I was not able to snap many pictures today. It was my job to drive the final three hours to Phuket and our hotel there, and they kind of frown upon a person who is busy taking pictures while driving a car. I know I had a lot of free time to run around and take pictures after we had arrived, but the rains arrived and I was stuck in my hotel room for much of the afternoon. It is a shame too because the last three hours of this drive highlight a beautiful part of Thailand. There are palm tree hills all over the place that I was forced to weave through in order to make my way to our final destination. The clouds coming in from the ocean clung to the tops of these mountains and just added to the overall experience. Add in a huge golden Buddha sitting on top of a few of these hills and it was one of the better drives that I have experienced in a long time. This is something that I would have missed out on if I had flown down to Phuket instead of driving so I am glad that I did it this way instead. I will tell you that if you are considering doing the same thing, it is not an easy drive. The roads are just as windy as you can find in the mountains of Colorado, and the drivers do not improve just because you have found your way out of the big cities of Thailand. It is tempting to look at the view along the way, but you really need to pay attention to the road because you never know what the person next to you will do. Add in a rainy deluge and you have the perfect recipe for disaster. I took it slow and made it safely, but there were a couple of time where I was worried about the situation around me.
I am happy to be in Phuket, and the weather can’t stay bad the whole two weeks I am in this part of the world. I will make it out of the hotel and share the beauty of this place soon. I promise you will not regret seeing it.
I have been told that the month of September in Thailand is part of the rainy season, and even though, I have seen more rain storms during the short time I have lived out than I would ever experience in five years in Colorado, they have been short bursts of heavy rain that moves on, and I can go back outside to enjoy the heat. Yesterday was the first time that I saw the day-long deluge that I envisioned when I heard about the term rainy season. The rain started early in the morning and continued all day long, and it wasn’t a little drizzle that I get to experience in Portland during the holidays. It was a dumping
But I am on my first three day weekend since school started almost two months ago, and I wasn’t going to waste it watching bad television in my hotel room or playing Exploding Kittens on my tablet. I wanted to get out and explore this city that I have lived in and learn more about what it has to offer. One of the things that this city is well-known for is its street markets, and the biggest one sit on the edge of town and draws in tourists from all over, Chatachuk Weekend Market. It is a crazy maze of tiny shops that sell everything from fresh food and clothes to iPhone cases and Thai art. It is a must come to place for anybody that is visiting the country, and it was my plan for the day. I wasn’t going to let a little rain from allowing me to enjoy this experience.
I have been to this market once before, and there are many ways to get down there. I would recommend either taking the BTS to the Mo Chit station on the green line, but you can also take the blue line on the Metro to the Chatachuk Park station. Both of them drop you off right there. You can also take a cab down there, but cab drivers will try to play with tourists to get a little more money out of them. Make sure that they are using their meters, but they still might try to take the long way around to get you there. The best way is by train.
When you get there, know that there are different parts of the market. The fun one takes up four city blocks and has a big ring that you ca follow on the outside of the market, but if you come you want to venture into the skinny aisles that take you to the insane part of the market. It is designed to keep the like things together. They have a section for clothes, a section for gardening supplies, and even a warehouse where furniture designers can show off the new creations that they have made. But as soon as you walk down the aisles, you do not know what you can find. If you see something that you like but you don’t know if you want to get it, make sure you find out the section and the soy it is in because it is really easy to lose the little booth, and it makes it almost impossible to find again.
But the real treasure of Chatachuk is not about what things you can go out to buy; it is all about the weird things that you will find that sellers will do to have their place be distinguished from the one next to them. I did not come to the market to buy anything. I am still trying to unpack all of my stuff from moving here, and I do not need to add to the collection yet. I came down here to laugh at the weirdness, and to be a part of the Thai experience. I saw t-shirts with saying that still make me laugh. I saw some incredible artwork, both 2D and 3D. And I enjoyed watching the people as they ate, got massages, shopped or got a haircut. It is a market alive with humanity, and this is the reason that it becomes a must-see place on any visit to Bangkok.
The rain did not take away from the fun. If anything, it made it more fun. The crowds that would usually come down to experience the market stayed home to avoid the mess that was being dumped from the sky, and it opened up the streets, and the aisles to make it easier to get around. The sellers were still there, and my fun could still be had by the cheap purchase of an umbrella. I would recommend coming down here on any visit to Bangkok, but more so when it rains.
Well, it has come and gone, the day where Americans get together to blow things up.
Happy Independence Day, the 4th of July.
Many countries celebrate their own Independence Days, but only in America is there the noise and light show that comes along with it. And being a world traveler, being outside the United States on this date does not mean as much as it does to be here. It is that fireworks display that makes this holiday so much fun.
Growing up in Colorado, the fireworks display was never guaranteed. There were many years where it was just too dry and any fire might cause a disaster that would burn whole neighborhoods to the ground. So when the year was wet enough to allow for a fireworks, we had a tendency to go a little overboard with it, and this year was no exception. Colorado has experienced an exceptional amount of snow this winter which had rolled right into the summer as the rains continue to pound the Front Range. In fact, yesterday, there were many times that we had to run inside to avoid getting wet because there was a series of storms that continued to roll through. It made for some spectacular light displays from nature, but extended the time we were shooting off fireworks.
Fireworks have also gotten a little ruder. Before they had names like Lotus Flower, or Emerald Dragon, but this year we were able to experience the Big Balls, and the Pooping Puppy. The ones that we got to watch during the day were pretty explicit with the Pooping Puppy being my favorite. It basically combined the snake fireworks that quickly bored us as children with a quick spurt of flame that gave the explosive effects of dog wolfing down a spicy burrito the day before.
The Big Balls were also a big favorite, but were seriously dangerous. Basically after a short fuse, they would explode in a huge display of bright sparkles that covered the whole road. Anybody that found themselves in the explosion would have sustained some type of injury that would have required a quick emergency room visit. I tried to take a picture of the explosion, but it happened too quickly and looked nothing more than a bright sun when the exposure finally happened, so it was one of those fireworks that had to be written down in memory, and you would just have to wait until next year if you wanted to see the explosion again.
That is if they are legal next year. I could see a bunch of people coming into hospitals this year with lost hands and feet that may make lawmakers reconsider whether this is the type of firework that they want to keep around.
But that is part of the fun of fireworks. There is a little bit of risks that make them more exciting than just the explosion that comes at the end of the fuse. It creates excitement every year for when that sun goes down that everybody can go out a celebrate the day that we as American declared out independence. It is those explosions that make the holiday and memorable moment every year, and I am glad that the rain held off long enough this year so I could enjoy it in this own special way.
I have forgot what it means to be dry
Because I have lived in this rain too long.
I hope my personal weather will sigh,
Allowing the time with the sun the time to be strong.
Until then I will sit under this cloud
With my drenched clothes clinging to my body.
A fool in the rain can never be proud,
Punishment for never being naughty.
I will continue to wear my smile
‘Cause others depend on the attitude.
Dripping laughter will become my style,
Never expecting any platitude.
Will any ever understand my pain,
Just a wet man, standing in his own rain?