FINALLY. Now that we've been back for two weeks, I'll start splicing in some honeymoon recaps :)
As usual, I procrastinated packing until the bitter end and was up frantically throwing things into my suitcase until almost midnight - somehow this did not deter my efforts to make a video blog and prepare several peanut butter pitas.
I was, though, pretty proud of myself for successfuly packing everything I needed for two weeks in a carry-on and giant purse...and I'm a girl! A girl who really likes clothes. This was a serious victory
We met Ben's mom at 5:30 (we were storing his car in their garage as we only have one garage space) and took off for the airport! I had my usual airport breakfast Starbucks coffee + oatmeal, and by the late morning we were in Chicago!
Unfortunately this was really only the very beginning of our travels.... we still had a 14-hour flight to Seoul Incheon, a 4 hour layover in Seoul, and a 5.5 hour flight to Bangkok.
No big deal right?
Luckily I was well-equipped with entertainment and reading material.
As weird as it sounds, I love exploring new airports. I had never been to Seoul Incheon before and it was beautiful - very open and spacious and pristine feeling, and they had planters full of orchids near all of the gates - perfectly spaced out of course. Very Korean.
I actually managed to sleep on the flight from Seoul to Bangkok...which never happens (I have a lot of trouble sleeping on planes... give me a bed or couch and I'm out like a light, but anything else and...tough luck) but at least I was sort of refreshed when we arrived!
To balance the cost of the resort we were staying at later on, we booked a room at a $20/night hostel in Bangkok - Ben had stayed there before and assured me that it was a really cool place. Honestly, the point of traveling to Bangkok is to experience Bangkok, and you can do that just as well (if not better) from a hostel as you can from a luxury hotel. The Suk 11 was adorable - tons of charm, and full of a diverse array of travelers. The place had a very laid-back, bohemian vibe with wooden walls and crafty/snarky decorations. Two of my favorite things about the hostel were 1) the writing and drawings all over the walls from people who've stayed there and b) the hallways that are designed to look like little wooden walkways through the jungle.
I was so glad to see a bed!
...but Ben was even more glad.
...and obviously since we'd just been traveling for 3o hours or so, we decided to go out for a drink! No matter how tired I am from travelling, when I get to my destination I'm always too excited to go to sleep. We hit up this place: a bar inside of a bus that plays reggae music! I don't remember what the drink I got was called, but it was delicious.
The next morning, we were up bright and early to explore the city. Breakfast at the hostel was simple but good - a variety of fresh fruit, bread with jam and a delicious spread made out of coconut and iced tea. They also had a selection of Thai pudding-type-dishes: I tried one with banana and coconut milk that was quite excellent. After breakfast: exploring!
One of the coolest things about Bangkok is the street food. It is amazing...and ridiculously cheap! Fried and grilled fish of every kind, fresh fruit like you wouldn't believe, and my personal favorite - I have no idea what they are actually called but I call them "noodle bags" - just a clear plastic bag that you fill with noodles, whatever veggies and spices you want, and broth. Yum.
For lunch we stopped at an organic green-market near Suk11 and tried their noodle soup - it was loaded with fresh veggies and perfectly spiced...maybe one of my favorite meals from the whole trip.
After lunch we caught the train to the ferry station and took the ferry to the amulet market - the ferries are basically part of public transportation in Bangkok, because often it's much faster to go down the canal than to try to drive through traffic. The elevated trains are fantastic, but they don't go everywhere so eventually you have to find another means of transit.
The amulet market is one of Ben's favorite places in Bangkok and I can see why. The name refers to the small buddhist statues and tokens that are the main shopping attraction in that area, but they sell tons of other things there, too - flowers, clothes, random trinkets - and of course delicious and amazing street food.
A bite of totally-bad-for-you street food was tempting me...after all, how many times in my life am I going to be in Bangkok right? It smelled so amazing I couldn't resist, so I got a giant fried shrimp ball (basically, little shrimp mixed with batter and some spices, then fried like a donut and served with spicy sauce) and split it with Ben. Totally worth it.
After the amulet market we shlepped back to the hotel for dinner at their outdoor restaurant. I had a fantastic yellow curry, and we somehow ended up having post-dinner drinks with a random Norwegian guy named John we met at the restaurant. We met him because he overheard us speaking English from several tables away:
John: You are speaking english!! Are you American?
Me: We are!
John: Where are you from in America?
John: Ah! I wonder if maybe I am related to you!
Me: (confused) Where are you from?
John: I am from Norway
Me: (Ben and I pause and look at each other)...yeah that's actually entirely possible
(we're both half-Norwegian)
John had just retired from the Norwegian secret service, as crazy as that sounds, and was moving to Thailand permanently to be with the woman he loved...how adorable :) After dinner we were pretty beat, so we went to bed to rest up for another day of trekking around Bangkok.