Silk Worms & Chinese New Year

Monday, February 8th

Holy moley guys! I'm so sorry, I am STILL not finished with my Thailand trip...between my computer catching a computer flu and currently being out of commission and then me getting sick for the past 2 weeks (ugh that's another story in itself) and the fact that life just doesn't ever stop...well anyways...I'm behind, but I haven't forgotten! If you might be behind on reading as well, you can catch up with me on Thailand HERE and Cambodian adventures HERE

Monday morning we decided to try, yet again, to check out this amazing floating market that we kept hearing so much about, so we set out earlier, went to the same market that was closed when we were there before and THERE WAS STILL NOTHING THERE! Apparently, after we asked around more, the people thought we were crazy, they couldn't figure out why we thought there was a floating market in this location since there never had been...ok Bangkok, you've got us on this one...and as for the floating market, we'll get you next time!

We decided to enjoy a little more time in the flower market that we had skimmed the day before and then afterwards, my curiosity got the best of me and I told Tina I wanted to go check out an amulet market that I had read about several places. I knew nothing about what an amulet market was, but that only further tickled my curiosity. If you aren't quite sure, and amulet is an object, often religiously related, that is thought to protect the wearer or owner from harm or to bring them luck. The amulet market in Bangkok was no let down. The 2-3 streets that had amulet sellers were covered with people selling. Some simply had a dozen or so amulets laid on a blanket while others had tables full of hundreds of amulets. From the little I was able to talk to the sellers I gathered that a majority of them were Buddhist decent and most had a picture of Buddha on one side and a monk or a symbol for the monk (I'm not sure if it was the creator or simply an important monk) on the reverse side. 

It was obvious that the amulets ranged in age and material, although many were made from stone and wood. And there were serious buyers walking around with magnifying glasses trying to find the days best deal. I on the other hand, having no idea what I was looking for, simply picked one that I thought would remind me of my trip to Thailand and chalked it up as a nice $1 souvenir! Checking out the market wasn't a huge time commitment, but if you're ever in the area I'd suggest checking it out!

After checking out all the amulets we decided to see what all the fuss was about the Jim Thompson House. We had seen multiple guidebooks suggesting that we check it out, but yet again, we had no idea what we were in store for {ahh one of the beauties of traveling!} First off, I am so glad we visited the house! It was really neat to see and I learned a lot as well during the included tour. Jim Thompson was an American architect who fell in love with Thailand and its people and moved there permanently in the 1940's. He pieced together his house from nearly a dozen local homes creating a one-of-a-kind Thai home to live in. While in Thailand Jim Thompson helped to revitalize the silk industry and many credit him today for the booming industry in Thailand. In 1967 though Thompson went on vacation to Malaysia and never returned. His house was eventually turned over to the Thai government and has been a museum now, open to the public, for over 40 years.

Thompson's home was beautifully decorated with many Buddha statues and traditional Thai pieces that he collected over the years. Likewise, there were displays and workers on hand to explain the process of creating silk starting with the worm and ending with a beautiful piece of cloth. It was a fun learning experience, and I'm glad we checked it out...our feet on the other hand...they were ready for nap time!

After a MUCH needed nap Tina and I put on our party pants and headed to China Town to ring in the Chinese New Year. Oh my goodness, this place was PACKED!!! For starters I felt like I was back in Taiwan with all the Chinese people crowding the streets and hearing Mandarin all around me, but there were so many people, Chinese and tourists alike, that navigating the crowds was just a tad tricky! 

Funny story of the night. Tina and I had been walking around for less than 30 minutes when this middle aged Turkish man approached us and began talking with me eager for someone to practice his English with. I figured that eventually he would part ways or he would get lost in the crowds, but he was a persistent bugger! I can't lie, at one point (probably 2 hours into our new friend Oz following us) we decided to go off on a side street and duck into a grocery store to try and lose him. We killed about 10 minutes in the store laughing that we had to hide to lose him. We turn around to finally leave, and who do we see....Oz. "I thought you ran away from me, like maybe you didn't want this old man following you, but I found you, I'm so happy!" {umm dear Oz, that's exactly what happened, but you just took this to a whole new level now!}

After a great duck dinner, some delicious Chinese snacks, and bidding our new friend goodbye we headed back late to our hostels (well not before stopping to see a New Year show at a temple we were passing bye and trying unsuccessfully to get a taxi) where Tina caught up on some sleep and I people watched outside my hostel with a beer in hand and a smile on my face....Thailand, you're way too good to me!