It Truly Is a Wonderful Life

Wednesday, February 10th

Guys! I made it! Not only out of Thailand, but this is officially my last post about Thailand {bittersweet to be honest because I love any excuse to flip through my several hundred (hehe or more) pictures that I took during my trip!}

I warned you, we were all about relaxation these last two days! We woke up Wednesday morning and I happy to announce that I was the last one out of the pool when it closed Tuesday night and the first one in the pool when it opened Wednesday morning…fine living at its best! Waking up we were excited because our fancy schmachy hotel came with breakfast vouchers.

We had no idea what that might actually look like but we knew 2 things to be true 1) we would actually be eating breakfast that morning and 2) it wasn’t going to be toast and strawberry jelly! I’ll be honest, I’m not sure I’ve ever been so excited to scarf down multiple bowls of corn flakes in one sitting before! In Taiwan cereal is not really considered a breakfast food and milk is not super cheap so I rarely [read: never] have either milk or cereal, so having both offered to me was a little slice of heaven to start out my day! Coupled with scrambled eggs, fresh fruit, and salad, I left breakfast one happy camper. I would like to say here that after breakfast I went back to my room like a respectable adult to put on my swimsuit before going to the pool, but that would be a lie…I actually woke up at 8am and dressed directly into my swimsuit so as soon as breakfast was finished…it was hello blue water and sun for Tracy!

Around 3pm the hotel decided that they wanted to introduce us to this thing called “mandatory check out” I’m not so sure what that is though :P but sadly our swimming had to come to and end. By this time though, naturally, our tummies were rumbling once again so we decided to get a little adventurous after stumbling upon a street stand. This man was selling what appeared to be a flat dumpling or a fat pancake stuffed with different veggies. We each ordered one of each flavor and our taste buds thanked us graciously for the meal!

After lunch we walked to a ways to Wat Traimit temple to pay a visit to the Golden Buddha that we had read about in my lovely Lonely Planet Guide (remember as I mentioned in a previous post, by this point we had basically done all the “big name attractions” in Bangkok and we were just now leisurely visiting things as we discovered their existence.) The grounds of the Wat Traimit temple were beautiful with everything coming together in beautiful golds and whites and although not nearly as large as many of the other temples we had visited throughout the country, it was beautiful in its own respect. Unfortunately being my last day in Bangkok I was running a little short on cash {and still had yet to get my dear brother the soccer jersey I had promised him!} and hated to take money from an ATM with crazy high fees for a quick trip inside to see the gold Buddha, so Tina ran in for a couple minutes while I people watched outside of the temple; win-win if you ask me!

After checking out the temple we didn't have too much on our agenda until early evening, so we spent the rest of the afternoon wandering. Honestly, after two weeks of being on the go all the time, it was nice and relaxing just to walk around and see where we would end up. We stopped at a food stand for Tina to grab a bite to eat, we browsed a local shopping mall, stopped in  a local jewelry shop, and chatted with locals curious as to why 2 foreign girls were away from the touristy areas of Bangkok. 

With today being Ash Wednesday I was determined to find a Catholic Church to attend mass at some point during the day {easier said than done when 94% of the population is Buddhist and only a mere 1.2% of Thai people are Christian LET ALONE Catholic!} Low and behold though, I was able to find a church (at this point I couldn't get picky about the language!) and around 6:30 I left Tina at the mall and ventured to find the church {actually it was the Cathedral!} nearby for mass at 7:00. I was shocked when I arrived, not only was this a Cathedral, but also a primary school, high school, college, and convent all on the same grounds, and it was beautiful! I got to mass a little early and watched the high school band practicing for an upcoming competition before heading into the church. 

In terms of churches go, the Assumption Cathedral was brand new having finished construction only 16 years ago in 2000 but it was beautiful in its simplicity nonetheless. Through my years of travel I have had the opportunity to go to mass in several different counties and have experienced it in several languages as well, but I have to say, Thai mass was a first for me! Everyone in the church was Thai except for myself and an older European looking woman several rows ahead of me. As soon as I sat down she noticed me (being the only 2 non-Asians in the church!) and gave me a small wave. Periodically during mass she would turn around and smile to me {it was obvious neither of us spoke any Thai lol} and during the sign of peace she made a point of coming over and giving me a big hug before returning to her seat. When mass was over she made a bee-line for my pew and we both exchanged greeting before realizing we still weren't speaking the same language! She was from Germany and was visiting Thailand for 2 weeks. I don't speak German and she knew only a handful of words in English, but she expressed her happiness in seeing "a young person" in church and gave me the biggest of hugs and a kiss on the cheek before she left. It honestly left me with tingles. What a beautiful world that we live in where I can go to church that is speaking a foreign language {and still be able to follow the thing I love about Catholicism} meet another foreigner whom still doesn't speak the same language as you, yet leave the church feeling so fulfilled and happy inside!

Nap Time!
Once mass was finished Tina and I made our way back to our hotel where our bags were in storage (easier said than done as we had slowly been wandering further away from the
 hotel all day) grabbed our bags and settled in for one last Thai dinner before getting on our airport shuttle bus. Ok, in reality I wish our trip back was that peaceful! It was a bit of a time crunch, but we made it! Coupled with the fact that I was bound and determined to still find a specific Thai soccer jersey for my brother and make it back to the hotel before they closed the baggage room for the night. Needless to say all worked out, I've got the jersey, our tummies were fed, luggage in hand, and we made it to the airport with time to spare in preparation for our 2am flight home {hello naps on every airport chair I sat in!}

Thailand, you've truly been wonderful! I couldn't have asked for a better 2 weeks to fulfill my desire that I've had for years to visit Thailand. The temples, the elephants, the sights, sounds, and food, it was truly a vacation that I'll never forget...thank you!