One last long weekend, before home

So it’s my last few weeks in Thailand. My fiancé has headed home and I need to wrap up a few loose ends before leaving my place of residence for the past several months.

Photo by Brian Brindza

Photo by Brian Brindza

After a somewhat crazy work week I wanted a little time to relax and see a last little bit of Thailand before returning to the states. We had another extended weekend due to the Kings birthday and some of the Thai sales team asked me to go on a camping trip with them to Kanchanaburi, a province in west Thailand. They described it as a very beautiful area with huge lakes and giant waterfalls, so it should be perfect place for my final adventure. We headed out and after getting lost for an hour, found the camp grounds. Since it was the Kings birthday and a prime time of year to be camping, the place was packed.

This was unlike any camping I’ve ever done. The campsite was next to an amazing waterfall with unbelievable views of the lakes and mountains below. Everyone wanted to camp in one central location so it became a little cramped, like being at Banaroo or any other music festival they allow you to camp at. The landscape and scenery made the cramped quarters all worth it though. The night was dedicated to honoring the King on his 87th birthday with everyone wearing yellow and singing the Kings songs as well as the national anthem.

Rama IX has been King for almost 70 years and is beloved by his people. It is very interesting to experience the differences in how the U.S. as a nation views the person in our position of president versus the way Thailand views their King. This man is truly and universally loved. There is a very united front when it comes to the King of Thailand.

After a night of celebrating and cooking out we got some rest for the next day. We enjoyed some time in nature and found a few waterfalls to go swimming in and even one that we could jump off of!

After a full day of fun in the sun we packed up and headed to the town of Kanchanaburi, the capital of the province. Luckily they were having the River Kwai Bridge Festival. It’s this huge event with street food, shows and carnival rides. The highlight of the festival is the sound and light show that tells the history of the Death Railway, the Hellfire Pass and the Bridge on the River Kwai. It was a very interesting history lesson in the how the bridge was used in WWII to transport POWs. Although it was a very theatrical presentation of what is really a somber story, it was a great end to a full and experiential weekend.

We headed back to Bangkok so I could have time to pack up and get ready to head home to Chicago. Leaving Bangkok will be bitter sweet. I get to go home and see friends and family but I’m also leaving this amazing country that I’ve grown to love.

My time spent in Asia has been transformational and moving in so many ways. I’ve grown up a little and found out a few things about myself on this trip that make me a stronger person. Fumbling my way through a foreign country all alone has been an eye opener to me; it has shown me humility and respect, for culture and life. I’m sad to be leaving but I know some day I’ll be back. Who knows maybe I’ll come live and work here some day? Maybe?!

Posted in: Chef Brian Culinary Exchange

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