After some last minute packing Julie drove me to the entrance of the park at 6am. I waited for the shuttle bus into Pak Chong, and when it arrived a nice guy who was also waiting lifted my bag up into the back of the bus. I felt bad because the bag was VERY heavy, and he was a small guy. Thai people are always willing to help, especially women and especially when it involved heavy lifting. Although sometimes it is insulting and frustrating when people are convinced they have to help you do something you are perfectly capable of, I just have to remind myself they are only trying to be helpful. When we arrived in downtown Pak Chong the nice guy helped me again with my back and I headed across the street to the bus station. The bus drive to Bangkok was uneventful. The most glorious part of the day was when I directed my cab driver to my hotel in Thai! It wasn't as awesome as it sounds. I basically just said "Sukhumvit soi hah sip" then when he asked "tahng loo-ang?" I unfortunately didn't understand and he repeated in English "expressway?" and I said "chai" and then later when we got to the toll-both for the expressway I asked "Tow rai? (how much?)" and he said "see sip hah." When we go to the intersection of the hotel I said "sai tee nee (left here)" and then said "tee nee" once we where out front! Woohoo!
So, feeling confident I went down the street to a fried banana cart I knew would be there and then headed to the Bo Bae market. I took the BTS and then a motorbike taxi. Unfortunately the market was a bust. I didn;t find any of the kind of thing I was looking for. It is a wholesale market and a lor of the stuff was more geared toward Thai customers I think. So I left frustrated, tired, and starving and went to Tesco Lotus' cafeteria for lunch. After lunch I just hung out in my hotel room enjoying AC and television. Julie and I were both exhausted from very little sleep the night before, so we went to bed early.
I woke up early Sunday and ran on the noisy hotel treadmill until I thought it might break. I got an omlette and rice and some banana muffins from Tesco for breakfast. After I ate Julie and I headed out for some shopping at MBK. I didn't buy much, but I did get myself a new dress. I am not good at shopping with people, so I think I'll go back alone later on. We also went to the huge store in Siam Paragon mall that sells EVERYTHING. You can buy tons of foreign foods and things from home there, as well as all the usual Thai stuff. We went back to the hotel and then went out at about 4:30 to Asiatique. Julie had explained it as sort of a night market, so I was surprised when we ended up at Asiatique, which is where we saw the drag show on my first night in Bangkok. After walking around for a long time looking at overpriced stuff we stopped at an Irish Pub and listened to live Irish music. I had a Guinness beer and it was sooooo tasty. Afterward we decided to go to a different night market that was near the BTS and was on a street with a bunch of sleazy night clubs. This was an interesting experience. Julie accidentally mixed up the BTS station and we ended up having to walk quite a ways, so my feet were aching. We walked up and down the street and were offered to see a "ping pong show" just about every 30 seconds. These are awful shows at these strip clubs which involve poor women doing degrading things. We insisted we weren't interested, though a few times when Julie said we don't want to look at women they cheerfully said "We have men too!!" It is a very different side of Bangkok. Julie also told me that when she got a massage at the hotel the first night the women who work there asked her if she had a boyfriend, and when she answered no they asked if she wanted them to arrange a Thai or Japanese man for her for the night. So, even if you aren't in Bangkok for that kind of thing, you can still find signs of the sex tourism industry.
Today I was tired from a long day of walking yesterday, so I slept in until about 9:30. I felt a little feverish all morning and mostly stayed in my hotel room. It was a pretty dull day, but Julie and I had dinner from the market together and beers at the hotel. It was a nice way to spend our last night. Our goodbye was a little awkward. We didn't become that close during the past few months, but we were still each other's only company the majority of the time, and when you see someone every day, it is weird to think you may never see them again. Anyway, I am happy for the opportunity she gave me and for her patience with me in the forest.