Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Pork sausage recovery tour (Bangkok and Koh Tao)

Laura's pork sausage from Kanchanaburi's night market has finally made it through her system. She wasn't able to keep anything down during the first 24 hours, many of which she slept. The next 24 hours she had to be mobile because we had to get to Bangkok for our second JEV shot. She consumed some fruit in the morning and sucked it up for the two hour bus ride back.

We arrived at Bumrungrad hospital around 2 pm, check in for our shot, and then the confusion began. Turns out during the week between our first and second shot, the hospital changed to a "new" vaccine vendor. This vendor sold a vaccine that required only two shots, one at day 0 and another at day 90 for 100% immunity to Japanese Encephalitus. What about our 30 day schedule? They didn't have that vaccine anymore. We weren't interested in hanging around Bangkok for ninety more days so we stated the issue that we were only planning on being in the area for 30 days. The nuyrse consulted with the doctor who then consulted with the pharmacist and eventually, the result was that with just one shot, we would be 80% immune to JE. Ahh, a magical shot! We accepted it and decided we were free from Bangkok.

Laura was nearly fully recovered the following day and exhibited so by downing some bread with jelly for breakfast. It was time to visit a couple more sights in Bangkok and then plan our trip south. We began at the Vimanmek mansion, the largest teak house in the world, build by King Rama V for his home.
The mansion is now a museum in a beautiful government garden. We toured half of the mansion, admiring relics from Europe, Africa, and Asia that the king collected.

Wat Arun, the temple of dawn, was our next stop. The temple was on the opposite side of the river from Bangkok's center requiring us to take a water taxi to it. The wat sits on the riverside just across from the grand palace.
A number of monks in saffron robes walked the wat grounds.

A steep stairway allowed visitors to climb halfway up the central stupa for a stunning view of Bangkok and the river taxi chaos. These stairs weren't for those with a fear of heights.
The central figure of the center stupa was Buddha riding on an elephant, a magical scene.
After the wat, we traveled to Lumphini park, Bangkok's largest recreation park. The park is well-known for having free aerobics classes every afternoon and they draw quite a crown of participants and on-lookers. Laura and I did some of both!

As night approached, many people were purchasing lotus-shaped flowers made from banana leaf centered by a candle. The flowers were placed into the lakes or rivers in the park. It was quite funny to see the lake fish get annoyed by the floating flowers and attack them mercilessly. As we tried to head back to our guest house for the night, we realized the traffic and number of people had doubled from an average night. Turns out there was a full moon signifying the main night for Bangkok's Loi Krathong festival. It tok forever to return home but we enjoyed participating in a city gone mad!

We traveled to Koh Tao island the following day and night. Koh Tao is well known for its coral reefs and cheap PADI diving certification. We were there to enjoy the beach and snorkel in the coral reefs. Now, keep in mind that neither Laura nor myself are very much beach people. Our sunscreen lathered pale white skin is noticeably out of place. This was perfectly exhibited by myself during our snorkel tour. We joined an entire day snorkel tour that circled the island. At our first stop, Shark bay, a number of small sharks frequent the bay. I watched the first two guys off the boat toss their snorkel mask and fins from the boat, jump in the water to retrieve them, and snap everything on. Overwhelmed by excitement, I tossed my mask, fins and then myself into the water. I struggled to stay afloat as I help my mask and attempted to get the flippers on. Finally, one flipper was on. As I watched on snorkeler after another head to the bay, I continued to struggle with my second flipper. I determined it was my other hand; I needed both hands free to get the flipper on. I released the snorkel and mask expecting them to float and continued struggling with my second flipper. Finally, snap, it was on! Now, where was my mask and snorkel. Turns out, they were already at the bottom of the Bay of Thailand. After a bunch of worthless haggling with the tour operator, they cost me 1,000 baht, a little over 30 dollars. Guess now I can add something new to the "Things I've lost" list.

The highlight of the snorkel trip were the islands just next to Koh Tao. It was really cool walking across a sandbar joining the three islands.

The islands provide some of the best snorkeling on Koh Tao. To all our Montana, Colorado, and Vermont friends, how's the weather?

We are on to Khao Sok National Park in the coming days.


Anonymous said...

Wow, sounds fantastic! Except of course the pork sausage. What beautiful pictures! I believe my favorite so far are the falls.

I just returned from bball practice and it is a chilly 33 degrees which I am sure both of you miss tremendously. They are calling for the first big storm Sunday night. So far the weathermen have been wrong with their predictions. Hopefully with this one too.

Take Care, Laurie

Anonymous said...

Amazing scenery.

That's a hell of a three headed elephant...

Boulder after dark a few days back had the crazies out for the full moon (crazies in boulder are truly %I^&%* NUTS)... :-)p

As I type this, it is -1C and we're expecting our third (small) snowfall of the year.


Anonymous said...

Get the hell out of that shark infested water before you lose something much more personal than a snorkle and air tube!!!another day and nite in the 20's and teens--decorating for xmas this Sunday wish you were here to be up on the ladder in Dick's truck for the large pine tree out front. aet fish in asia not sausage but what would a Catalonian know about Asian cuisin--food chanel junkie or not!!! LOVE DAD

Jeff C. said...

For some reason, every time I look at the "outdoor park aerobics" pic you posted, Iget "YMCA" by the Village People stuck in my head....

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