The Big Bangkok Reunion

friends of HoneyTrekMike and I are big on traditions and we aren’t going to let them fall to the wayside just because we’re away from home. Case in point, the Howard “Day/Month/Year” party. Ever since March 3, 2003 (03/03/03), we’ve been throwing a party to celebrate when the dates match up (why?…well, why not!) and 12/12/12 was the last one on the calendar, so something big had to be done! We sent out the annual invitation but this year the destination changed from our backyard in Hoboken to the far-flung Thailand. Six fearless friends (TJ, Carolyn, Scott, Ryan, Chelsea, and Ashley) RSVPed yes to fly across the world to join us for 12 days of celebrating tradition, good friends, and grabbing life by the horns.

 

temple of dawn bangkokWe’ll have to warn you that the next few HoneyTrek blog posts are going to err on the side of slight debaucherous…but #1) It’s party #2) It’s Thailand. Thailand, and especially Bangkok, is known for its reckless love for good times. That said, we we still soaked up the country’s centuries of history and its capital’s cultural offerings. Here is a view from the top of the city’s spectacular Wat Arun, the Temple of Dawn (not the inside of a bar).

 

chartering a boat in bangkokRivers and canals cut through the streets of Bangkok, functioning as lively secondary highways. A good portion of the city’s neighborhoods are only accessible by boat so TJ, Carolyn (our first two buddies to arrive to the 12/12/12 festivities), Mike, and I set out to explore these floating neighborhoods. See the slideshow for more scenes from this fascinating backwater tour of Bangkok.

 

Bangkok Grand Palace exteriorThailand is a constitutional monarchy so Bangkok’s Grand Palace is not a relic but a fully functioning space for King Rama IX’s royal ceremonies. We took a tour of the 18th-century complex of temples, halls, courtyards, and residences and were amazed by the opulent Thai style.

 

bangkok top sightsAcross the street from the Grand Palace is Bangkok’s biggest and oldest temple, Wat Pho. It’s most famous for being the birth-place traditional Thai massage and having this massive reclining Buddha. At 50-ft high x 141-ft long, this handcrafted work of art is impressive on so many levels–especially its mother-of-pearl toe prints!

 

 muya thai in bangkokMuay Thai kickboxing is the country’s national sport and something the boys were dying to see. This martial art is a slightly more humane version of ultimate fighting but flying fists, elbows, knees, and feet are still fair game. The fighters were tiny but tough as nails (traditional training uses bamboo and banana trees as kicking poles and punching bags, if that tells you anything about the pain these athletes can take.)

 

thai tailor shop Now this where it starts to get a little crazy. Bangkok is full of scams with a common one being the tuk-tuk driver that offers “free” rides if you visit a tailor shop (this seems strange, but the tailor/sponsor gives the tuk-tuk driver a gas coupon for every person he brings to the shop). We were offered tailor visits about ten times before a combination of curiosity and annoyance broke us down. We told the driver, “Okay, we’ll go see your tailor for five minutes but we are NOT buying any suits.” We’re not sure how this happened but between an endless supply of free beer, Gangnam Style dance sessions, reams of beautiful fabrics, and a hysterical little kid practicing his Muay Thai with us, we were wooed into buying 4 suits, 3 custom-shirts, 2 dresses, and a kimono. In the moment we semi-knew we were being ripped off, but we were having too much fun to care.

 

Continuing our night of poor but comical decisions, we went to the notorious party street, Khao San Road. This area is packed with bars, clubs, and street food…most famously fried bugs. Yes, bugs. Most of us opted for the Pad Thai but Mike went for the grand platter of scorpions, bamboo bugs, crickets, beetles, and miscellaneous creepy crawlies. See for yourself and let us know if you think Mike was crazy or just expanding his culinary repertoire.

 

travel bangkokWith our stomachs and livers barely intact, we woke up the next morning for a walkabout around the city, popping into local temples, shops, and food stalls…joined by our fourth 12/12/12-er Ashley Garver. When my dear friend and college roommate Ashley was considering joining us in Thailand, she decided to first take care of a few details first—like quit her job, rent her apartment, and buy an open-ended plane ticket! The invite became the push she needed to start her own journey around the world and now eight months later and Ashley is still traveling. Go Ash!! Check her out on ISeeAshley.com

 

bangkok street foodThe crew was coming together nicely and the fun and shenanigans were fully underway…All we needed was Mike’s brother Ryan and his longtime-girlfriend Chelsea. Stay tuned for the real 12/12/12 celebration in the tropical isle of Ko Samui.

 

23 thoughts on “The Big Bangkok Reunion

  • August 24, 2013 at 10:06 pm
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    Err on the side of slight debauchery – bring it on! Can hardly wait for more. 🙂

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  • August 24, 2013 at 10:41 pm
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    Way to go, Mike. Show ’em how to eat those crawlies.

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  • August 25, 2013 at 12:54 am
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    He was so matter of fact about chowing down on all of those! Great pictures. I loved Bangkok at first, but then I had my fill of the constant scamming pretty quickly. We were tricked into a never-ending tuk tuk ride to gem shops and tailors.

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    • August 25, 2013 at 6:15 pm
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      Mike will eat anything, it has officially been confirmed. Though did you notice in the video how he “generously” kept trying to give away the bugs to people? Big thanks to Carolyn for taking a few off his plate! I know what you mean about Bangkok is a tricky place for sure but fascinating none the less!

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      • August 27, 2013 at 6:12 am
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        Sorry I posted that one as Mike by accident. Though he would have said it himself…he’ll eat anything….and thanked Carolyn for being his bug-eating compadre.

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  • August 25, 2013 at 2:40 am
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    Thank you Mike & Anne for giving me the extra kick in the pants I needed to get on with living MY life! You two are inspirations. 🙂

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    • August 27, 2013 at 6:05 am
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      You are amazing, Ash! So proud of you for getting out there–in the biggest sense of the word! Love that we got to travel with you during your early journey in Cambodia and it would be such fun to catch you in Europe too! Let’s catch up soon!

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    • August 27, 2013 at 6:10 am
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      Any excuse to bring good friends together for a good time works for us! Though now that we are out of day/month/year alignments, we need to think of the next catchy number combo. 1/3/13 or 3/11/13 or 11/12/13…which one strikes your fancy and which day are you free ; ) ?

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  • August 25, 2013 at 5:02 am
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    Man I told you to sample the different cuisines did you have to eat creepy crawlers. Ugh. Although made me think of Africa after it rained people would pick up grasshoppers from sidewalk and fry them up!! No thanks!!! I did like their mashed bananas!!

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  • August 25, 2013 at 8:56 am
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    Did you enjoy the liveliness of Khao San Road? To me, it’s like New York City – the place never sleeps.
    Did you take the Skytrain in Bangkok? I always thought it provided lovely views of the city.

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    • August 27, 2013 at 6:13 am
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      Bangkok rivals NYC’s energy and insomnia for certain. We did take the lovely skytrain and actually ran into a friend of mike’s buddy from college there. too funny!

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  • August 25, 2013 at 9:24 am
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    Kicking off the “12-days-of-12/12/12” in style with Scott Delman + Tj Raab + Carolyn Yanoff + Anne Collins Howard + Mike Howard + Ashley Garver! Let’s do this!

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  • August 25, 2013 at 11:06 pm
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    I love it that you bought suits! Free beer is a good strategy, isn’t it? And I’m jealous that you got to share such great experiences with your friends. I want visitors!

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    • August 27, 2013 at 5:50 am
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      Umm we can’t believe we bought the suits. It’s seriously hurting our savvy traveler street cred lol. Though almost worth it for a hysterical night with great friends. For visitors, you and Adrian should totally rent a house some place fab and throw party. Send an evite, we’ll come : )

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  • August 29, 2013 at 4:26 am
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    It was an amazing trip, that I will never forget. It was great reading your post… I felt like was back there again.
    Can’t wait to hear about the house in Kho Sami!

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  • September 3, 2013 at 7:31 am
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    we love this post and thanks again for inviting us all to crash your honeymoon!! 12/12/12 will go down in the history books. Fun times with fun friends!! I truly hope we can meet up on the next leg of your journey. TJ and Carolyn

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    • September 3, 2013 at 8:13 pm
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      TJ & Carolyn, you guys rock! Thank you again for making such a big trip in the name of good times and good friends! Those 12 days will go down in history for sure, though the History books may want to censor a few things first ; )

      Reply
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