Add another thing to the list of stuff that Bangkok wildly outclasses NY in- trains. We spent pretty much all of yesterday hustling around the city on the BTS, checking out gyms and going to the gear store I’d heard about. It all went remarkably well, in large part to how easy the train made it. They have a route marker indicating where you are and where you’re going, which the subway at home had just gotten round to installing recently. The TVs also show a little subtitle for what the next stop is, which is handy for when the railings block the wall displays. And the computerized train voice speaks better English than the ones at home do. Go figure that one out.
Anyway, we had a successful jaunt around Bangkok. I picked up new gloves and a pair of shorts, and Tryn got her own pair of shinguards, all for what amounted to 60 dollars. For those of you unfamiliar with gear prices and why that’s awesome, if I’d ordered this stuff at home, the gloves or shinguards by themselves would have cost more than 70 dollars just on their own. So you might be able to guess that this isn’t the last shopping trip that’s going to happen.
Next on the agenda(actually, the shopping came last, but whatever) was to do some scouting and see about some of the gyms in the area that were easily accessible by train. Obviously there are a lot more, but I want to start small so I can get used to getting around Bangkok first before I decide to go off a little further. The first one was a little place squirreled away in a corner on a residential street. It reminded me a little of the setup at Vision Quest, so naturally I liked the looks of it. I’d emailed the gym a few days before to get an idea of where it was and the price options. Most gyms here have a few rooms attached so you can stay there while you’re training, which is handy. Of course, the price I got online was a bit different than the one I got in person, while they gave me a free bottle of Pepsi, offered a motorbike ride back to wherever we needed, and showed me the private apartment rooms that were a bit down the street from the camp. In terms of price, it usually goes- shared room with a fan, shared with AC, private room with a fan, private with AC. And the Thai woman showing me the place is telling me I can only book a room for a week at a time, which is double the price I was given online. Now I liked the place, but I know an upsell when I see one. Or as Primo once said, born late, not born yesterday. So I told her I’d be in contact and moved along. That’s the nice thing about looking for a camp in Thailand- if you don’t like it, you can take your business to the guy down the street. Literally, in some cases. So I did.
The next place we checked out was a few stops down on the train and a 5 minute walk. It was behind a cemetery, which was odd in itself. Apparently, the preferred method of laying someone to rest here is cremation, which I’m pretty sure is a Buddhism thing. And considering this country is almost exclusively Buddhist, cemeteries are a pretty rare sight. The two exceptions are burials for the Chinese population, or world war 2 deaths. Going by the characters on the headstones, I’m pretty sure this was a Chinese one. That, and the sign that said “Chinese Memorial Cemetery” was a tipoff. Anyway, we wander through the graveyard to get to the camp, and are promptly greeted by a grizzly bear’s half-brother. The place is owned by a truly monstrous -looking Australian guy, who was at least a head taller than me, covered in tattoos, and most likely capable of smashing my head with his pecs. Despite that, he was actually a pretty chilled-out guy and had no problem giving me the lowdown on the place without any bullshit or hard sells. Also, he has a bulldog, and I seem to have good luck with gyms where the boss has a bulldog.
Given my two options, I’m headed back to Bangkok this coming week to train for a few days at the camp that’s run by Casey’s evil twin. If all goes well, I’m hoping to make it a weekly thing, and then start looking at getting a fight. So all in all, it was a pretty successful day trip!