Guest Post: How to be a tourist

My sister Sarah just left after spending 2.5 weeks with us. She decided that it was extremely important for her to influence the development of Zoe’s personality as much as possible in these early, impressionable days, so she ditched the first weeks of her university semester for some time in the tropics. I’m not sure that Zoe even realizes that she has a “personality” just yet, but Sarah was determined to try.

Whispering instructions to Zoe while she sleeps...

Whispering instructions to Zoe while she sleeps…

Sarah also got to satisfy her lifelong wish of being my twin. “Apparently,” when we younger, I refused to wear matching clothes, but as a parting gift, I agreed to be twinners for one evening.

Nursing mothers should generally avoid owl/hooter paraphernalia...

Nursing mothers should generally avoid owl/hooter paraphernalia…

And finally, she achieved her greatest ambition by writing a guest post for this blog. All I can say is that I hope that some of her guidelines are facetious, because otherwise they are the worst advice I’ve ever read.

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Guest Post:

 

I came to Thailand for 2.5 weeks to visit Ruth, Todd and Zoe. Because my stay was short, I wanted it to be sweet so I decided in my time off from being an influential auntie, I would be a tourist. There is no better place to be a tourist than Thailand and I thrust myself into the lifestyle with abandon.P1030869 In the past two weeks I have really learned how to be a perfect tourist, so let me share the tricks of the trade with you

  1. Learn as little of the local language as possible. Hello, thank you. That’s all you need.
  2. ALWAYS have a camera with you. If you are travelling alone and suck at selfies, just make a friend for a day. Stop every time you see something unusual and pose in front of it. Remember, if you don’t have a photo, you weren’t there
    PROTON. never seen that before. gotta get a pic!

    PROTON. never seen that before. gotta get a pic!

     

  3. You can wear whatever you want because you don’t understand the customs. If you want to be a bit respectful, there are several ethnic groups who will not only push the limits, they will stomp naked on those limits then pose for pictures. Use these groups to help determine what isn’t appropriate.
  4. If something bothers you or you get cheated, feel free to yell about it. The seller won’t see you again, so no harm right?
  5. Try any weird food you can. If it tastes terrible, comfort yourself with the knowledge that you tried something cultural.

    who am I kidding, these prawns are the reason I would move to Thailand

    who am I kidding, these prawns are the reason I would move to Thailand

  6. Spend exorbitant amounts on purses. They are real leather after all.

    I can't believe it's not leather!

    I can’t believe it’s not leather!

  7. Make friends with other tourists. You can swap stories about all the things you have done and comfort yourself with the knowledge that they know as little about the culture as you do.we wore these hats to fit in...

If you follow these 7 easy steps, you will be a successful tourist. Just a reminder, if you are caught doing something rude or disrespectful, please lie about the country you are from. Since your main goal is to have a blast without having to get with the culture, you shouldn’t be worried about setting a good example, so make sure the tags on your bags don’t reveal your true identity.

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The (not so) Real Bangkok: a visit to Ancient City

Back in October, Todd ran a road race in a park called Ancient City (you can read the post here). It was a pretty rad park, but we didn’t see much of it – Todd was too busy hauling his ageing body around the course, and I was too busy screaming “go haaaaaard!!” at random, baffled British children, and checking out the classy port-a-potties. We decided we needed to go back and see the park properly, so this past Saturday, we grabbed Vera (main talent: being a dead ringer for the Korean chick on “Cloud Atlas”) and Therese (main talent: thought manipulation) and headed for the park.

I was a little taken aback by the hefty entrance fee, but I got over it when I saw the awesome bicycles that the fee included:

Built for comfort (the bicycles, I mean)

A crocodile bicycle: my dream come true

Ancient City (Thai: Mueang Boran) contains replicas of a variety of Thai historical sites. From the official website:

  • Just a visit to the Ancient City is comparable to a Thailand-round journey within a day.
  • The layout preserves the pattern of traditional Thai lifestyles, which is hard to behold nowadays

Our visit was pretty short (we only had 1.5 hours before we had to head back to the stix), so I figure we made a quarter Thailand-round journey. Because of our short time frame (and my shorter attention span), I didn’t read many signs, so don’t ask me for a history lesson. I can, however, vouch for the ambience, and the coolness factor – both were right on.

The temple provides the ambience, the farangs provide the, uh, coolness factor

There were also a lot of fun statues in the park, including these fighting elephants. I cannot imagine anything more terrifying in battle than being hauled off your perch by an angry, flailing trunk.

Hmmm. Maybe I’ll be safe if I hide by his massive, thundering foot.

This was another fun statue in the park – a bunch of horses and gods go to battle together. The best part of the statue was the artificial mist being released from the rocks.

So historical, it’s almost lost in the mists of time.

We bought fresh coconuts from a long-tail boat that was floating near the replica of a traditional village.

Peeping Tom Todd creeps on the villagers

I could handle living here

Unfortunately, Therese is almost as obsessed as Todd is with birds, and as soon as one flew into sight, they were all over it. Turns out Vera also likes a good chirp. They were throwing around terms like long-breasted-short-beaked-angry-footed-booby-clucker, so I meandered around and took a few more photos.

Not sure what it is, but it looks cool.

Also very cool. The gazebo looks really romantic from afar, but when you get closer, it’s full of carvings of angry, multi-headed snakes. Whatever does it for you.

I made Todd give me a ride on his bike to make up for the delay. This bike would be the ultimate family bike: you could put one kid on the front seat, and another in the basket. Now that’s what I call family time.

Unparalleled comfort AND style

Before we made it back to the entrance, I had to snap one last photo:

Vera looking picture perfect next to a replica of Ayutthaya

Ancient City filled us so full of Thai history (and birds) that we decided to give our culture-filled brains a rest, and went for Mexican food with our American compadres.

Hmmm. Not much history/culture going on here.

I’m guessing Ancient City will lure me back again, though – the combination of immaculate history and crocodile bicycles is just too much to resist. And besides, where else can you get a Thailand-round tour in just one day?