toes, geocaching and parks

Posted from Bangkok, Bangkok, Thailand.

I really couldn’t wait to get back to Bangkok. I had been travelling for two months and I was ready to see a familiar face in the hub of SE Asia. I only had one full day in town to visit with my friend Stephanie before her spare room was scheduled for another guest. So after my lengthy train journey from Chiang Mai, in the spirit of familiarity, after a much-needed nap, we went for Mexican food (in Thailand!)

It was way too over-priced. I think we shelled out about $20 each for an alcoholic beverage and some tacos. But the point remains that you still can get anything you want in Bangkok. It is the Vegas of SE Asia. Later we went drinking down the road where all the expats go. There’s actually a sign at this one place that says Thai people are not allowed to drink there unless accompanied by a Farang. Crazy.

The next day the decision was made to visit Suan Luang Rama IX Park. Stef has this thing (which I love about her) for exploring the cities she’s in. She is more knowledgable than most people about Thailand and what it has to offer, let alone Bangkok. You can be walking down the street with her and she’ll tell you some random fact about a building you pass, or the taxis that whiz by or some law the Thais adhere to. She works in the travel industry and has an awesome and fun blog where she posts great photos of things she sees and writes about her experiences living in Bangkok.

After our mojitos and beer-inspired sleep-in we headed to meet her blogger friend Ian and his girlfriend Marie-Ann to head up to the park. It was at this initial meeting that Ian slipped on a banana peel (for reelz) and cracked open his toe. There was lots of blood. We had to make a pit-stop to clean it and bandage it up, and then we had to surmise if Ian was going to make it. The blood was seeping through the gauze and we had planned much walking. But I’ll have to say he was a trooper and made it through the day. His blog is called Where Sidewalks End.

Sidewalk first aid.

Sidewalk first aid.

After the medical emergency, we walked a few more blocks and took a songkhew (for 7 Baht) for about 10 minutes to within 1km from the park. It really is amazing how people get around in Bangkok. While there are the usual subways, buses and taxis, there’s also songkhews which are pick-up trucks with benches in the back. They’re super cheap and lots of people use them – well, those of us without motorbikes. I’m sure Ian was glad to not have to walk for a bit.

We stopped at a nearby shopping centre for lunch (and there was heaps of over-priced Western food there) had some cheap noodle soup and headed on our way. Stef had Burger King.

The beautiful park is enjoyed by many people.

The beautiful park is enjoyed by many people.

The park is gated and costs 10 Baht to enter. This took us a little by surprise. Once inside Stephanie revealed her other plans. She really wanted to go geocaching. Is that why we came all this way? I had heard of it, but didn’t really know what it is. To simplify, it’s hide-and-seek with objects. People leave objects with a tiny logbook (scrap of paper) in well hidden places and then pinpoint them on a map. Using a smartphone or a GPS-device, and a program that shows you where these pinpoints are, one goes looking for them. When you find them you can sign your name and also update on the website that you found it. Some caches have trinket boxes where you take one and/or leave something for someone else. There are big caches and micro caches and trackable caches. Basically you can really hide anything you desire. There’s a huge online community. Who woulda thunk?

Another cache.

Another cache.

There are a few rules to geocaching though, the most important probably being to not let “muggles” see you. One must be discreet when searching for and locating the cache. Which is not as easy as it sounds. Especially since most smartphones aren’t incredibly accurate. And since some geocachers like to put these finds in high-traffic areas. You can spend a lot of time searching for a camouflaged one – and possibly look quite insane to passers-by.

Stephanie filling out the scroll for the one we found in the maze. She found.

Stephanie filling out the scroll for the one we found in the maze. She found.

That day we found three of them, well, Stephanie found three of them, and I have to admit, I was rather intrigued by it. I uploaded an app later that week so I can try it out whilst I’m travelling. Something to do when I’m bored?

The park is huge and sports many ponds, gardens and walkways. There’s a conservatory with succulents from around the world as well as an amphitheatre.  And there’s a large pavilion with memorabilia of the King. The park was built in 1987 to commemorate the king’s 50th birthday. There’s an outdoor gym (exercise area) with machines from the 1950s. Many people come to the park to lounge on the beautifully manicured grass or to run. We saw plenty of people running, something I was convinced Thai people don’t do. There was also some group exercise going on with a lady high on a platform leading everyone in some very easy aerobics. I’d seen this in Vietnam too. There’s swans to ride in the lake too.

Now how do we get there?

Now how do we get there?

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At one point we saw a monitor lizard fall out of a tree. Very un-cat-like.

We left the park near sunset, which, due to the park’s opening hours, 5 a.m. to 7 p.m., was cutting it close. We took a taxi back to the BTS (costing us each about 50 Baht) and parted ways. The next day I was leaving to Hua Hin, a resort town south of Bangkok where I was to learn some kite-boarding. Maybe.

 

 

2 Responses to toes, geocaching and parks

  1. Wooooow! I don’t know how I’ve not seen this post!! I cracked up just looking at the bandaged toe photo…. slipped on a banana peel.. seriously? that stuff only happens to me… you know a few months later I fell down an open sewer grate at a festival in Phuket 😛 hahaha… way too funny! Thanks for the shout out and the great memories! I hope you’re well and enjoying the open road!

    Ian Ord - Where Sidewalks End January 3, 2014 at 7:42 am Reply
    • Dude! hahaha. Thanks. I’m enjoying life in New Zealand right now. I thought I had linked to your website in this post, but for some reason it didn’t show up. So I just fixed that. Be careful where you’re walking. haha.

      Sheri January 3, 2014 at 7:49 am Reply

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