Wednesday, April 7, 2010

More Bangkok

We started the morning with a nice long talk with our host, Peak, who we had not met the night before. She just moved back to Thailand from the States about four months ago. She is here on a mission that is pretty novel and noble. It was fun to talk to someone with such grandiose plans (which she acknowledges are grandiose) and who manages to be so pragmatic and optimistic at the same time.

Once we finally sorted ourselves out in the morning and decided to have a day, we made the 45 minute walk to the Hospital of Tropical Diseases to go to the Travelers' Clinic and get japanese encephalitis vaccines. We looked into getting vaccinated in the States before we left, but the cost was too outrageous. The JE vaccination was either a three-shot or two-shot regimine (depending on who you asked) that cost about $270 USD per shot in the States. It would have cost Cale and I over $1000 USD to get vaccinated. However, in Bangkok our total bills were just over $600 baht. This included a $100 baht doctor's fee. To put that into perspective, a bottle of water costs $10THB on the street. So seeing the doctor is the equivalent of 10 bottles of water.

I was sort of anticipating that we would get to this clinic and make an appointment, maybe coming back the next day. Instead, they assisted us immediately. During most of the process they assigned the only person around with even a small amount of English to sort of guide us through. Having done it once now, it makes total sense. However, at the time it was confusing.

Anyway, we got our shots. It took like an hour (and 30 minutes was observation for allergic reactions) and it cost us $20USD each. Take that American health care system.

Instead of walking home we took the skytrain, which was just like riding the trains in Chicago. Cale sorted out the ticket buying all by himself. I think it helped that the computer had a button for English.

He also managed to conduct an entire water purchasing transaction in Thai with a street vendor. So his language lessons before we left are paying off. I have asked and he claims he can not only ask for bottle water, but also for rice and beer. So I think we are basically set on the language front.

We were pretty hot and stinky when we returned from our adventure, so we jumped in the shower. It was quite an ironic moment for me. For the first time (I think in my life) I wanted to take a cold shower and only hot water was available. In Samoa, the first little bit of water could be sun-warmed from exposed pipe, but after that it was painfully cold. Here, the water tank is on the roof and oh boy is it sun-warmed. It is possible that a water heater isnt a luxury. Instead a water cooler might be.

After that we went to a nearby Wal-Mart like store where Cale got some shorts and we got some bread. We ate at a food court restaurant of safety, but plan on adventuring into street food today.

At around 5pm, I couldn't stand it anymore and fell asleep. I was hoping for a short nap, but ended up asleep until 9 pm. Wanting to sleep through the night and into the morning, we decided to get up for a while and hung out in the main room with some other couchsurfers. One form the UK has been in SE Asia for two months and has a 6-week volunteer teaching gig coming up. The other girl from Canada has been here for four months and goes home soon. The Italian guy has been here for an indeterminately long time (maybe 5 or 6 months?) and will go home in the next couple of weeks. We finally went to sleep after 1am. I slept in until 6 this morning, but it appears Cale had already been up for a while at that point. Our goal is to stay awake until 10 pm tonight and sleep in until at least 7 tomorrow morning.

We hope to see some sort of sights in Bangkok today. So I will report back when that happens.

— Sara

PS I havent taken any pictures yet, but I will.


Barb Carusillo said...

Definitely, pictures would be good.

Anonymous said...

Cale and Sara - manuia lou taa! Looking forward to seeing the pics of your travels. Be safe and enjoy!

Teresa said...

So how many couches does this Host person have!? Sounds more like a hostel!