Thursday, May 26, 2011

Thailand Day 7: Chinatown and TUFF

Day 7 was our final day of training, and my last full day in Thailand.  We had an afternoon training session and the morning free.  I got up fairly early at about 7 because I had some banking issues to take care of.  The day before I had tried to get money from the ATM, but my card was declined.  Upon checking my account online, I noticed that there was over $700 worth of dry cleaning charges in London and my account had been put on hold.  It actually happened two days before I left, so I don't think it had anything to do with my trip, just bad timing.  Luckily I had some American dollars that I was able to exchange for Baht so I could have money for the last couple days.

At 10, I met up with some of the guys and we headed into Chinatown to do some shopping.  We went to what I will refer to as the Chinatown Underground.  We were the only foreigners in there, and its the kind of place you won't find unless you know its there; for good reason.  Anyway, I did end up scoring the entire Planet Earth series DVDs for less than $7.

Our afternoon training session was back at the TUFF camp to be followed by another BBQ.  Sticky rice may have met its match in the exploding fish balls that they cooked for us.  They were small pieces of fish that were fried, but chewy and not crispy.  Dipped in Thai sweet and sour sauce they were delicious! After dinner, our filmers Will and Mark jumped on the bags and pads to get a little Muay Thai experiance.

Mark Working the Bag

Will on the Bag

Will hitting the pads

The next picture is of me with the driver of our van, Khun Plug.  The man was incredible at navigating around Bangkok and knew every side street to take to avoid traffic.  I also don't think he got lost once unlike the other driver we had for 2 days who got lost every time we went somewhere.  He would even suggest places for us to eat which would always be fantastic.  We ended up nicknaming him Mr. Bangkok.

 After the bbq at TUFF, we headed back to the hotel for some farewell drinks as we'd all be heading our separate ways.  It was sad that our trip was over, and it definitely went by too quickly.  I couldn't have asked for a better group of 6 guys to travel and train with in Thailand.  I already can't wait to get back to Thailand, and hope to someday spend a longer time training there.  Having experienced training Muay Thai in Thailand is going to make it hard to go back to a gym in Raleigh.  A little after midnight I said my farewell to the guys, Mai, Adrian, Mike, Jack, Will and Mark and headed to bed.  I had to be up at 4:30 to make my 8am flight.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Thailand Day 6: Kiatphontip and Chatuchak Market

Finally got diarrhea!  It wasn't that bad actually.  I woke up felling fine, but started to feel a little queasy during the van ride to Kiatphontip gym.  As soon as we got to the gym, I had to go to the bathroom and knew right away it was going to be bad.  I wanted to get some training in, so i skipped rope, shadowboxed, drilled some technique with the trainer, did a round of padwork and then a round of bagwork.  At that point I started to cramp real bad and get a headache; I decided to take it easy then.  Fortunately one of the foreign fighters at the camp had some A/D and charcoal tablets.  That seemed to settle my stomach and I was able to get in a couple more rounds on the bag.

This is generally what happens when gringos clinch with Thais.

Rambutan fruit was our workout snack.

After the morning training we headed over the Chatuchak market which is the largest market in Thailand.  It was overwhelming.  Not only was it enormous, but the walkways between all the stalls were very narrow.  You could easily get lost in the place.  We started out in the live animal section, which was a little depressing.  There was everything from stingrays to owls (alive and dead) to cockfights, and cockroaches everywhere.  On the flip side, there were sections of the market that were basically high end boutique stores.  Its a crazy place. 


One of the more open areas of the market.

Coconut ice cream served in a coconut.

This dog was ridiculous.  Shoes and jeans, really?
After spending a few hours at Chatuchak, some of the guys went for another Thai massage.  I opted out for a walk and nap instead.  The rest of the evening was pretty low key; we just ate dinner at a restaurant across the street from our hotel.  We get to sleep in in the morning so hopefully I can get some rest and have a good training session tomorrow.

Thailand Day 5: Kaewsamrit and Ghost Door

Our morning training session was at Kaewsamrit and it felt like the toughest session yet.  It was probably a combination of fatigue from the 3 previous days as well as their regimented style of training with conditioning drills built in.  I liked it though.  We got to work on a lot of flashy techniques like reverse and flying elbows.  After the training session, an old lady rolled up with her fruit cart which was a perfect post-workout snack.  For 10 Baht or 33 cents you could get about half a pineapple.  Lunch was nothing special as we ate at more of a restaurant type place, but we wanted to be inside in the A/C.

Mike, Adrian and I decided to walk up to the gear shops at Lumpini stadium after lunch.  Muay Thai gear here in Thailand costs about half what it does in the States.  While walking along Lumpini Park I happened to glance through the fence.  On the other side was about a half dozen or so 5-6' or longer water monitors.

Lumpini Park.  The monitor lizard infested canal is just on the other side of the fence.

After gear shopping we decided to relax at the rooftop pool before heading out to dinner.  For dinner we headed to Thip Samai, or Ghost Door Pad Thai.  It is known as being one of the best pad thai places in Bangkok.  It was amazing.  While eating we asked if they sold shirts.  We got some confused looks from the employees, but after checking with the boss lady, she agreed to sell us some that they probably had on hand for employees.  She quoted us 200 baht a shirt (less than $7) thinking it was too much and that we'd change our mind.  We said hell yeah, and when they brought the shirts out, I guess she felt bad and lowered the price to 600 Baht for all 5. We proceded to get even more confused looks, and I guess they couldn't understand why we wanted to buy their work uniforms.  In the end, we got some sweet shirts for about $4.

Panorama from the rooftop pool

Coming up on Day 6, Diarrhea!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Thailand Day 4: Sitmonchai, Ayutthaya, and Lumpini Stadium

Day 3 was our busiest yet as the camp we'd be training at, Sitmonchai, was about 1.5-2 hours outside of Bangkok.  Sitmonchai is a family run camp.  The camp owner's mom cooks all the meals for the fighters and the food is amazing.  Her pad thai was the best I've had in Thailand yet.  This is probably my favorite camp that we've trained at so far.  I really enjoyed their aggressive style centered on leg kicks as well as the one big family atmosphere. 
Arriving at Sitmonchai
My sparring partner.
The best pad thai i'd had in Thailand so far.
The camps owner and mother.

Panorama of the gym.

Trophies in the trash. Who needs em...
From Sitmonchai we headed to the ruins at the ancient capital of Siam in the city of Ayutthaya.  The Burmese destroyed it in 1767.  From Ayutthaya, we made the drive back to Bangkok for dinner at a food stall and then watch the fights at Lumpini stadium.

Big creepy crawlies in Bangkok

Vender selling sugar string that you eat inside a roti.  Soooo good.

Statue of Nai Khanom Tom, the godfather of Muay Thai.

When In Thailand, eat the devil fish.

This Spread of two tables of more food than 8 people can eat cost us about $40.
Lumpini Stadium

Friday, May 20, 2011

Thailand Day 3: Wat Pho and Sitsongpeenong

This is probably going to become more of a picture blog seeing as we're so busy and sleep is becoming more important as training goes on.  But I'll get in as much as I can.  Pics from Wat Pho, also known as Temple of the reclining Buddha.

They were in the process of retiling the roof, and for a donation you could write the name of someone on the tile to earn them merit.

Temple Cat

If I were Buddhist, this would be my back tat.

Crossing the river to get to Temple of the Dawn

Tempe of the Dawn

Super steep stairs that were a little scary
  Video of the coconut water vender.  It was delicious.

First Tuk-Tuk ride with Jack

Sitsongpeenong is very new and very nice.  The gym is actually on the second floor at the back of the building.

The group with head trainer Monlit and champion Kem.

Giant Food court for Dinner

First Tofu dish.