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Today is my last day in Bangkok. I’m super excited to see my friends in Phuket, but sort of sad to leave this gym. I really love the people here.
I love the rich Thai culture that Bangkok has. It differs vastly from the laid back culture in Phuket. Bangkok is on your face, and fast, while Phuket is more laid back and chill. I should say that the area in which I stay, Chalong, is laid back. Patong is more like Bangkok, but much, much slower.
Before leaving for the airport, I decided that I would get one last private training session in before I left. I decided I wanted to spend some time with the Boxing coach at MTA as I had watched him teach a few privates, and he is REALLY good. I would say that I am on par with most Thais in regard to boxing. This is something that most would say is their weak point. Not at this gym. They were all exceptional boxers, which is a true testament to him.
His name is Hamze, and he is Iranian. He speaks beautiful English, and pretty damn good Spanish. His Thai is on point, and obviously he speaks Persian and Arabic. He is an interesting character for sure. He has some pretty strong opinions about Donald Trump, and was surprisingly well read on American politics. He is convinced Trump will win re-election. He made a pretty compelling argument as to why, but I will save political conversations for YOUR page.
My shoulders were stiff as a board when I woke up this morning as a result of all of that clinching training we did yesterday. I could barely scratch my head. I decided I should head down to the gym a half hour before my scheduled private, just to get the blood flowing, and work the stiffness out.
When Hamze showed up, I was dripping with sweat. I hadn’t realized, but I had gotten into a zone, and a half hour went by before I even knew it, and I was pounding those bags. I felt really good, and was excited for my private. When he walked in, we got right down to business. His boxing acumen is very high. He teaching skills are on that same plane, and he is just a really cool dude. I can see why all the guys like him, and respond to his instruction. I learned a TON from Hamze, and look forward to going back and getting some more amazing training from him.
After our session, I had to hustle to catch my plane to Phuket. I was super excited to see so many friends I have made over the years in Phuket. Leaving Bangkok I was in awe of just how big that city is. To put it into perspective, it has about 2 million MORE people than New York City. It is indeed a concrete jungle with clusters of high rises that seem to never stop. Contrast that with Phuket, which is an actual jungle. Phuket has a population is less than one million, with a ton of lush green jungles and mountains.
When I arrived in Phuket, I was met by my favorite Taxi driver, Apple. She is one of the sweetest people I have met in Thailand, and I have kept in touch with her on Facebook. It was awesome to have her pick me up from the airport.
I normally stay at Signature Hotel on Soi Taied, the street that Tiger Muay Thai is on. I was informed that they were completely booked when I attempted to reserve a room, but they said they had just opened a new property approximately 10 minutes away. This posed a problem for me, as I do not like renting motorbikes in Thailand. Second only to dog bites, motorbikes are responsible for more injuries to foreigners than anything else. Driving in this country is absolutely insane, but I had no choice. I have grown to love the folks at Signature, and would much rather stay at one of their properties than anywhere else.
After checking into my hotel room at the brand new Lake Chalong Hotel which is absolutely gorgeous, and is managed by the same people that I fell in love with at Signature, I set out to get me a scooter. The scooter business is infamously shady in Thailand, so there was only one person I would rent from- and that was the owner of the Boss Café…who also happens to rent motorbikes. She is another super sweet person that absolutely LOVES my son. She calls me Papa, and is somebody I completely trust.
With my new scooter in hand, I set out to do what was my foremost reason for coming back to Thailand this year.
Those of you who had followed my exploits last time I came, know that a little girl almost died while she was in my care. I organized a Gofundme for her, and was fortunate enough to have some of the most generous friends who tripled our set goal of $1,000.00…thanks in most part to Chris Killillay of Aztec Highway. Chris donated $1,500.00 himself, AFTER he knew that we had reached our goal. He asked that I give it to her in hopes that it will help her get a good education. I sent the other $1,500.00 to her last year. I wanted to personally hand-deliver the money for her education and explain to her what it was for.
I spent the day trying to track her and her family down, as they have moved their business. I think I am hot on their trail, and expect to be able to deliver her money to her tomorrow. Afterward, I am going to Tiger Muay Thai to set up some training sessions.

I’m glad I got that boxing session in this morning, and am eager to get back at it tomorrow.

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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