Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wat Po & Muay Thai

I can finally add Wat Po to the list of sights, although no thanks to my cab driver. When you catch a cab unless you get dropped off right in front of your destination they will point you in the direction you need to go. Well he pointed me towards the Grand Palace, home of the infamous Emerald Buddha, not to mention the Grand Palace was closed that day for another ceremony for the Princess who passed away.

I walked a couple blocks only to find out I was heading in the wrong direction and as I mentioned before there are not too many good signs that get you where you need to go.

As I was walking a Thai man approached me and asked me where I was from, this has happened a couple of times. I have not figured out the catch to their approach but usually they just welcome you to Thailand, tell you where you are and what sights are you are near. He told me that I was heading towards the Grand Palace and that it was closed and pointed to where Wat Po is housed and made mention of what I have heard a couple Thai's describe as "big standing Buddha." I have seen several "big standing Buddha's" so I am not sure if that is the one they mention.

Once I found the entrance I made my way in, but not before getting bombarded by vendors selling all sorts of prints and novelties. I actually listened to one man's pitch and heard the whole story of King Rama. Needless to say I negotiated for seven of his cloth prints at the bargain price of 600THB, then made my way into the Temple.

I went to purchase my ticket which was 50THB and proceed to make my way to see the reclining Buddha. Once I made my way into the Temple where he was housed, it was not what I had envisioned, I thought the Buddha would be laying on his back, maybe perched up against something. This was not the case, he was laying on his side with his head on what appeared to be a pillow and was more than 140' long, very impressive.

After viewing Wat Po I made my way through the grounds to look at the other attractions. There are nine wonders of Wat Po, which were mostly Temples with Buddha's housed in them. I would estimate that I spent about two hours just walking through the grounds and taking pictures.
I decided to leave and make my way back towards the hotel since I could not view Emerald Buddha and I had seen most of the sights near the Grand Palace, with the possible exception of the infamous "big standing Buddha."

Traffic was terrible around the Grand Palace because they were beginning to block off roads in preparation for the ceremony. I attempted to hop in a cab and make my way back, when I say attempted it took me three tries. The first driver would not turn the meter on and kept saying 130 baht, I had enough of him and got out, the second attempt failed because the driver did not know where the hotel was but I think it was more like he did not want to turn the meter on and finally I found a cab but here is the catch. I heard that cab drivers try to scam you without turning the meter on, which basically means the trip is negotiated, against my better judgement I stayed in the cab. He kept saying 150 baht and I stuck with 100 baht, I knew my price was good since I had travelled to the area several times, finally he said OK. Once he dropped me off before I handed him the money he said "tip, tip," I figured what the hell and tossed him 10 baht.

I made my way up to the room and started getting ready for my second half of the day, Muay Thai. Once I grabbed my gear I caught a cab to the gym I am going to train at, needless to say I was a little nervous, mainly because of the heat, however before I left for my trip I began preparing by training with layers of clothing on, good decision.

When I arrived I paid my money for one week and began to unpack my gear. My trainer met me and handed me a rope and took me outside to begin jumping for around 10 minutes. While jumping he asked me my weight, luckily I happen to have weighed myself on a scale in my hotel room which said 93kg (205 lbs.). I am not sure if I believe the scale but I will take it.

After jumping rope I wrapped my hands and got in the ring with my trainer to do pad work. He began immediately fixing my stance to traditional Thai. After he liked my stance and my jab and cross he moved on to my kicks. He made some minor adjustments and we began working. I would guess we went about five rounds, everything kind of started running together. He made a bunch of minor changes to my knees and elbows as well, I was rather amazed how quickly he dialed everything in. One thing he kept saying the whole time was "relax," which sounds more like "wewax." After the pad work I went to work the bags, anything from hands to kicks to knees. Again I cannot remember how many rounds but I would guess around 10 and I would also guess it was 3-5 minutes per round.

When I was working knees one of the other instructors, Pette came over to fix my knees. Pette is no joke, he has had over 200 fights and was ranked 2nd at Lumpinee. By the way my trainer is Mr. Why, no clue on the spelling but that is how it sounds.
The two hour session ended with what the Thai's call exercise (stretching) and 100 sit-ups.

Well today will be filled with R&R and Thai Boxing, signing out.


Matt said...

So is this one of the Thai fighting camps where you stay at their place, or are you still in your executive hideaway in Silom?

Gringa_Loca said...

What camp are you training at? I was told to wewax all the time! They'll also say something that sounds like s'mai (no idea how it's spelled). I thought they were saying smile, but I guess it means relax.

Keep training hard - you make me proud big brother!

Jeff said...

Let us know when you get your ass kicked!
I told you to book tours before you left so you could see everything.
Keep it Gangsta!

Michele said...

Glad to hear you are finally doing some training - thought you might spend the entire trip shopping. Sounds like week 1 went well! Enjoy the rest!