Yes, we have finally made it to the land of smiles, Thailand! We haven’t see or done too much worth posting about, honestly. Bangkok is a big city, pretty much like every other big city out there. I am looking forward to getting up north to the countryside and really seeing some of the country. But here is a basic summary so far.
The Bangkok airport is really well organized. It took us five minutes to get through customs. The taxis are lined up waiting to take you where you need to go. We got to our guesthouse and, while it is nice, it isn’t anything fancy. But the service is excellent. The manager is extremely helpful and will write the names of places we want to go in Thai for the taxis. The restaurant has a pretty extensive menu and Delaney would love it because most of the options are vegetarian. The only bad things are that the walls are paper thin and it isn’t anywhere close to a metro line (Bangkok has both an elevated train system and a subway system). But for 12 USD per night, it’s pretty good.
So, we traveled to a foreign country for my dream vacation and how did we spend the first night? We went to see The Hobbit, of course! Nerdy is as nerdy does. Thailand really takes movie-going seriously. You can get seats for as little as 100B (about $3.33), but they have various classes of seats and theaters. So if you end up sitting in an “absolute luxury” reclining sofa seat theater, you can end up paying up to 1000B. We got regular seats, but whet to the HD 3D showing because I wanted to see how it turned out. It’s pretty good, but takes getting used to. It is like watching an HD TV, which when I have watched the one at Seth’s folks’ house, I have hated it. The Hobbit was weird at first, too, but after about an hour it didn’t bother me so much. The great thing about it, though, is that the film isn’t too dark at all, which has been a major problem with 3D films to date. HD3D is probably the wave of the future (though I don’t know how cost effective it is at this point).
The film itself was pretty good. Not as good as The Fellowship of the Ring, but I am eternally grateful that Jackson finally caved and did the film himself and not Guillermo Del Toro. It has a lot of the same feel as the Lord of the Rings trilogy, so the whole things works together as one story, as it should. I’m looking forward to seeing the rest of it play out.
We have had a fun time comparing Thailand to China and learning some Thai customs already. Thailand is much cleaner than China. Littering (even cigarette butts) and spitting carries a 2,000B fine and there is no smoking allowed inside most places, and people do a pretty good job of following these rules. There are pictures of the king (Rama IX) and queen everywhere. The “King’s Song” plays before all major events (even before movie theater shows) and, in some neighborhoods, over loud speakers every day. When it comes on everyone is expected to stand and show respect. If a bhat is on the ground, never step on it! It carries the visage of the king and to step on it would be tantamount to kicking the king in the face. The Thai do not shake hands, but fold their hands in front of them and bow their head (the wai). The human head is the most sacred part of the body while the feet are the most foul so you must never put your feet up on the furniture, even a stool.
Seth was attacked by a shark.
Those are just a few highlights so far. I will be updating the blog (under the tag In Thailand), Facebook, and Twitter from Thailand for the next two weeks, so be sure to follow us on our adventure!
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