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Bangkok: Friday

posted Jun 10, 2012, 10:19 PM by jj pionke
This entire trip around the world has been about weird luck and Friday's flight to Bangkok was no different.  We were delayed coming out of the gate (sound familiar?) and finally got underway.  Immigration in Bangkok was a nightmare of epic proportions.  By the time I got through, I was hurting pretty badly, still, I was determined to go do something.  I got to the hotel, on the opposite side of the city of where I thought it was and not in a great neighborhood (relax, nothing bad happened to me, it just made me a bit nervous and was a pain in the rear to get to).  I had some dinner, dropped off everything in the room and then got a taxi to a Muay Thai stadium.  Remember what I said about weird luck?  Friday night's boxing was a super match, there were 5 champions in various bouts as well as the best fighter in Thailand there for a title bout...which meant that I saw some really great boxing and it cost twice as much as I had expected (3000 baht, about $100USD for a ringside seat).  After standing for hours to get through immigration, there was no way I could stand for 5 hours of boxing so I had to pay for a ringside seat which was pretty much all white people.  I sat next to a very nice young Canadian man who had boxed a bit but had bruised up his ribs so he was taking a break from Muay Thai. 

The boxing was fascinating honestly.  Here you can watch the opening ceremony before each fight.  Over here, you can watch a pair of fighters go at it (these two in particular were fairly vicious with each other, though not so much in this clip - the next round was pretty spectacular).

The opening fight was an exhibition match I think.  I don't think that the two fighters were 18, but of course, there was no way I could ask anyone how old they were.  Still, they weren't an official match on the roster and the stadium was pretty empty at that point.  This young man won.  He was confident in his abilities though not necessarily in strategy as he kept looking to his coach for guidance.  I rather liked this kid actually and am glad that he won.

1st fighter

Here is the fighter that is the grand champion and it was easy to see why.  He favored more boxing than kicking, but his kicking was spectacular.  He was confident to the point of arrogance which intimidated his opponent.  Here he is after he won the match with his family and supporters.  I was seated right next to the holding area for them.

best fighter in Thailand, he's in red

Overall, I am glad that I went.  I had a very good time, even though I had a bit of sticker shock.  The roar of the crowd was fascinating as was the betting and the smell of the liniment.  I didn't know much about the sport but my Canadian seatmate helped explain some of the rules so it was easier to understand why the fighters did what they did.  There was plenty of drinking and gambling and so forth.  I limited myself to bottled water and soda as being safe things to drink plus, I wanted to keep my wits about me to be able to get back to the hotel. 

I got back to the hotel with a minimum of fuss and took a shower...which is interesting when you are trying to not let the water get into your mouth because no one drinks the tap water there as it's gonna get you sick.  To say that Bangkok is a filthy city is putting it mildly.



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