Welcome to the Wandering Drays!

Not all who wander are lost...

Welcome to my blog dedicated to my family and our crazy foreign service life. Never content with staying in one place, we are excited to share our journey. We've survived two unaccompanied tour (Baghdad 2010-2011 and Baghdad again in 2015-2016), multiple TDYs, and enjoyed a two-year family assignment in Cairo, Egypt. The fab hubby is currently learning Turkish for our next assignment...Istanbul, Turkey! We leave for Turkey sometime in summer 2017. I write about what I know. Which is mainly kids, tween drama, gross pets, dealing with lots of government info, our moving adventures, being a nurse, yoga, running, living on too-little sleep, and an addiction to coffee lattes. I hope you'll enjoy this glimpse into our lives.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Enjoying Bangkok

Five glorious days.
Swanky hotel. No kids.
Slippers and trashy magazines!
I was in Bangkok last week.  I enjoyed five glorious (ahem, kid-free!) days, attending a continuing education RN conference (and earned enough credits to maintain my Ohio and California RN licenses!).

I love to travel, and I've traveled all throughout the U.S.  But the only country I've been to outside of the U.S. is Egypt.  That's right.  Just Egypt.  And this is a foreign service-focused blog!  But now I can add Thailand to my list.  In fact, the fab hubby is a wee bit jealous - it's one of the countries he'd like to visit but has yet to make it there.

Since the conferences were held during the day, and nearly all of the temples and touristy sights in Bangkok close at 4:30pm, I wasn't able to get out to do much sightseeing.  However, the hotel was located near beautiful Lumpini Park.  And it has a running trail around its perimeter!  I couldn't believe my luck.

Sure, it was incredibly hot and humid.  But the air is much cleaner than what we've had in Cairo and the noise level is much lower.  The park was also a nice break from the usual Wadi I go to in Cairo.  Not to mention there are street vendors selling the most delicious food just outside the park.

Inside the park, it was amazing.  Tons of people running, two outdoor fitness gyms, children's playgrounds, and water canals with people riding in paddle boats.  It's been awhile since I've seen such lush, greenery.  And I really enjoyed it.

At the end of a run in Lumpini Park.
Hot from the beginning of my runs that week until the very end, and sweating like crazy, I felt like I got a great workout without even trying very hard. I forgot how difficult it is to run in a humid environment.

Outside of running, I enjoyed many evenings of shopping (the malls are amazing there!).  I ate from street vendors, living on fresh pineapple and papaya, rode in a tuk tuk, almost got killed by a tuk tuk (looked the wrong way before crossing the street - they drive on the left in Bangkok), and I traveled by sky train to get around.

I also signed myself and some friends up for a river dinner cruise so we could see the sights just before leaving.  We figured even if it we only saw them from a distance at least we'd get to see them!  The cruise turned out to be awesome, although we almost missed it. The ship didn't see us at the dock and drove by us.  Not to worry --- I did a crazy American and yelped, jumping up and down while flailing my arms.  They turned around and came back for us.

Fun facts I learned in my short Bangkok stay:
*Always look both ways before crossing the street.
*Tuk tuks can be dangerous.
*Running in a humid climate is a great workout.
*I love drinking the water straight from a coconut.
*I will never get tired of Thai food.
*The mad bargaining skillz I've learned in Egypt will help me all throughout the world (I picked up a leather purse in a market for almost half of what they were asking!).

Bottom line:  I had an awesome time in Bangkok!  Although I will admit, while I enjoyed the kid-free time, I really missed them (and the fab hubby) a lot.  Most of my suitcase ended up being filled with new toys and trinkets that I picked up for them!
After spending months of feeling like I was about to
be chased by Tuskin Raiders (Star Wars) at the
desert Wadi in Cairo, I was happy
to be chased by this gigantic lizard.
 He's cute, huh?

Shrine near the hotel.
Finally got to see the Grand Palace - from the cruise ship!
Wat Arun from the cruise ship.  Gorgeous.
Wondering why my face is so red?
It's because it's like a 1000% humidity in Bangkok.
Great cruise though!

I totally *heart* drinking out of a coconut.
The dudes that cut the skin off this one used
a huge butcher knife.  And then hacked it open.
I squealed in fright/delight.  I admit it.