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I always like to BLOG about my trip to Thailand, mostly because it keeps my on task. The country is so beautiful, and there is so much to see and do, but I come here for on primary reason...MUAY THAI. Blogging helps me stay focused on Muay Thai, but also helps me be able to look back at the entire experience.
My first day back in Thailand was a rough one. I always forget how much I absolutely HATE that plane ride until a few days before I depart, and I start stressing over it, making it even worse, because I literally hit my wall in fatigue. By the time I get to Thailand, I am going on 3-4 days with little to no sleep. It gets to the point that I begin hallucinating. Try getting past customs when you are seeing things.
Ultimately I made it to my hotel, but was so wired I couldn’t go to sleep so I got up and went on a walk-about.
This is not the first time I had been to Bangkok, but it is the first time I have been to this part of Bangkok, and it is unlike the rest of the country. It was the wee hours of the morning, and the sun was just beginning to come up.
The area that I am in doesn’t have stores, or restaurants in the traditional sense. Every ten steps it seemed as though there was a stand or a table with an old lady stirring some mystery filled pot of something steaming. I could identify NOTHING that even remotely looked familiar in the bowls of those who were patronizing these places.
I am yet to see another foreigner that resembles me (Caucasian), and thus far, only the person working the front desk at the hotel was able to speak any English, including the driver that picked me up at the airport.
I noticed a lot of activity about a quarter mile ahead, so I head in that direction. I wondered what could be going on at this time of morning. When I got there, I found myself in the middle of an outdoor market where hundreds of people were loading crates of live frogs (Live for the time being), chickens, bugs, fish (Most of which were nothing I had ever seen before), and some menu items that frankly I had no idea what they could possibly be, as they were in the later stages of being chopped up for display.
On more than one occasion, a fish jumped out of the container it was in an on to the ground in front of me, as if trying to escape.
The nets that the frogs were in, contained literally thousands of frogs…all making frog noises.
The smell was overwhelming at times, but the hustle and bustle was so fascinating. Everyone was busy preparing for the day at the market. They weren’t too busy to stop and stare, because I was literally the only non-Asian in the entire place. They would look me up and down, then go back about their business. I had been to open markets before, and there were always a ton of tourists, and the vendors obviously catered to them. This one was different. There was nothing touristy about it at all. I wanted to film what I was seeing, but I just got my new iPhone X, and it just didn’t seem like a neighborhood you want to be flashing your new iPhone X around in…unless I was willing to see it become somebody else’s new iPhone X.
When I finally got so tired I thought I might be able to take a nap, I went back to the hotel room, and nodded off.
That was a big mistake. I was so groggy when it was time to train, but I forced myself out of bed (After all…that is why I came here TO TRAIN MUAY THAY…not to be sleeping in a hotel room).
I stumbled on down to the gym, Muay Thai Academy of Bangkok. I had peeked into the gym earlier in the day, and it was very unimpressive. The gym is situated on the bottom floor of the hotel I am staying in, which made it super convenient, but it is very small. It has two boxing rings that are floor rings, meaning they are not elevated off the floor like I am accustomed to.
When I stopped by earlier, there was literally nobody there, so it isn’t a full-time gym. Training starts at 3:00 pm, and goes until 7:00 pm.
As I walked through the doors this afternoon, however, the place had a completely different look and feel. I was early for class, so one of the trainers told me to start jumping rope. (I hate jump rope, but I obliged). Fatigue seriously slapped me in the face all of a sudden. All those sleepless nights, and jet lag really caught up to me. I started sweating like a dog, and got really light-headed. Nonetheless, I soldiered through it. As more and more people came in, I began shadow sparring with the rest of them. There were some VERY talented people coming through those doors. One after the next, ripped abs and bulging muscles walked in. They ALL had a very high skill level as well. This was like standing among an all-star team of Muay Thai fighters. I, honestly, have never been in a room with more high-level fighters in my life.
The energy level in the room grew with each new fighter. When it came time to do some padwork with my trainer, Lek, I was a bundle of nerves, and excitement. I felt like I did fairly well on pads, but found myself in the corner puking between each round. I was really getting sick, and suddenly realized I had made a crucial error when I first had gotten there. My trainer saw me suffering some effects of the jetlag, and offered me some water. He got it from the well that all the Thai fighters share. NEVER drink from one of those. Unless you are Thai and are used to their water, it will make you violently sick…and this is what was happening with me. I felt the muscles in my back begin to tighten, and everything went blurry. I couldn’t stop dry-heaving and had to sit down. Lek was very understanding, and kept pouring water on my head. He was a super cool guy, and way more understanding than I would have thought.
In the end, I got 5 round of padwork in, and got to sit front row to watch some amazing sparring. I will be back tomorrow with my own water, and hopefully things go a bit better.

Thailand 1 Mike 0.

 

The Author, Mike Stidham, owns and operates the Ultimate Combat Training Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. UCTC offers classes in Boxing, Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, MMA, as well as a wide range of Fitness classes to Men, Women, Children, groups, and private lessons.



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