Day 6: Wandering Around Bangkok (Part 2)

I don’t know how the hell our feet did it, but we found ourselves back in Khao San Road without the help of any map and without having to ask locals for directions. Oh, the mysteries of being a wanderer. Mind you, it was extremely exhausting. We were about to go adventurous on lunch, but when we saw the big and yellow letter M, forget about indulging our taste buds in foreign food. I am so picking that humungous serving of French fries over Pad Thai anytime of the day.

Local Sister
As we were about to go out of what we consider as our fast food heaven, this tourist guy called my sister’s attention and asked if she spoke English. Of course she said yes. The guy then asked her if she could translate what he wanted to say to the two Thai girls he was clearly trying to woo. My sister snickered and told him politely that she’s also a tourist, a Filipina, and she can only speak English. The guy’s face fell. Obviously, the language barrier is a very big roadblock to successful man whoring. And I guess the oriental beauty runs in the family.
Our brains wanted to go back to the guesthouse and take a rest. Unfortunately for them, our feet had other plans. With no clear recollection of what really happened, it was only later that it registered on us that we got inside a taxi, told the driver something, and ended up alighting in front of a temple’s back entrance. Our feet: “Welcome to Wat Ben, guys!” Sis and Me: *Groans*
Wat Ben: View from the backside.
Local Me
Wat Ben (or Wat Benchamabophit) was a good contrast to the Grand Palace – smaller grounds, lesser tourists, and a quieter and more peaceful ambience. Looks like our brains still got the rest they wanted. The first thing sis and I did was head to the benches and take a momentary breather. That walk back to Khao San Road was no joke. The guy sitting beside me kept looking at me. His curiosity finally got the better of him and he asked, “You from here?” I said, “No. I’m from the Philippines.” After a long pause, “You look Thai very much.” I smiled at him and replied, “I know.”
Ah the advantages of youth, you only need short periods of rest. I told sis that I was going to start wandering around the temple and asked if she wanted to join me. She said a big, emphatic, “No!” Thank goodness I’m still a few years away from crankiness and crackly bones. I first went inside where they house the Buddha statue. Locals were kneeling on the floor and paying their respects. The tourists followed suit and I might as well join the bandwagon even though I don’t practice any religion.
Why do I find this statue very imposing and scary?
On my way out, I saw this guy with an amputated leg and on crutches. As he was about to go inside, the bag he was carrying fell off from his shoulders and a few of his belongings got scattered on the floor. I maybe an Olymp-bitch gold medalist, but my heart has a soft spot for people who are physically challenged. I can empathize with the discrimination these people endure for being “different”. It was a no-brainer; I helped him out. He thanked me. I said it was no big deal. He held out his hand, “I’m Jeremy.” I took it, “Kenneth.” And it was only then that I noticed how handsome he is and how deeply blue his eyes are. Shet! Malanjutay Mode. Engaged. Prepare for Takeoff. *Insert sirens here*
I took his bag and helped him go inside the temple. His asking where I’m from prompted one of the most inspiring and one of the most malandiconversations I had in my life. Who would’ve thought talking about the Philippines is a good flirting device? Like me, Jeremy loves traveling. But unlike me, he has already traveled to a lot of countries. “Almost 20, I think.” He said when I asked how many he has visited thus far. He regaled me with some of the most memorable adventures he had while I gave him a handful of tips for his upcoming visit to the Philippines next month (June).
“Don’t you find it difficult?” I asked before my brain could filter out that very offensive question. “What do you mean?” “Uhm.. Traveling…” “With a disability?” He offered with that cute smile. “Yeah,” I replied and certainly feeling that my cheeks were starting to turn a reddish hue. “Things are always difficult whether you have something like this or not.” Jeremy began, “But those difficulties should never stop you from doing what you love. If you let them, you’ll end up being the loser in the end.” “Sure it’s a challenge, even embarrassing at times, to be traveling like this,” He gestured at his crutches, “but it’s nothing compared to the happiness and fulfillment I feel whenever I get to a place I have never been to, experience a culture different from mine, or meet a bunch of awesome people along the way.” I smiled at him with more admiration this time. And that’s when it struck me.

If a guy who is missing a leg; a guy who is physically challenged; a guy who is constantly being told by society that it’s impossible for him to do many things, traveling being one of them, and yet he is able to do it – pursue his passion, why can’t I? Why can’t you?

If only it was possible, I could’ve sat there with him for like eternity, but I had to go. My sister was probably looking for me and I am not giving her the opportunity to blast on a sermon for seeing me flirting with another guy in front of Buddha, no less. I said to Jeremy that my time was up and I have to ditch him. He thanked me again. “I can’t wait to visit your country. It looks like I’ll be having loads of fun there.” “Why?” “Because I met a very nice Filipino today.” I plastered my demure-‘dimakabulwakpekepek smile on my face and bade him goodbye. But inside I was already doing a round off, backhand spring, back tuck, double full twist layout. Repeatedly.
Local Siblings
I found my sister taking pictures of Wat Ben’s façade. I took out my camera and began taking snapshots as well. “Hey what’s that?” I looked at where she was pointing – it was a booth of some sort. Many tourists started flocking the said booth. I went there to see what the commotion was all about. Turns out it was the booth where you pay for the entrance fee! We’ve been going around Wat Ben all this time without paying our entrance fees! *Haha*
Wat Ben’s facade. Now that I have a picture it’s time to pay the entrance fee.
We took out our BHT20 each (Wat Ben entrance fee) and fell in line. When it was our turn to pay, the lady manning the booth looked at us and said something in Thai. We had to ask her what she just said. “You’re not Thai?” she asked, clearly surprised. “No, we’re from the Philippines.” Sis told her. “Sorry, I thought you two are from Thailand. You don’t pay if you’re Thai.” “It’s okay. We’ve been getting that a lot.” I said. “And you two I saw earlier going around.” “Yeah, we didn’t know there was an entrance fee.” “Very good of you to still pay. Where you two from again?” “Philippines!” My sister and I said in unison. “Filipinos, very good people” The lady told us with a smile. Eat that! I’m a good representative of my country! *Muaha!*