Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Wedding Singer (Musical)

Last night (Wednesday, January 20 2010) my friend Hye-jin invited me to see The Wedding Singer (Musical). It's based on the 1998 film starring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore. I love Korean musicals - so far, I've seen Grease, DreamGirls and Mama Mia. I wish Dirty Dancing can come to Korea.




Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Practical Uses for Travel Brochures


Pic taken from Google Images
Since I arrived in Korea in 2007, I've gathered dozens of travel brochures. Many were given to me by Mr Lee, my Korean "dad" who uses any available time to visit parks, museums or monuments. He always brings back English Language brochures for me. I've also gathered a few during my travels around Asia.

In my spring-cleaning mode the other day, I decided to get rid of all of them. Apart from the books I have, I don't like keeping paper in my apartment. Once you get rid of it, you'd be surprised how much 'lighter' your place will feel.

I recycle paper diligently, but I had an idea about the travel brochures that I'd accumulated over the years. Most of these places have websites - hotels, airports, history of museums and so on. There's no need to keep the printed versions.  Looking through some of them, I realized that they have great vocabulary which can be used when teaching English.

With the hype of H1N1 recently, there were brochures everywhere cautioning people to take care when traveling. The English explanations were concise and had vocab that are used on a daily basis by native English speakers. 

These kind of brochures can be used to teach adults. With Younger Learners, they can be used when teaching Phonics. There are also some wonderful photos like museums and aquariums that can be used in classroom activities.

Another idea I had about these brochures is using the pictures on a Vision Board. Majestic mountains, secluded beaches, theme parks, monuments and other things are usually what people use on their Vision Boards. So instead of tearing and cutting pictures from your favourite magazines, rather use the brochures you have collected!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

My Name is Khan International Trailer

I simply can't wait for this. The combination of Karan Johar, Shahrukh Khan & Kajol....well!



Plot (taken from Wikipedia)

The film begins with the child, Rizwan Khan (Tanay Chheda), a Muslim who has Asperger syndrome, growing up with his mother (Zarina Wahab) in the Borivali section of Mumbai. Later as an adult (Shahrukh Khan), Rizwan moves to San Francisco and lives with his brother and sister-in-law. While there, he falls in love with Mandira (Kajol). They eventually marry and begin a business.

After the events of 9/11, Rizwan and Mandira begin to face a number of difficulties. Following a tragedy, they separate. In order to win her back, Rizwan embarks on a long journey across the United States.

Monday, January 11, 2010

My Avatar Experience

Everyone was raving about the comedy film, The Hangover saying that it was the funniest film of the year (2009). It was on circuit when I was in South Africa over my summer holiday, so my brother and I saw it together.

A few minutes into it, he leaned over and asked me, "Are we in the right movie?"

OK some scenes were funny, but we didn't think it was THAT funny...

So when everyone started raving about Avatar, I knew nothing about it, except that it was a new movie and nothing else. After its release and seeing the movie poster, I knew for sure it wasn't something I was interested in seeing.  Sci-Fi and aliens do not sit well with me at all. No, thank you! I can't even stand seeing E.T. in pictures.

I started feeling like the uncool kid, because everyone I knew saw the movie except me. People were going on about the visual effects, the storyline, seeing it in 3D and so on. It began to sound like it was a movie not to be missed, whether you like Sci-Fi or not.

I asked a few people if they wanted to see it with me. Of course, they'd seen it already. I didn't want to go alone, but if push came to shove that is what I was going to. I tried one more person, and she said yes. So on Friday, January 8 2010 after work I headed off to Siheung CGV to see what the big deal was about.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Korea's heaviest snowfall since 1937!



           I woke up to this on Monday morning           
                


    ...stepped out my apartment to this!

  




 

                                                                           My window         

 
My students made a Snowgirl called SU-JI

 
 Beautiful snowflakes on the window

Last week, Korea experienced the heaviest snowfall since 1937. It was unbelievable. I was amazed that some of my students still made it to school. As the days went on during the week, the snow turned to ice, making it very dangerous to walk on.

Bangkok (30) Adios Bangkok!

Bangkok (1) The idea to go
Bangkok (2) Adios snowy Korea
Bangkok (3) Holiday Travelers
Bangkok (4) The drive to the hotel
Bangkok (5) P2 Boutique Hotel
Bangkok (6) The Family from SA
Bangkok (7) Breakfast on Wed morning
Bangkok (8) Pratunam, Scooters & Tuk-Tuks
Bangkok (9) Central World
Bangkok (10) Sukhumvit Road 
Bangkok (11) Himali Cha Cha
Bangkok (12) Beware of Cheating Drivers
Bangkok (13) Private Tour - for FREE?
Bangkok (14) Chao Phraya River
Bangkok (15) Chao Phraya River Vids
Bangkok (16) Stop at the Temple
Bangkok (17) Chin Jewelry Factory
Bangkok (18) FURIOUS in Bkk
Bangkok (19) Lunch at Swagath
Bangkok (20) My Thai Massage
Bangkok (21) Am I invisible in Bangkok?
Bangkok (22) Put the meter ON!
Bangkok (23) Happy New Year!
Bangkok (25) MBK Center
Bangkok (26) Getting to Siam
Bangkok (27) Siam
Bangkok (28) Silom Road
Bangkok (29) Health Land Spa
Day 4: Friday, January 1 2010


It's 8pm and I'm sitting in the hotel lobby charging my netbook and MP3 player. My flight is only at 01:15, but I leave for the airport at 8:30pm. A young man drives me in a white van, much like the one that drove off with my Singaporean friends yesterday! Another woman who works at the hotel is first going to be dropped off at Baiyoke Sky Hotel. She tells me she's meeting her friends for dinner. She asks me if I'm sure I have my passport and then goes on to tell me about a guest they had at the hotel who was flying back to Singapore, only to realize he had forgotten his passport in the safe in his room! Lucky, I have everything.  I triple checked.



When we arrive at Suvarnabhumi Airport, I'm so early to check in, so I wait around near the check-in desk. I find an empty seat and have to sit next to a couple who's cuddling next to me. Eugh! The man sitting next to me has very dirty jeans and keeps looking at my netbook that I'm typing on. I hate it when people do that. I'm a bit annoyed that I can't access Wi-Fi from the airport's network.

When it's eventually time to check in (around 11pm) I see a sign on the electronic notice board saying to visit the Information Desk to enjoy free Wi-Fi. I make a mental note to do that after I go through Passport Control.  I walk quite a distance to the Information Desk. A woman asks me to write my name and passport number in a book and then gives me a small ticket with a login code.  I proceed to my boarding gate and go online. I send a few messages and plan to chat for a bit, only to be CUT OFF from the network. The login pin for free Wi-Fi is only valid for fifteen minutes!

By now - 00:30, I'm tired and hungry, but I'm not going to walk to find food. A few minutes later, I meet an American man who's also flying back to Seoul. He seems nice and we chat a bit before boarding. At this point, I'm feeling very happy to see Koreans around me and to hear Korean being spoken.

I fall asleep on the flight and wake up to this:



When we land at Incheon Airport, it feels strange to arrive back to icy, snowy weather. For the first time, there are no queues at Passport Control. I'm only traveling with hand luggage, so I make it out quickly. Also, I'm not stopped at Customs like I usually am!



As I walk out the airport and the crisp winter air hits my face, I smile. I know exactly where to go and what to do. I buy a bus ticket and wait for about 10 minutes before my bus arrives. I'm really so happy to be back 'home'. 



It's snowing heavily and doesn't stop all week-end. It takes a long time for the heating in my apartment to start up.  I spend all day on Saturday catching up on sleep. I'm also very grateful that I've made it back safe and sound, unharmed by tuk tuks or scooters! I don't necessarily travel to have a GOOD time. I travel for experience...and that's exactly what I got in Bangkok.

I believe that everyone is entitled to their opinion. I feel a bit sorry that I haven't come back from Thailand excited and sharing the same sentiments of others' that have been there before me. Everyone told me that Bangkok has the BEST shopping. I can understand why they said that. As I've said on my blog before, I'm not a big shopper. Also, I've been living in Korea for the past two and half years. Shopping here is endless. From clothing, shoes, handbags, accessories, electronics. You name it, Korea's got it. I didn't see anything in Bangkok that I've not really seen before. I figured that everyone who raved about Bangkok to me, have nothing else to compare it to. Granted, I've not traveled THAT much, but I've had my fair share of seeing and experiencing new things and places.

Should I ever go back to Thailand, I've decided that I won't go back alone. I am willing to give it another shot, but not in the near future. My next few holidays will be reserved for visiting new countries!

Bangkok (29) Health Land Spa

Bangkok (2) Adios snowy Korea
Bangkok (3) Holiday Travelers
Bangkok (4) The drive to the hotel
Bangkok (5) P2 Boutique Hotel
Bangkok (6) The Family from SA
Bangkok (7) Breakfast on Wed morning
Bangkok (8) Pratunam, Scooters & Tuk-Tuks
Bangkok (9) Central World
Bangkok (10) Sukhumvit Road 
Bangkok (11) Himali Cha Cha
Bangkok (12) Beware of Cheating Drivers
Bangkok (13) Private Tour - for FREE?
Bangkok (14) Chao Phraya River
Bangkok (15) Chao Phraya River Vids
Bangkok (16) Stop at the Temple
Bangkok (17) Chin Jewelry Factory
Bangkok (18) FURIOUS in Bkk
Bangkok (19) Lunch at Swagath
Bangkok (20) My Thai Massage
Bangkok (21) Am I invisible in Bangkok?
Bangkok (22) Put the meter ON!
Bangkok (23) Happy New Year!
Bangkok (25) MBK Center
Bangkok (26) Getting to Siam
Bangkok (27) Siam
Bangkok (28) Silom Road
Day 4: Friday, January 1 2010

The minute I step into Health Land Spa, I know it's an upmarket place. With upmarket prices! Women in black pencil skirts and heels are rushing around speaking to waiting customers. People waiting are flipping through magazines or sipping on ice water. A woman wearing glasses approaches me. I tell her I don't have an appointment, but I'd like a scrub and massage. She tells me I'd have to wait for 30 minutes. I say it's OK and after paying, I wait patiently to be called. The name I gave is Su-ji (my Korean name)

I know, right?! I have split personalities in Bangkok :-)


 

I follow a woman to an area where I have to take off my shoes and wear sandals that are given to me. I get into an elevator and I'm shown into a room that has a bed, shower and sink area. The whole place smells of massage oils. This is definitely not a place for "naughty massages" (relief!)


 

The scrub and massage are heavenly, to say the least!



 

After the treatment, I'm offered tea which is pretty good.




I leave the spa as if I'm floating on a pink cloud.
I feel amazing!


 

I need to take a cab back to the hotel and happen to get into the car of a very friendly and talkative driver. I'm in high spirits. It could be because I just had the most amazing nearly 2-hour treatment or the fact that once I reach the hotel, I'll be heading to the airport to fly back to Korea. I can't wait!

The driver is asking me too many questions about where I'm going tomorrow and how I'm getting there and so on. I tell him I'm flying to Phuket the following morning. Then I give him some snacks I have in my bag, hoping he'd stop with the questions. He says he's happy to meet me. He's sweet, but I'm glad when we reach my hotel. I'm feeling happy!

Bangkok (30) Adios Bangkok!

Bangkok (28) Silom Road

Bangkok (1) The idea to go
Bangkok (2) Adios snowy Korea
Bangkok (3) Holiday Travelers
Bangkok (4) The drive to the hotel
Bangkok (5) P2 Boutique Hotel
Bangkok (6) The Family from SA
Bangkok (7) Breakfast on Wed morning
Bangkok (8) Pratunam, Scooters & Tuk-Tuks
Bangkok (9) Central World
Bangkok (10) Sukhumvit Road 
Bangkok (11) Himali Cha Cha
Bangkok (12) Beware of Cheating Drivers
Bangkok (13) Private Tour - for FREE?
Bangkok (14) Chao Phraya River
Bangkok (15) Chao Phraya River Vids
Bangkok (16) Stop at the Temple
Bangkok (17) Chin Jewelry Factory
Bangkok (18) FURIOUS in Bkk
Bangkok (19) Lunch at Swagath
Bangkok (20) My Thai Massage
Bangkok (21) Am I invisible in Bangkok?
Bangkok (22) Put the meter ON!
Bangkok (25) MBK Center
Bangkok (26) Getting to Siam
Bangkok (27) Siam
Day 4: Friday, January 1 2010

I'm grateful that my cab driver speaks English. He looks like he could play an Indian cab driver in a Bollywood film. He asks where I'm from and if I'm in Bangkok alone. I tell him I'm from America and that I'm on holiday with my boyfriend (Ha!) He asks where exactly I want to go on Silom Road. I tell him I'm looking for a spa, and he suggests I go to Health Land Spa which is around the corner from Silom Road. I make a mental note of the name in case I don't find anything satisfactory on Silom Road.



I walk into a shopping mall that's not very exciting. I walk down the street and notice more "Thai Massage" parlors. I think these are where the "massages with happy endings" take place. There are a few young men sitting outside a massage parlor and I can only imagine it's a parlor for men - very popular in Bangkok.





I begin to feel a bit creepy there and I take it as a sign to get out of there and maybe try out "Health Land Spa". Luckily, my new driver understands me and within minutes he pulls into the car park of the spa.

Bangkok (29) Health Land Spa 

Bangkok (27) Siam

Bangkok (1) The idea to go
Bangkok (2) Adios snowy Korea
Bangkok (3) Holiday Travelers
Bangkok (4) The drive to the hotel
Bangkok (5) P2 Boutique Hotel
Bangkok (6) The Family from SA
Bangkok (7) Breakfast on Wed morning
Bangkok (8) Pratunam, Scooters & Tuk-Tuks
Bangkok (9) Central World
Bangkok (10) Sukhumvit Road 
Bangkok (11) Himali Cha Cha
Bangkok (12) Beware of Cheating Drivers
Bangkok (13) Private Tour - for FREE?
Bangkok (14) Chao Phraya River
Bangkok (15) Chao Phraya River Vids
Bangkok (16) Stop at the Temple
Bangkok (17) Chin Jewelry Factory
Bangkok (18) FURIOUS in Bkk
Bangkok (19) Lunch at Swagath
Bangkok (20) My Thai Massage
Bangkok (21) Am I invisible in Bangkok?
Bangkok (22) Put the meter ON!
Bangkok (25) MBK Center
Bangkok (26) Getting to Siam
Day 4: Friday, January 1 2010

 Shopping in Siam is endless. There are stores selling designer labels EVERYWHERE! I'm fascinated by the design and decor of the mall, rather than actual shopping. I'm a bit tired and want to rest somewhere. After walking for what seems like forever, I find a small place have a mini pizza and ice cold Fanta.



 

 

I'm excited to see the 2010 FIFA World Cup Ball (above). It's always a thrill to see anything South African when abroad! I decide it's time to wrap it up at Siam. It's still mid afternoon, and I figure I'd head over to Silom Road, where I hope to find a good (and clean) spa.  

Bangkok (26) Getting to Siam

Bangkok (1) The idea to go
Bangkok (2) Adios snowy Korea
Bangkok (3) Holiday Travelers
Bangkok (4) The drive to the hotel
Bangkok (5) P2 Boutique Hotel
Bangkok (6) The Family from SA
Bangkok (7) Breakfast on Wed morning
Bangkok (8) Pratunam, Scooters & Tuk-Tuks
Bangkok (9) Central World
Bangkok (10) Sukhumvit Road 
Bangkok (11) Himali Cha Cha
Bangkok (12) Beware of Cheating Drivers
Bangkok (13) Private Tour - for FREE?
Bangkok (14) Chao Phraya River
Bangkok (15) Chao Phraya River Vids
Bangkok (16) Stop at the Temple
Bangkok (17) Chin Jewelry Factory
Bangkok (18) FURIOUS in Bkk
Bangkok (19) Lunch at Swagath
Bangkok (20) My Thai Massage
Bangkok (21) Am I invisible in Bangkok?
Bangkok (22) Put the meter ON!
Day 4: Friday, January 1 2010

I walk out of MBK Center not knowing which direction Siam Square is. I know it's far too close to take a cab. I notice a young man sitting on the curb. He looks like a university student. I ask him if he speaks English and am so relieved that he does. He points across the road to where Siam Square is. I have to go over a bridge to get to the other side. I thank him for his help and realize he's probably one of the only people I've met so far who has been kind to me.



I reach the other side and walk towards a big building the guy told where Siam is located. I need to cross the street. ...and then, my eye catches something. Something I fear and have a phobia of. Across the street in a gutter, I see ... a big r-a-t.  Yes, I KNOW they are everywhere, but I don't want to SEE them and I like to imagine that they have their own little world underground somewhere or hide in holes where I can't see them. I freak out a little bit and decide NOT to cross that street. (Ohhh - I'm getting goosebumps even writing about it!) I take a longer route to get to the other side. Don't judge me... it's just me!

Bangkok (27) Siam

Bangkok (25) MBK Center

Bangkok (1) The idea to go
Bangkok (2) Adios snowy Korea
Bangkok (3) Holiday Travelers
Bangkok (4) The drive to the hotel
Bangkok (5) P2 Boutique Hotel
Bangkok (6) The Family from SA
Bangkok (7) Breakfast on Wed morning
Bangkok (8) Pratunam, Scooters & Tuk-Tuks
Bangkok (9) Central World
Bangkok (10) Sukhumvit Road 
Bangkok (11) Himali Cha Cha
Bangkok (12) Beware of Cheating Drivers
Bangkok (13) Private Tour - for FREE?
Bangkok (14) Chao Phraya River
Bangkok (15) Chao Phraya River Vids
Bangkok (16) Stop at the Temple
Bangkok (17) Chin Jewelry Factory
Bangkok (18) FURIOUS in Bkk
Bangkok (19) Lunch at Swagath
Bangkok (20) My Thai Massage
Bangkok (21) Am I invisible in Bangkok?
Bangkok (22) Put the meter ON!
Day 4: Friday, January 1 2010



Everyone's told me to go to MBK Center and to visit their Food Court. The place is HUGE! I walk around aimlessly. I go into a few stores, but nothing appeals to me. I'm experiencing the same thing as yesterday. No one acknowledges me or wants to assist when I walk into a store. I pass a bag shop and something very shiny catches my eye. I like it so decide to buy it. When I go to pay for it, the woman doesn't greet me. After paying for it, she stuffs it into a plastic bag and gives it to me. I can't take the attitude of the people here!




I go upstairs to the Food Court. I'm given a card and told that I can use it at any food stall and I'd have to pay the total when I exit.  There are a number of different foods to choose from - Italian, Indian, Japanese...I can't decide what I want to have. Also, I am not keen on ordering something very big. I know I wouldn't finish it on my own.  I walk around taking some photos and looking at the food displays. I also notice that many of the chefs are men. I decide to find a pizza joint somewhere else.

As I exit and give the card to the woman behind the counter, I tell her, "I didn't use it." She just takes it from me without saying anything. "Okay?" I ask her to make sure she heard me. "OKAY!" she says as if she's shouting at me! What. The. Hell?




I can't believe everyone raves about Bangkok. Why am I having such a bad experience with people here? I think it's time to leave MBK Center and head over to Siam Square. I'm really not that much of a shopper anyway. I pass an area that sells every item of clothing - swimwear, jeans, t-shirts... I walk through it just browsing and to kill more time. Again, bad service. I head downstairs.




I pass a Mister Donut and decide to go in for a Cafe Mocha and to take a quick breather. I sit down at a table facing a man rolling dough. I ask him if I can take a photograph. I show him my camera and make an action to take a photo. I tell him I don't want HIS photo, but just a photo of him rolling the dough. He doesn't understand and asks a girl standing nearby. I ask her and she says rudely, "No, no picture!" I'm so over this place now. I finish my Mocha and leave the center.

Good Bye MBK!

Bangkok (26) Getting to Siam

Bangkok (24) Check Out!

Bangkok (1) The idea to go
Bangkok (2) Adios snowy Korea
Bangkok (3) Holiday Travelers
Bangkok (4) The drive to the hotel
Bangkok (5) P2 Boutique Hotel
Bangkok (6) The Family from SA
Bangkok (7) Breakfast on Wed morning
Bangkok (8) Pratunam, Scooters & Tuk-Tuks
Bangkok (9) Central World
Bangkok (10) Sukhumvit Road 
Bangkok (11) Himali Cha Cha
Bangkok (12) Beware of Cheating Drivers
Bangkok (13) Private Tour - for FREE?
Bangkok (14) Chao Phraya River
Bangkok (15) Chao Phraya River Vids
Bangkok (16) Stop at the Temple
Bangkok (17) Chin Jewelry Factory
Bangkok (18) FURIOUS in Bkk
Bangkok (19) Lunch at Swagath
Bangkok (20) My Thai Massage
Bangkok (21) Am I invisible in Bangkok?
Bangkok (22) Put the meter ON!

Day 4: Friday, January 1 2010

I wake up on the first morning of 2010 happy that I'm leaving Bangkok. Although, I still have the whole of Friday. My flight is only at 01:15 Saturday morning, so I only have to be at the airport very late that night.

I plan on spending time at MBK Center and Siam Square. I also want to visit a spa for a scrub and massage. I have ample time and don't need to rush. I pack my luggage and head downstairs to check out at reception.

A kind man helps me. I ask him if someone could help me get a cab later that night to get to the airport. He tells me that the hotel provides a hotel shuttle and I that I qualify for that service. He asks what time I need to be at the hotel and wants to see my ticket. At the same time, someone else is writing out a ticket for my luggage to be in storage for the day. I ask them if they can suggest any good spas in the area. They tell me the one on the corner is dirty and that I shouldn't go there. Luckily I didn't the previous day.

We chat briefly and I tell them about the rude cab driver's. They apologize and one man offers to get a cab for me to take me to MBK Center. I'm grateful for this. I feel very relaxed and look forward to walking around in shopping malls that everyone has raved about to me.



About five minutes later, we reach MBK and as I pay the driver, I look into my bag for my e-ticket. It's not there! I remembered the man at reception wanted to see my flight time and he didn't give the ticket back to me.  I ask the cab driver if he has a cellphone I could use. He gets annoyed with me because he can't understand me.

I enter MBK at what seems like the back entrance. After security checks my bag, I ask him where I can find a public phone. He tells me "4 floor". He thinks I want to buy a phone. I just need to call the hotel to ask them to keep my ticket for me.  I spot a Customer Service desk and ask the lady if I can please use her phone to call my hotel as it is an emergency. She shakes her head and points somewhere. "Information Desk," she says. She's so rude and barely looks at me when she speaks. I can't believe this. I KNOW I'm not rude to people, so why is everyone in Bangkok being like this?

I can't find the Information Desk anywhere and decide to just go BACK to the hotel.  My new driver is an old man with a thick white strand of hair growing out of the left side of his chin. He drives as if he's driving on eggshells. He stops to show someone a map of the hotel I give him. It takes double the time and double the cab fare to get from MBK to my hotel than it did from my hotel to MBK just a few minutes ago.

I rush into the hotel and they people at reception are surprised to see me so soon. Relieved that my ticket is still there, I ask the man to please get me another cab to head back to MBK Center. Can anything else go wrong so early on my last day in Bangkok?

Bangkok (25) MBK Center

Bangkok (23) Happy New Year

Bangkok (1) The idea to go
Bangkok (2) Adios snowy Korea
Bangkok (3) Holiday Travelers
Bangkok (4) The drive to the hotel
Bangkok (5) P2 Boutique Hotel
Bangkok (6) The Family from SA
Bangkok (7) Breakfast on Wed morning
Bangkok (8) Pratunam, Scooters & Tuk-Tuks
Bangkok (9) Central World
Bangkok (10) Sukhumvit Road 
Bangkok (11) Himali Cha Cha
Bangkok (12) Beware of Cheating Drivers
Bangkok (13) Private Tour - for FREE?
Bangkok (14) Chao Phraya River
Bangkok (15) Chao Phraya River Vids
Bangkok (16) Stop at the Temple
Bangkok (17) Chin Jewelry Factory
Bangkok (18) FURIOUS in Bkk
Bangkok (19) Lunch at Swagath
Bangkok (20) My Thai Massage
Bangkok (21) Am I invisible in Bangkok?
Bangkok (22) Put the meter ON!
Day 3: Thursday, December 31 2009



When it starts to get dark outside, I figure I'm not going out and plan on staying in for the night. I'm not lonely because so many of my friend are online. Am I pathetic? Well, I have two options. 1) Go out and risk being run over by a scooter or being lost in a crowd in an area I'm not familiar with and no one else I know has any idea where I am ... or 2) Stay in my hotel room channel flipping and being kept entertained online.

This time I decide to play it safe, so I stay in.  There's nothing good on TV except for some Christmas cartoon and Grey's Anatomy.

I get an e-mail from my friend, Hye-jin who apologizes for not answering two of my calls before leaving Korea. She says she had a big fight with her husband and she's missing me. I wonder what could be wrong. I spent Christmas eve with them both the previous week and things seemed to be OK. I'll have to wait till I'm back 'home' to see what's going on.

I think I'll celebrate New Years in three different timezones : South Korea, Thailand and South Africa. Korea is two hours ahead of Thailand. So at 10pm, I wish all my Korean friends. Two hours pass, and I hear some fireworks going off outside. I fall asleep around 2am and wake up 5 hours later - in time to wish my South African friends Happy New Year.

This is the first New Years I've spent alone - with no family or friends. I never thought I'd see in 2010 alone, but such things happen and at least I can say I've had the experience of being alone on New Years Eve.

On the up side, my time in Bangkok is nearly over and I am almost headed back to Korea. I can't wait!

Bangkok (24) Check Out! 

Bangkok (22) Put the meter ON!

Bangkok (1) The idea to go
Bangkok (2) Adios snowy Korea
Bangkok (3) Holiday Travelers
Bangkok (4) The drive to the hotel
Bangkok (5) P2 Boutique Hotel
Bangkok (6) The Family from SA
Bangkok (7) Breakfast on Wed morning
Bangkok (8) Pratunam, Scooters & Tuk-Tuks
Bangkok (9) Central World
Bangkok (10) Sukhumvit Road 
Bangkok (11) Himali Cha Cha
Bangkok (12) Beware of Cheating Drivers
Bangkok (13) Private Tour - for FREE?
Bangkok (14) Chao Phraya River
Bangkok (15) Chao Phraya River Vids
Bangkok (16) Stop at the Temple
Bangkok (17) Chin Jewelry Factory
Bangkok (18) FURIOUS in Bkk
Bangkok (19) Lunch at Swagath
Bangkok (20) My Thai Massage
Bangkok (21) Am I invisible in Bangkok?
Day 3: Thursday, December 31 2009




I'm not feeling good. This is the first time I'm experiencing something like this while on holiday alone. Was I giving Singapore too much credit? Why did everyone tell me I'm going to absolutely LOVE Bangkok? I'm not loving it. I miss Korea. I miss saying "Ahn-yong-ha-say-yoh". I miss kimchi!



I walk out the arcade with my earphones in my ear and iced Cafe Mocha in my hand. A foreign man is standing outside. I notice him because he's standing alone. I pass him and I hear him say "Hello lady, how are you?" I pretend not to hear him. I continue walking, but I hear him say again, "Hello lady"

When I was in Malaysia last year, I was approached by a man in a mall who said he was Nigerian, but living and working in Paris. When he asked if I had a boyfriend, I lied and said that I had one back in Korea. I don't want a repeat of that.

I take the corner and look for a cab to get back to my hotel. There are people everywhere, and tuk tuk drivers are trying to get my attention. I approach a pink cab, who rolls down his window. I give him the map of the hotel. He tells me he will give me a set price.

"Why can't you use the meter?" I ask.
He doesn't want to so I take the paper back from him and try another cab.


The next driver tells me, "55 Baht"
"Put the meter on please," I say sternly.
He doesn't want to.
I open the door as if to get out and ask him one more time to put the meter on.
He chuckles and puts it on. It starts at around 30 Baht. I have my fierce-i-ain't-takin'-sh!t-from-anyone-face on.



I feel like I want to cry. Why is everyone is taking advantage of me here? About two minutes later, I see buildings that look familiar. My hotel is near. SO near, that I pay only 32 Baht.

After I pay and get out the cab, I say to the driver, "...and you wanted to charge me FIFTY?"
He chuckles again. I can't wait to get to my hotel room.

When I reach the hotel, I speak to someone behind the reception desk asking about my check-out the following day and other minor details. After a full, tiring and stressful day, I head upstairs to my room and connect with my friends online.

Bangkok (23) Happy New Year!

Bangkok (21) Am I invisible in Bangkok?

Bangkok (1) The idea to go
Bangkok (2) Adios snowy Korea
Bangkok (4) The drive to the hotel
Bangkok (5) P2 Boutique Hotel
Bangkok (6) The Family from SA
Bangkok (7) Breakfast on Wed morning
Bangkok (8) Pratunam, Scooters & Tuk-Tuks
Bangkok (9) Central World
Bangkok (10) Sukhumvit Road 
Bangkok (11) Himali Cha Cha
Bangkok (12) Beware of Cheating Drivers
Bangkok (13) Private Tour - for FREE?
Bangkok (14) Chao Phraya River
Bangkok (15) Chao Phraya River Vids
Bangkok (16) Stop at the Temple
Bangkok (17) Chin Jewelry Factory
Bangkok (18) FURIOUS in Bkk
Bangkok (19) Lunch at Swagath
Bangkok (20) My Thai Massage
Day 3: Thursday, December 31 2009

As I walk into the arcade, there's a stall selling Thai souvenirs. I ask the price for a few items. The woman is not very helpful. I move on and find a store that has my name written all over it. I am mesmerized by the bling hanging everywhere! Up to now, I've not bought anything for myself. I have to buy something here.  I look at the chunky rings. They're so shiny! I have to have one. The price tag has two prices. I don't understand so I ask the lady for help. She whips out a calculator and says something about choosing two more items. I can't understand her. I don't want three things. I want just ONE item.


 
 
 

I ask her the price of something else and she rudely tells me, "Madam, look here." I know she's irritated with me. That makes ME irritated. I find a couple of more things I want and want to get her attention. I stand next to her to ask a question, but she blatantly ignores me. By now, the little store is filling up with people and there's an annoying toddler in a pram trying to get his mothers attention. He tries pulling some of the jewelry off the rack, but his mother doesn't seem to bothered by her brat's behaviour. There are two men standing outside the store waiting for (I presume) their wives or girlfriends. They look bored and I pity them!

There are so many things I want to buy, but the woman is very rude. I buy only two things (not knowing if I'd get it at another place).  I'm very annoyed with the bad service. I can't help but wonder what my mother would have done in this situation. She doesn't take bad service for ANYTHING!

I move to a few more stores. I can't believe the poor service there as well. Either shopkeepers don't acknowledge the customer, or they're rude and abrupt when being asked for help. After browsing around, I think it's time to make a move, but I want to buy coffee first. I stand at the counter waiting to be served. There are NO other customers. There are two workers behind the counter. No one acknowledges me. Am I like, invisible in this city? After I get my order, I hurry outside and head for my hotel.




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