Thai Takeaway(s)

Thailand – unerringly one of the popular destinations for India and many abroad – for its food, its beaches, its biodiversity and its very youthful night life.

Got the chance to visit this country and one of the reasons for not having a blog; right after the visit – was that I really am not sure if it left an imprint in my head. Reasons; as I device:
1. Language issues – Most of the locals in Thailand – were not versed with English. And this was quite a surprise for me. More importantly; it drastically reduce the scope of my conversations with the Thai citizens. (Lead to one of those recurring thoughts of whether a common language is a blessing or a curse. Alternative schools believe that local languages for the best for individuals development and humans have not fully explored the ability to learn new languages and explore the potentials of sign language.)
2. I spent most of the time with my dear friend from College, Nikita. And when you meet a fast friend; after a long time; you are more immersed with the friend than the people.

So I guess this is more of “Story when the two friends meet and explore the city” THAN the story from “The New adventures in Thailand of a lone traveler”. I will still try my best to do justice to the flavors of the local place.

World class infrastructure

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It is a pleasant surprise to have an Asian country with very smooth roads, and extremely fast moving traffic. If you are a mild-hearted person; you better not sit in the e-rickshaws (they call it Tuk-Tuk) in Thailand. They drive at the speed o 120 Kms/hour in the traffic with cars rushing at 150 kms/hour. And anyone who’s had this experience will not disagree.

Disaster Mode On for Vegetarians; and then you bump into the Vegan World

Thailand as much a delight for the versatile foodie as much as it can pain a simple vegetarian (I was served Ham and Fish Spices despite my multiple attempts to explain my case); but only until the Vegetarian finds some Vegan Places. These Vegan Places are quite a dynamic place with multiple options and as a vegetarian, I can say – I didn’t miss the Cheese – there were just some many amazing alternatives!

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There can’t be enough said about the Raw Papaya Salad, this is one of the most delicious things I have had in my life so far!

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While this looks quite pretty on the plate; be ready for the tangy tasting beans, raw cheese; and some odd tiny tomatoes. But when this is the only breakfast option for you, for three days, the Indian in you may get slightly upset.

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When the Salad is all you need to complete your dinner dates. Full of new fresh leaves and a lot of nuts.

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When you are just too used to your Indian-ness and go for an Indian restaurant in the foreign land; taste buds die hard.

Popular Floating Markets in Thailand – Not quite a catch

Everyone of my friends/acquaintances who got to know about my Thailand trip before I went on one; suggested me to surely take time out for floating markets – market on boat. It sure was an extra-ordinary thing for someone like me – born and brought up in completely land-locked cities. So Nikita and I took a taxi and drove approximately 200 kms from Bangkok to reach Bangkok’s biggest floating market – Damoen Saduak. There wasn’t really a ticket counter; there were ticket sellers who were open to bargain. They started with approximately INR 5,000 per person. This was outrageous. All it included was a round of the market on the boat. Nikita refused and was almost ready to go back 200 kms to Bangkok. I was only wondering that maybe it is really worth it, after all everyone mentioned to me to try it. The dilemma on my face was visible. Nikita  was asking me to come with her and get back in the car; an expression of confusion explicit on my face. Nikita later told that she was trying her best to bargain but my stupidity could hardly take her anywhere. But it wasn’t all for the bad. We got a bargain of INR 3,000 per person (not that this is worth it!) So here goes some glimpses from there.

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Here starts the journey to the floating market.

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Just didn’t know what else to do – in the middle of a puddle cum river where our boat was rowed

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Bumna (who drove us everywhere in Thailand) shared the Buddhist’s practices in Thai. So you start by lighting pair of agarbattis; picking up golden foil that is available; on the golden statue; and then make a wish (:

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This is how the Golden foiled Buddha looks like!

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When you have no clue whats going on but keep a grin on your face.

Ruins over Rafting: Thailand’s Ayutthaya (read Ayodhya)

So the only other day we had in Thailand; we had the option to go for adventure sports or check the ruins of the old city of Ayutthaya. Like always, we picked up two generations old choice – Ruins. We took the local train to Ayutthaya from Bangkok – gauging another experience in the midst. With no second thoughts, it is worth travelling in the local train in Thailand – for the speed, beauty and the opportunity to meet some exciting souls during the journey. But check carefully at the ticket counter for tickets with SEAT numbers. In other cases, they only cut a ticket, comparable to the passenger ticket in India. You can travel but you can’t really sit. We happened to have one such tickets. So here comes some close calls from Ayutthaya.

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We cycled more than 20 kms that day. Our day was made; we re-lived the players in us.  Everything else was just another part; this captured all our love.

The city was a beautiful city in ruins. Temples at every sight you see – perhaps more than 40 temples in less than 10 kms radius. The Buddha statues can be seen all over – many broken and hampered – perhaps by invasions over time.

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The Railway station of Ayutthaya – we reached drenched. Heavy pour in the evening – almost choking me whether I will catch my flight in the morning.

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Friendly little railway stations in Thailand

Things not to say to a local in Thailand

This is mostly from conversations with two of my friends in Thailand.

  1. Thailand is a developing country: People in  Thailand love to believe that it is a developed country so even while it is listed as a developing country according to World Bank; Thai people take it as an offence if you say that. Reasons are fully explored. There are possibilities that it is do with a Monarchy Syndrome which basically stands for that (false) sense of pride in your nation/region/state.
  2. No Words against the King: It is punishable by law if you are caught speaking against the King. As I heard, there are many student movements currently against the Thai King – like I guess in any brimming democracy. But they are all no less than a terrorist group in the state. Things quite unknown about the country – to a naive traveler.

Buddhist Realm in Thailand

Here are some glimpses of the large magnificent praying monuments of Thailand.

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There is no way, really to capture the magnificence of this architect. It was just blatant and un-apologetically Giant.

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This was the praying hall of one of the 24 temples I got to visit. More importantly, this was the only prayer hall that was open to commoners like me. It was rather unbelieving. The religion that I know has its roots in meditation – the temples of which were devoid of meditation spaces. This is very unlike the usual Buddhist monastery you would visit in India. Having said that, this place was more than just another praying hall. The statues were grand and the pin-drop-silence was telling – telling of the reaches of meditational grounds this place must have reached!

Some extra fun facts

ROYAL RITUAL

Every princesses (Thai King’s daughters) have a color associated with them. To pay a tribute, the college in which the princesses would study; will dedicate a building to her and decorate it with the same color as that of the princesses. Here is the one I got the chance to visit, my friend Sorravich’s university – decorated one of the campus building in purple – in honor of one of the King’s daughter.

 

THE TAMED SON?

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If you zoom in this image you see a father and a son connected with a string. When they passed by us, we realised that the father is holding one edge of the string and the other edge is tied at the child’s end. Unwittingly it felt to me, instead of upgrading the dog to be child of the family; this is where you under-grade your son as a wild untamed animal. My words are harsh but the sight was as painful.

 

The RAWEEKANLAYA RESORT

For anyone looking for suggestions where to stay in Thailand, I would suggest The Raweekanlaya Resort – without any second thoughts. A beautiful and peaceful place to come back to anytime of the day, night, month, year (:

In the end, just a small dedication to the two loved souls – who I could reconnect and enjoy the beauty of the land and its people with ! (:

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