Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Thailand Day 1: Wandering and TUFF Camp

My flight into Bangkok was 30 minutes late which killed my plan of taking the train into downtown.  We got in at 11:20 and by the time I got through passport control and got my luggage it was after midnight when the trains stop running.  I therefore had to take a taxi.  The driver certainly wasted no time, going 140km/hr+ (85-90mph) on the highway.  The ride cost 500 baht with tip+tolls, which is about $17; not bad, but the train would probably have been about a fifth of that.    Got checked into my hotel, showered and went to bed around 2am.

I was planning to get up at 8am, but was wide awake at 6:30.  After having breakfast, the plan was to walk around, explore, and shop.  I wanted to a couple of the Muay Thai gear shops at Lumpini stadium as well as the MBK megamall.  All in all I had about an 8 mile Journey planned out.  Walking around in Bangkok for the first time is definitely an assault on your senses.  There is so much going on audibly, visually, and aromatically; plus you are constantly aware of the heat and humidity. A few things I observed:

-Damn its hot and humid.  It only took about 2 blocks before I was a soaked in sweat.
-Traffic is ridiculous.  You have to be on your A game when you cross any street or intersection; no one seems to give a shit about pedestrians.
-Street food is everywhere!  There is someone selling something on almost every block.
-So many different smells too.  It'll go from street/fried/spicy food, to citrus fruit, to BO, to incense in a matter of feet.  It's pretty amazing.
-There a NO trashcans anywhere along the streets.  I ended up walking about 4 miles with an empty cup and ended up throwing it away at a hotel.  You would think that with all the street vending, there would be trash cans everywhere.  Not So.

When I got to Lumpini stadium, the shops were all closed, so I figured I'd head to the MBK megamall.  It too was closed until 10, so i decided to head to a shop I had read about online called Action Zone that sold Muay Thai gear and was right down the street from MBK. The lady at Action Zone was so incredibly nice! I of course was a sweaty mess from just having walked 4 miles to get there.  The first thing she does is get me a frozen wet wipe and a bottle of water, it was much appreciated.  Then she helped me find some shorts, hand wraps and bag gloves, gave me a discount and threw in a free towel.  So awesome.

After action zone, I stopped into the MBK megamall which is an enormous 5 story mall.  It's the first mall i'd been to where I was afraid of heights.  The escalators between floors go right over the large open courtyard.  It had everything from regular mall stores to street vendor type places selling knock off clothes and electronics. 

So I'm getting behind here, as it's already halfway through Day 2 and I haven't finished Day 1.  From now on I'm going to try to include more pictures and not ramble so much about boring shit.  I actually lost most of my pictures from this day because my memory card crashed.

So Day 1 finished up with me meeting the 3 other guys I'd be training well as the guy (Nopadon) who set this all up and planned everything. They are also a couple of filmers along for the trip as well, so it should be well documented. They are all amazing guys who are all laid back and a lot of fun.  Nopadon knows so much about Muay Thai, it's history, and Thailand history as well, so it's great having him around. It's going to be a fun week and a half.



Arriving at the TUFF camp
From the hotel we headed to the TUFF training camp for a welcome dinner and grill.  The TUFF guys were all super nice and accomodating and we got to meet Orono "Black Superman" who is a Muay Thai legend.  I'll wrap it up with some photos.

Orono and I

4 comments:

  1. What is TUFF, and what's the deal with you training people? Are there people in Thailand who need to learn how to hold up a stopsign during road construction?

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  2. ah just read the next post...I see you are getting trained along with those guys to be more efficient at kicking pat's ass with 1 hand

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  3. FYI, Breeland - I bloodied Doug's nose the only time we sparred during class. The 1-hand melee was total amateur hour.

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