Think only Latinos can dance salsa? Think again! The dancing performances and general level of salsa was amazing, with people from Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, India and of course Thailand giving professional shows. We must say though, that the performances given by the 6 time world champions from Brazil, was spectacular, check out this link from a previous performance.
What is all this salsa we are talking about? The 11th Bangkok international Salsa festival of course! We were going to Thailand to stay with Joshi (an old friend of Tamar) and Nita, his lovely wife. Be perfect coincidence, the dates that we could make Thailand, co-incidenced perfectly with the Salsa Festival, organized by Joshi and some friends. Excellent!
As much as we had liked India, we were also quite anxious to leave the chaos and dirt behind and visit organised BKK (Bangkok) before heading to Australia. We arrived at Bangkok airport at 3am and at our friends house in Sukhumvit around 5am. As we were already tired from the 3 days of traveling (from Nepal to Kolkata) and had not slept much during those days, we decided to go to bed for a few hours, to at least feel a bit human again for the rest of the day.
When we eventually emerged from the room around midday, the rest of the people in the house were up and running. Apart from Joshi and Nita, also two work partners of Joshi were staying at his house at that moment. DJ Henry Knowles, who played at the Salsa festival and Aferdita, who works on an application for Joshi (application to use during his facilitation sessions, he runs a very successful company, facilitating events for companies). After some chatting we decided to go out for lunch. As Henry and Aferdita are vegan and Joshi is vegetarian, we decided do go to a very nice Vegan restaurant within walking distance. We had a delicious lunch, you should try it yourself: Rasayana Raw Food. Truly, one of the most flavor packed meals of our entire trip so far. Afterwards we bought some yummy ice-cream at mall Terminal 21 across the road.
We never planned to stay in the big city Bangkok the whole week, as we also wanted to catch a couple of days of beach life. But after a few days of relaxing during the day, some sightseeing, shopping (weekend market, platinum mall) and dancing at the salsa festival in the evening, we decided to stay in BKK and just chill out some more with our friends. More than 4 months of traveling had really tired us out and we couldn’t be bothered with traveling again for hours to get to a beach just for a couple of days. Staying in a real house with friends and good Internet for a while, was way more appealing. So most of the days we chilled out at the home (Joshi has a very nice home with a garden in the middle of busy BKK), wrote our blog about Nepal and Thailand, took some foot massages and just fiddled around. The salsa pool party at the Hilton hotel, also felt as fun as the beach 😉
Most of our activities were in the evenings. On Thursday we had our date night and we went out at the Wine Connection. At this restaurant they sell you a bottle of wine in their little wine shop next to the restaurant and you drink the wine during your meal. We had a delicious meal and came home slightly drunk. Sorry Nita… ;-). Friday until Sunday evening we went to the Salsa festival for dancing and seeing some amazing performances. On Monday evening we went to the afterparty of the festival and participated in the Bachata workshop where David had his first lesson in Bachata. If you think that salsa is a sensual dance, then you should really try and learn Bachata!
Between fiddling at home and being lazy, we also managed to do few things during the day. On Monday we went on a sightseeing trip with Joshi, Nita and the Brazilian dance couple. We saw the Grand palace, went to Ko San Road an tuk-tuk for some food.
And we took Chao Phraya Express Boat over the river on our way home. Travelling on the river and along the canals in Bangkok is an absolute ‘must do’ experience, as you see much of how the city used to be and also how of the Thai people travel.
On Tuesday we went to the gym in the Sheraton hotel, as Joshi at some trial vouchers left. Ahhh, exercise! It was so enjoyable to be in a gym, lift some weights. Even more enjoyable was the use of the sauna, steam cabin, jacuzzi and shower afterwards. Mmmmm, lekker! But, the relaxation junkies we are, this wasn’t enough relaxation for us, so we also took a foot massage afterwards from one of the many massage places. That evening we had organized a dinner with all our house mates. We were in charge of the starter and main course. It had to be vegan meal, so we made a pumpkin soup as a starter and a cocos vegetable curry as the main dish. Whilst it was initially daunting to have to prepare a vegan meal, it was actually a lot easier than we thought. Henry and Aferdita made banana pancakes as dessert. Delicious!
Our last day in BKK turned out to be a busy one. We started the day with a 3 hour bike tour (with Dutch company Co van Kessel) through small back streets and alleys. Very nice and interesting. Then we ate the best pad thai ever at a street stall and went home. We did our packing (for our early flight the next morning) and then took the Sky Train (BTS) all the way to a nice park, so that David could do a cheeky rodeo line over there. Then quickly back home with the MRT (underground metro). As we also wanted to go to the movies (The new James Bond movie ‘Specture’) and take a food massage, we were not I bed before 2 am and our alarm was going at 4am. Will we ever learn? Looking back over the last 4 months, it would appear not…
Overall impressions of Bangkok: Clean, organized and quiet! This is a city we’ll be back to, for the food, the friendly people and to see our friends!
Quite tired we left the house at 5am and caught a taxi to the airport. To get rid of our last Bhat (thai money) we bought some fries and ice cream as breakfast! We loved this foolish morning indulgence! Stepping onto our flight to Melbourne was exciting, as we’d be seeing places in Australia new to both of us. Australia, we have missed you, but we will be there soon…