Following on from my blog about the blind school in Pattaya I am now following on with the next leg of the adventure Bangkok.
The following day we left Pattaya and headed to Bangkok, we stayed there for 3 days. As soon as we all arrived in Bangkok, the change in air and humidity was very overwhelming. The city was very polluted with all the cars and mope heads driving on the roads 24/7. It was so dangerous in fact, that to cross the roads you had to walk across a foot bridge because there are so many cars going extremely fast along the road. During the time that I was in the city I felt very vulnerable as because we are a group of blind and partially sighted young people it was even more dangerous for us as we weren’t able to see everything. Luckily, every day we had a one to one sighted guide to make sure that we felt comfortable and safe and to guide us if needed.
Whilst we were in Bangkok, we did, some truly wonderful things including visiting the Thai Association for the Blind, which is their version of The RNIB a blind charity based in the UK. Unfortunately, during our time in Bangkok a few members of our group including a few guides caught the flu and a chest infection. Witnessing this reminded me of how easy it is to catch infections and illnesses out here due to the pollution and the change in climate. It also reminded me of how lucky we are living in a country where we have a free health service the NHS.
Despite the illnesses, the rest of us carried on with the scheduled daily activities. On the second day, we had an early start where we travelled to see the floating markets. The floating markets are only open in the morning, which is why we had to leave so early. On the journey I had an image in my head of what the floating markets would be as I envisioned there being walkways on a river and having to walk onto boats each one being a different stall in the market. When I arrived, it was not what I expected. We had to get into a boat where we travelled along a river until we came to a platform, which all the markets were.
It was better than what I imagined as there were so many stalls selling many different kinds of clothes, jewellery and bags. For me there was only one thing in particular I wanted to buy and that was Haleem trousers with elephant patterns on. I managed to find a pair for 200 Thai Bart, which is equivalent to £5. The lovely thing about going to Thailand is that everything is so cheap!
As I walked through all the markets, I noticed some lovely wooden elephants and Buda’s both hand been carved by hand. The skill that went into these huge models was so fascinating. The amount of hours that it must have taken to complete the sculpture must have taken a very long time.
It was then a long hour back to busy Bangkok, I could not help feeling sorry for those of us who had come down with flu and were unable to come, as it was truly amazing seeing the floating markets, have not seen anything quite like it before. Out here in Thailand, it is another world compared with the UK.
The following day we left Bangkok in the early evening without the ill party as they were too ill to join us at this stage, but not before, we saw the temples. Going to the temples was so captivating I have never seen anything quite like it before. Although the day we saw the temples, it was a very hot day and the temples were extremely busy. I found it very challenging both in the heat and in the crowds with my visual impairment. The architecture and design of the buildings were amazing very thin gold on all of the buildings it was just fascinating to see.
After seeing these amazing temples I thought to myself about how lucky I am to be doing these amazing and life changing things it had not really sink in what I had done for the students at the blind school in Pattaya the previous week. I had a given them more independence and within a few days, I had given some of the students the opportunity to swim for the first time.
After going to the temples we went on a riverboat ride which was quite fun, I was able to see a bit more of Bangkok and to relax for a bit after the heat and craziness of the temples. Whilst on the river we were able to feed some fish with some bread something I had not done in many years.
After doing the boat ride, we then transferred to Bangkok train station where we got the sleeper train to Chang Mai. The sleeper train was a whole other experience never before have I spent the night on a train. I expected it to be worse than it was. How it worked was the two seats facing opposite one another collapse down. For the top and there is a handle at the top that pulls down the top bed to make bunk beds. For 2 hours or so of being on the train the seats stayed upright I ordered some food for dinner before the staff came round at 9pm to change the seats into beds.
It was a very strange experience for me sleeping on a train; my night’s sleep was not too bad I expected it to be nosier than it was. In the morning at 7am I got woken by someone peering through my bedside curtains asking me if I wanted an orange juice I felt very wiry at this stage in the morning it was very early and I wasn’t expecting to be woken by someone asking me if I wanted an orange juice! Soon after this, I had to get up because they were coming round to turn the beds back into train seats. As I looked out the window at this early morning sunrise, I noticed 2 stray dogs running alongside the train they almost looked as though they were racing the train.
For a young person doing something this big is an amazing opportunity for you to grow and develop your skills and learn new skills. As well as developing and increasing your self-esteem and confidence within yourself. More importantly, you get to meet new people and to put something on your CV.