Saturday, December 21, 2013

Beach Bunny

Not too long ago, Pae and I decided that we wanted to get out of the city for a weekend. It's been hard to do that because of scheduling and because of BunBun. I don't like leaving alone at home for long because of water, food, and who wants to be locked up in a cage for 48 hours?  So I just stay close to home usually.
We decided to go to Jomtien Beach a couple hours south of Bangkok. I was looking online at hotels and found one named Rabbit Resort, the owners names Mr. and Mrs. Rabbit ;)
Of course I had to call them, and they allowed small pets in the rooms for a 500 baht fee (about $15) per night. We loaded BunBun up in the car, in his cage, and headed south.
Jomtien Beach is part of Pattaya, a place I'd been to once with Pae when I was just a tourist here. I avoid Pattaya because of its reputation as well as the fact that I prefer the water and beaches on the western coast of the Gulf of Thailand rather than the eastern side (Hua Hin, Cha-am, etc.).
We made the three(ish) hour drive to Pattaya, Me driving and Pae navigating. Bun was strapped in his cage into the back seat, haha. He had a little trouble with all of the motion, things passing, car stopping and going, so we put a blanket over his cage and he seemed less panicked or scared.
We got to the area where our hotel was and it gave me flashbacks of the painful part of the Pattaya Marathon in 2012. Jomtien Beach is the stretch of the run that was on the beach road, with the sea breeze blowing hard and where both of my hamstrings went "pop" with about ten kilometers left to run! Haha! So, seeing the road again and the beach brought back some memories.
But this trip was about making new memories, and that we did! We had wondered how we would bring Bun out to the beach, because we were afraid that he would run away, run into a pack of dogs, get scooped up by a giant, hungry seabird, or just basically panic with the new surroundings and spaz out and run off.
We stopped at a pet store as we were driving around and we bought a small dog leash and harness for him. It wasn't too difficult to get it around his chubby little body, but it was a challenge, at first, to get him not to try to sprint off while I was holding the leash.
Now, I have laughed at dudes in Central Park in New York for walking their cats on leashes, so I was eating some humble pie at this point. Me, Pae...on the beach...with our rabbit...on a leash, hahaha!! Bun was cute though. At first, he didn't like it at all, being on the beach, until I dug a little pit into the sand and he was able to feel more hidden and more secure.
So instead of building a sand castle on the beach, I spend a lot of time building a network of connecting "moats" minus the castles. Bun felt very comfortable and even had a little friend, naked friend, come visit him, pull his ears, pull his tail and pull his fur for about twenty minutes. If I did that to Bun, he would run away and hide. This kid was just whacking away and Bun just chilled there and took it like a good babysitter! Cute.
The Rabbit Resort was very nice too. Our room was on top floor of a two story set of rooms. The room was big and had a big day bed that Bun spent time on, as well as under the bed. The pool was very nice, mainly because there were two pools at the resort; one for kids and one for adults ;)
We enjoyed our little day away at the beach with BunBun :) We hope to do it again in January of 2014 when we go down for a 25km trail race just outside of Pattaya. I'm sure Bun will enjoy a Saturday at the beach ;)

Day trip to Ayutthaya

A week before the Ayutthaya Marathon, Pae was home and we decided to drive up and make sure that I knew the lay of the land and get a visual of the place I would be running.
It also served as a chance for us to get out of the house and travel a little bit here at home, in Thailand. I've been here seven years and this would be the first time in Ayutthaya even though the city is so close to Bangkok and pretty much part of any tourist's sightseeing itinerary.
Pretty amazing that I've been an hour away from it and this was my first time.
Ayutthaya is the ancient capital of Thailand and is now full of ruins. The ruins are temples, palaces, walls and pretty much everything you would imagine. As it turns out, historically, the city was destroyed by the Burmese in raids and wars back some 400-500 years ago.
Temples and palaces were sacked and burned. One thing that stuck out to me was that most of the Buddha statues were headless. Pae explained to me that back then, gold was held in the heads of the statues as the head is seen as the highest part of the body and most sacred. That's why it's very rude to touch anyone's head here in Thailand. So, as the Burmese sacked the ancient city of Ayutthaya, they ripped the heads off of all of the statues of Buddha.
I'm sure as the city was being sacked, some of the residents also made off with some of the city's gold or their personal gold hidden in the Buddha heads
There are literally hundreds of temples and ruins in the old city area of Ayutthaya. We passed an apartment complex and a small strip mall. Between them was an old dilapidated brick structure. Just right between the two modern structures...
The famous Buddha head in a fig tree at Wat Mahathat
It was quite a change from Bangkok. The life there seemed more laid back, even with tourist flocking there in their hundreds per day. We actually found parking at two of the temples we went to and nobody came to us asking for a parking fee. This is unheard of in Bangkok. Heck, you have to pay to use a public toilet here!
Scaffolding just to hold this spire up. Perhaps they will fix it up a bit.
Another cool and sobering thing that we saw was waterlines from the flood that struck two years ago. Our neighborhood was under a good foot and a half of water for over a month back then.
Flood line in Ayutthaya. Also notice the cost of 5 baht to use the "TOILEL" (Toilet)
What we saw in Ayutthaya was just ridiculous. I swear the waterlines must have been nearly two meters high in places.
We love to eat. Tried the river prawns at a restaurant in Bang Pa-In.
We even ate at a restaurant on the river in Bang Pa-in, near Ayutthaya. The river was about four to five meters below the restaurant...yet there was a waterline in the restaurant that was still over my head! Meaning that the water was over 6-7 meters higher in 2011 than on the day we went!
We didn't stick around too long. We visited the two temples/palace and decided to head back to Bangkok. We said that we will make a list of the places of interest in Ayutthaya and eventually cross them all off as we make day trips every now and then in the future.
We recently got a car so that Pae could get to work more easily. That's its main function, duty and purpose. But having a car has made it so much easier for us to pick up and drive in whatever direction and explore more of Thailand!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A quick one for Auntie Judy

Hi Auntie! Lots of stuff going on here with midterms at my school and Pae having a few days off. Just wanted to quickly give you a preview of a post that will be coming soon about my marathon on Sunday; The Ayutthaya Marathon! 3:29:50 after the official results came out! 8th place overall (not so many runners as there was no prize money). 5th place age group (trophy!) Eric also had an awesome day. I'll post more about it in the coming weeks, just wanted to send you a picture...Love ya!
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