It is our last day in Bangkok, we could easily spend more time in this city…we just couldn’t get around to see all the different areas here! After starting our morning peeling and eating a bunch of mangosteen fruit, we decided we needed to see some of the historic and religious buildings in Bangkok. We took a tuk-tuk to the river dock, got a ticket and stood in line for the water taxi. The taxi was fairly big…more of a ferry-boat and there were tons of people onboard. We found seats and watched the sites as we floated down the Chao Phraya River. We got off the boat at the Wat Arun (The Temple of Dawn) but first walked past the entrance in search for food…we hadn’t eaten yet. We found a little place and ordered a few dishes to eat while enjoying the air conditioning…it was extremely hot outside. We had a soup as well as a couple of stir-fry dishes to energize us before our temple sight-seeing.
The Wat Arun sat right on the edge of the river and as we got closer to the main tower or pang as they call it, we realized the intricate details used to create this beautiful Hindu temple. The tallest portion represents Mt. Meru (the center of the cosmology world in Buddhism) and the other four Pangs have additional Buddhist symbolism. There were a couple very steep stairways to climb to get closer to the top of the main temple. We slowly climbed as far up as we were allowed to go while appreciating each porcelain piece that had been placed into the design of this temple. There were what looked like porcelain saucers and other pieces of porcelain in all kinds of designs laid into the building. It was very artistic and resourceful…this temple is one of the best known landmarks in Bangkok. We took many pictures and stopped for a few minutes to gaze out at the view of the river before getting back on the water taxi to cross the river to the next temple.
After a short ride across the river, we found ourselves walking by several vendors selling their goods and took a small detour into the local market…which seemed like a rundown market with smells to wake anyone’s senses, and I don’t mean that in a good way! We quickly left the stinky market and walked onto the grounds of the Grand Palace which was built-in 1782. It was home to the Thai King for 150 years, but is now only used for ceremonial purposes and tourists. There were all kinds of buildings within the temple walls and larger than life statues all richly decorated in gold and other bright colors. This temple also used porcelain pieces inlaid in the building for decoration…in shapes such as flowers all over the temple. We also recognized the similar symbolism of a main center pang with four additional, each one in a corner surrounding the main. We also saw many large buddha statues standing in a row all in gold and all as tall or taller than us. We walked through the grounds impressed with the beauty of the temples, took many pictures and are now starting to recognize the Bangkok architectural style.
After spending much of the day looking at the two main temples, we took a tuk-tuk back to the main city. We stopped into the shoe store from yesterday to try on the shoes they had made for us and to pay our balance.
After dinner, we went back to our room to get things packed up…tomorrow we have some of the day to spend in Bangkok but then will get to the airport to fly to southern Thailand…a little island relaxation before going to India!!
Published by Brandey Kabat
What I like: Dark chocolate, yoga, fresh squeezed juice, laughing, hiking, wine, travel, food, lush products, being warm, having long hair, the ritual of drinking something hot first thing in the morning…
What I don’t like: When people smell their fingers, pushing elevator buttons, confrontational situations, not being able to fall asleep quickly at bedtime…
Most random job ever: Plastic surgery consultant
As for my love life: I met my husband mid way through my junior year in college, as soon as I laid my eyes on him I was attracted to him. In fact, I made the first move which was a bit out of character but there was something about him…probably the fact that he was smokin’ hot!!
Where from and where to: I grew up in NY, went to college at The Ohio State University and then headed to CA after graduation. My boyfriend (Giff) and I had a map, a borrowed van and used stuff from his mom’s basement aka a vacuum, silverware, old Christmas ornaments etc., and about $1000 each. We thought it would be a good idea to head straight to CA since neither of us had been. Being we didn’t know anyone there nor did we have a job or job interviews set up or a place to live…I would say we did it the hard way! However with a bit of help from Giff’s mom who flew out to put us up in a hotel, bought me a suit for interviewing and co-signed a lease to get us a place to live we eventually found jobs and an apartment and have been in CA for 10 years.
Our story: After moving out to CA and living together for about 3 years we got engaged. He popped the question while down on one knee on the beach at sunset after we finished our picnic he had packed of bread, cheese, shrimp cocktail and wine. He even had the ring in a box that had a light shining down on it when opened so as it was getting dark, this amazing man was asking me to be his wife as he handed me a huge rock…Yes! Yes! Yes!
In 2005 we were married (I am biased but our wedding was absolutely amazing). By the end of 2005 we were new home owners. 2006-2009- we were both happily married, attached to our 3 cats and were focused on building our careers.
Giff and I got pregnant mid year 2009 with our first baby but what should have been one of the highlights of our life was soon distracted by the news I received at the doctor’s office.
The lump in my breast that had been dismissed the year before as nothing was now being diagnosed by a different doctor as breast cancer. Thankfully Giff is a persistent person and when we went in for our ultrasound (to hear our baby’s heartbeat) he brought up the request for testing to be done on the lump rather than dismissing it based on feeling it.
The going gets rough: Things began to move so quickly at that point, it was hard to breathe. I was 30, pregnant with my first child and going into surgery to remove breast cancer. I was about to go through what would be the worst year of my life. The plan had been discussed, we were going with the most aggressive regimen possible- double mastectomy, port surgically placed in my chest, chemotherapy, drug therapy and radiation. We also had to terminate the pregnancy. This cancer was estrogen positive and the hormones were actually feeding the cancer. That little angel whom was the cause of our going into the doctor saved my life.
Giff was my rock through every step…interviewing a team of the best doctors, memorizing which medicines I needed to take and when, driving me to chemotherapy and sitting next to me while I was so scared, telling me I was beautiful when I was bald, and so many other things…words cannot express. When you say your vows, in sickness and in health…you would never guess sickness of this magnitude at this age would be in the near future. In addition to this hardship, Giff’s dad died of a complicated prostate cancer the day we came home from my surgery. I could not hold my husband as he mourned for his dad because of the pain I was in from the mastectomy. How did Giff handle all of this pain at one time? How was he so strong for me? He is amazing. Giff’s dad was one of those people whom you naturally wanted to be around…his smile was contagious, his love for life was invigorating and he listened so intently when you talked in a conversation with him. He made you feel special. We think about him often and will miss him so much.
My family and friends were also by my side…my mom flying out from NY several times to help us with cooking and cleaning and holding my hand. It must be one of the most awful things in the world to watch your baby girl be diagnosed with breast cancer. My girlfriends also flew out to take care of me and help with anything they could. Other friends living closer would come by just to sit and talk or watch movies. There were so many cards, letters, flowers, cookies, and other gifts that came from all over the country. It’s amazing to have such great people in my life. In addition to my amazing circle of friends and family, there were the strangers with whom crossed our path. Whether it was a letter in the mail from a breast cancer survivor, the anesthesiologist who called Giff during my surgery crying happy tears that the cancer had not spread to my lymph nodes, or our fertility doctor who promised to watch over our frozen embryos as if they were her own. There were so many small gestures that made such a big impact on our lives.
Looking at the bright side: Thankfully this was caught in stage 1, had it been caught a year prior by the first doctor I had gone into about the lump, it may have been caught at stage 0. Please learn from my lesson…insist the lump be tested – a lump cannot be diagnosed by touch. They were able to cut all the cancer out and after I finish the entire regimen including a pill I take over the next 5 years, they said there is a 95% chance the cancer will never come back.
Our exciting future: We’ve decided to re-prioritize, we are taking 400 days starting February 7th of 2011 to travel the world! We will travel to new places, eat new foods, taste new wines and meet new people. We will focus on healing ourselves both physically and mentally. This will be one of the best years of our lives.
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