Oops... we already published Thailand At-A-Glance but we had one more Thailand post in the works!
While in Bangkok we tried some new Thai experiences that were a total blast.
First, we learned how to cook Thai food by taking a cooking class. The teacher was a high-spirited 'gaysian', that met us at the Skytrain and took us to the local market to buy the ingredients. We learned about the different vegetables and spices that are the key ingredients in Thai food.
Next, we prepared our bounty from the market for our feast. Amber got randomly chosen to clean the meat, so I traded duties with her to be a gentleman. Little did I know that I had just signed up to clean the prawns that still had the heads on them. Eeewww. We learned how to make coconut milk, papaya salad, pad thai, spring rolls, fried bananas, and Amber's favorite dish: Panang curry.
The teacher was great, the other students were fun, and the food was amazing. We got a copy of the recipes we made so hopefully we can find the ingredients in the asian markets back home.
Our next local adventure was watching Muay Thai boxing, a brutal contact sport where fighters use fists, elbows, knees, and feet to knockout their opponent. We paid for the cheap seats and still got a great view of the action. But, we were sitting in the betting section and a local Thai showed us a card in English that said we should move to another area. The betting seemed to be based on hand signals and I didn't really see an easy way to participate, so we moved around to a quieter area and got an even better view of the ring. During the match, a live band plays horrible twangy music supposedly in rhythm of the action in the ring. It seemed like the musicians couldn't have cared less.
We saw about 6 fights and three of them ended with knockouts. The action was so fast, if you blinked you would miss what caused the final blow.
From our seats we could order beers and fresh fruit (much healthier than a hot dog, don't you think?) and we tried to pick out who the winner would be based on the traditional dance they would do prior to each match. I was thoroughly impressed, Amber probably not as much.
The last local gem was getting a Thai massage. We were a little skittish on what occurs at some massage spas, but we went to one in the mall near where we were staying and it looked legitimate. Amber and I were shown our room with two beds and we were asked to put on some pajamas.
Before the massage:
The cute pajamas gave no omen to the pain we would soon endure. I nicknamed my masseuse Iron Claw because that is what her hands felt like on my muscles. My muscles seemed to be pulled off the bone followed by my body bent at new angles. The two masseuses spoke little to no English and we spoke no Thai, but through grunts and screams we were able to communicate that they were being a little rough. They didn't care, they laughed at us and we laughed at how ridiculously unrelaxing our massage was. I would look over at Amber and see her face grimace as her masseuse used hammer blows on her back. Then my masseuse seemed to have me in a wrestling hold as my body was lifted off of the bed as she sat on my legs. I couldn't stop laughing. Amid a groan from me, my masseuse asked me if I needed to fart. I said, "What?" She then said, "Ccustomer fart when I do too hard. They go thththtppppthththth! (not sure how to phonetically write the noise of a fart, but she made the sound with her mouth)" All four of us died laughing. And no I didn't fart. Afterward, Amber and I were not sure if we would walk again. As I walked out, I feigned that my back hurt, much to the delight of our masseuses. I think we made their day. After that eye-opening and eye-tearing experience, we decided that we didn't need to try any more Thai massages.
Amber, happy the massage was over:
We learned that the Thais seem to enjoy extremes: their food spicy, their fighting brutal, and their massages PAINFUL.
Well, we stayed 30 days in Thailand, the full extent of our visa. We decided to move on to see more of Southeast Asia. Next up, the temples of Angkor in Cambodia!