This weekend was a lot less adventurous than my birthday weekend but it was still a lot of fun. Saturday morning my project team had a site visit that we had to leave for at 7:30 (which is even earlier than we have to be at work on the weekdays), so that was a bummer. However, the site visit went extremely well. We were able to meet with Boonharn Ou-Udomying, the executive director of the largest tire reclaiming company in Thailand. He made a presentation, we interviewed him, and then he showed us around the factory and testing lab. It was very informative and pertinent to our project plus we were able to get a lot of good pictures (which can be seen on our project website here). We found out that there are actually closer to 400,000 tons of waste tires produced annually in Thailand, which is much closer to our own estimates then the 85,000 number that we were given. We also learned that there are in fact no regulations specifically regarding waste tire management, and Mr. Boonharn (Thai’s are always referenced by their first name) has been trying for 10 years to basically convince the Thai government that these types of laws are needed. This was both encouraging and discouraging because it shows the importance of implementing regulations but a the same time, they have already been trying for 10 years so will a student research project really influence the process, probably not.
After our site visit we returned to Bangkok (the company was about 45 min away) and went to Siam Paragon (one of the many malls in the immediate area) and ate lunch with our Thai partners. Now I am going to sidetrack a little bit and talk about all of the malls in Bangkok. So many of the malls here are the most elaborate, expensive, fabulous malls I have ever seen. I’m not even sure where to start. But one of the coolest designed malls (for lack of a better term) is Terminal 21. It has an airport theme but every floor/section is decorated as different places from all of the world. It is hard for me to describe how truly amazing it is and the level of detail they put in to it. For example, every bathroom is decorated to the theme and every single one is different. We had to walk into everyone we saw just to take it out (I am going back some days to just take pictures because it’s that cool)! I can’t even imagine trying to focus on trying to shop there because I couldn’t do anything besides look around at all of the amazing architecture and design. There is even a very inexpensive food area with great food. So on the top floor of this high end, literally jaw-dropping mall, is a place to get dinner and desert for only a few dollars, doesn’t seem quite right to me but that is Bangkok for you.
I could go on about all of the mind-blowing malls here for pages but I’m not going to do that right now. But for any of my shopaholic blog readers, you should check out these malls too. Siam Center is new and the only way I can think to describe it is modern meets industrial meets pottery barn. I absolutely love the interior design (and really can’t wait for my pottery barn-loving mother to see it)! There is also Siam Discovery and MBK as I mentioned before, all within a half mile. And there are a countless number of malls in other nearby areas.
So before sidetracked to the insanity of which is malls in Bangkok, I was talking about what I did on Saturday. After lunch (and ice cream) with my project group, all of us WPI students went back to the hotel to nap (one of my favorite past times). After laying in bed and sleeping/ talking to Taylor and my roommate Mary for hours, we finally decided to get up and get dinner. We went to the pizza place (yes real pizza) next door and had a delicious barbeque chicken and onion pizza that was made in a brick oven (my stomach is grumbling now just thinking about it). After that Trevor, Bryan, Taylor, Mary and I went to Royal City Avenue, which is a big nightlife and clubbing street. We put on our dancing shoes and went to a club called route 66, it was fun to finally be able to dance here.
The next day (after finally getting to sleep in for the first time in weeks) Trevor, Taylor, Mary and I left around noon for a day of shopping at markets. We first went to Chatuchak Market aka JJ Market, which is probably the most famous weekend market in Bangkok. This website says it is 35 acres, has 8,000 market stalls and on a typical weekend, more than 200,000 visitors. But surprisingly the only thing I bought after hours of looking around was food. This is becoming a trend for me in Bangkok because I feel like there are so many things I could buy but I just get so overwhelmed by the sheer amount of possibilities and end up not buying anything (except like I said, food).
Later that night we headed to Asiatique, which we were falsely under the impression was an inexpensive night market, but was really what has been described as “Disney’s version of a Thai bazaar”. It reminded me of a place you would find in Epcot or downtown Disney (so naturally I loved it). Once again, it is hard for me to describe but basically you take a water taxi down the main river in Bangkok and go to this place with shopping and tons of restaurants. This is definitely something I put on this list to do with my mom, Michael, and Griffin (especially since they are more willing to spend money than some of my other travel companions).
So that was basically my weekend, and now I am back to another week of (extremely boring) work. Honestly I am just so sick of waste tires at this point (but hopefully this feeling will go away soon). I just really look forward to my nights and weekends and all of the fun they bring! As Claire said, when I’m 40 I’m not going to remember all of the work I did on this project, but instead the amazing experiences I am having and the many friends that I am making.
Until next time, sawatdii kha!