’t understand each other. I kept trying to indicate to them that my friend was coming, so they tried to wait for me every hour or so, but finally, the penultimate van going to Ang Thong left. By the time Jess arrived, there was ONE left headed to that area. To accommodate her vegetarian needs though, especially since she hadn’t eaten any ounce of food for the entire day, we ran into the market, grabbed an omelette, and came hurrying back.
      Someone in a van waved to me as we were crossing the street back to the stop; I believe we had taken 10 minutes total to buy some food. I immediately assumed it was that last van that we had been waiting for, but Jess told me that our van would still be waiting where we had left it. When we reached the place where it had been parked, we found an empty space. ARGH! I knew it was our van!!! That just added to our frustration. (I understand that it’s not their job to wait for us, especially seeing as they have other people to pick up, but still, when we were crossing the street in front of the driver, and he was waving, I really wish he could’ve stopped for us!) :(
      We decided to hop a van to Future Park Mall/Rangsit, another big bus place. By the time we reached there though, all the vans running to Ang Thong had left as well. (Makes sense because it was later on in the evening.) Some people sitting around said we could hop a big bus and pay 1000 baht. YEAH RIGHT!!! A normal mini-bus ride would have taken us the same amount of time, would’ve been much more comfortable, and it would have only cost us 120 baht at the most. We walked into the mall, disappointed and EXHAUSTED, and decided to just crash at Jess’s place so we could leave earlier the next morning from Victory Monument.

Charging our technology in the mall... and taking a goofy pic!

We decided that since we were there, we might as well take a picture (or two).
Future Park Mall/Rangsit


Fail Story #2:
      To clarify, the original plan had been to meet up with my friend Ashley in Ang Thong (a 1-hour bus ride from me), sleep over, and then head to Lopburi as a group (1 hour to the east). However, because we didn’t want to miss the sunflower fields during the day, and we wanted more time to explore the monkey temples in Lopburi, Jess and I decided to leave for Lopburi instead on Saturday.
      We woke up, took the MRT to the BTS (these are all train systems), and then we went to Victory Monument. Coincidentally, because we were heading north from Bangkok to Lopburi, our mini-bus took us right past Future Park mall/Rangsit again. Fantastic! We could’ve stayed overnight at my place and just left from MTT. UGH!!!

A coffee place we stopped by when the van/mini-bus needed more gas. :)
Those stepping circles are actually a pathway to the shop, and they're
surrounded by water! :D

Mountainous view (or maybe it's just a mountain view lol)

      Reaching Lopburi, we met up with Ashley. We all then walked around and took many fun pictures with monkeys. Until one bit Ashley because she got just a little too close and the monkey was feeling particularly territorial. Actually, I was trapped by a monkey too, and someone had to tempt the monkey away so I could climb down the stairs. See pictures below...

Awww, so cute!

One of the temples

Grandpa monkey

Younger monkey eating on a bench

Looking down from the top of the monkeys' rocks

We had to climb down these perilous, craggy steps.

Since we only saw 2 monkeys, I thought that it was all just hype.

However, this one was in the middle of a fountain...
in the middle of an intersection... and snarled 
at my friend when she tried to coo to it.

I liked the golden-colored giant monkeys.

We visited this Wat.

And I took pictures with this giant monkey! :)

But then I was stuck because there was a real monkey on the stairs...
I had to wait for a lady to throw some seeds for it to eat before I could come down.
Otherwise, I might get bitten :(

In front, trying to prevent the wind from blowing my hair in my face!

Monkeys drinking stuff on the streets lol

So cute! Trying to get the last droplets.

These monkeys were all over these bags. They clearly own the town.

There were even mommy monkeys with their babies. :)

They even cross the street!

      Remember we wanted to see the sunflower fields? (And I have this weird habit of calling the fields “seeds,” so I keep having to self-correct. It’s so silly what I am saying: “Are we going to the sunflower seeds?” Maybe I need to have a stronger handle on my usage of the English language. Geez.) Well, we walked around and tried to find taxis, but since it is not a tourist town, they didn’t have any. They had motorbikes for rent (but only a manual one), which we couldn’t even rent because none of us brought our passports. They had cars for hire, but everyone was requesting a lot of money, so we ended up giving up and went to Ang Thong. 

Noom's Guesthouse, full of farang lol

      Ashley is an expert Thai driver. She can handle 3 people on a bike, easy. I could barely handle myself on one, and when I drove Lindsay once upon a time, I was sweating through my clothes and I hit a car. (Remember that?) I am uberly impressed by her skill and wish I had that good of control over myself and my bike. She took us to a market that was especially set up for the King’s birthday and I tried sticky rice in bamboo! We relaxed and talked a lot that night... and Ashley kindly offered us her beloved motorbike to borrow the next morning as we decided to head back to Lopburi. She planned to skip out on it because she didn’t want to deal with the hassle.

Farang sandwich :D

Thai khao lom: sticky rice wrapped in bamboo shoots

For the King's birthday

Me unwrapping my taro sticky rice

Us chilling in Ashley's room. I love hanging out with my friends :)

Fail Story #3: 
      Again, from Ang Thong to Lopburi, it is about a 1-hour drive.
      After about 30 minutes of hair-whipping (from my own hair because it was punishing me for not treating it very well) speeds on a motorbike, my hair was all tangled and nasty. It was impossible to fix--and would be impossible to fix for at least another 5 days. Anyway, that’s not the point of my story. 
      When Jess decided to stop mid-way to check on our progress and to see if we were on the right path, the motorbike decided to die. Stuck in the middle of roads that only people traveling from town to town were taking, we revved the engine several times, but when we pulled the throttle(? I don’t know my motorbike jargon), the motorbike would not budge an inch. Of course, right? Why not let the third time be the charm? Let Fate, for once, decide to be all anti-conformist.)
      To drastically shorten this very frustrating experience, I will say that we pushed the motorbike to some random local stand/restaurant place, people spoke to me a lot in Thai, even though I kept telling them I could not understand anything except for basic, broken Thai, and we waited around for an hour to see if we could have the motorbike fixed or see a police that could help us. 
      After much confusing one-sided conversation from both ends, we finally ended up boarding a truck, taking it a half an hour back to Ang Thong, and we paid the locals handsomely for gas and all the trouble they went through. I love Thai people because they are so friendly and helpful... but why do their things keep breaking on us?!

Yeah, there was an hour of this, when people were trying to figure out the best way to help us.

Oh well, at least it was nice and peaceful :) I tried to order
a Thai iced tea, but I think they thought I was just asking
about prices... so I never got one :(

Quite a story to tell about our failed weekend, huh? 
They loaded up the motorbike while we took pictures of our misadventure.

But at least we got to ride in a truck!!! :)

     Yeah, so to end that story, we never made it to the sunflowers. :(
      BUT! Here’s the other part of the story; next weekend, as we were planning to go to Hua Hin, but we found out the hostels were at least $20 a night which I am way too frugal for, we decided to try to see the sunflower fields one more time. For Jess, it was a goal because she loves taking artistic photos, but for me, it was more of a stubborn determination. Once someone tempts me with something and I attempt it (and usually ultimately fail at it), I bounce back even more bullheaded than before. 

Ashley's home features bird nests!

If you look carefully, there's a dove in there :)

(SPOILER: we do see the sunflower fields, but just not this weekend!)

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