Thailand Journal 2016-2017 by Veronica
Today began just as yesterday did, with fabulous French press coffee made by Dave and all of us piling into the back of a massive truck. We reached our bird netting sites well before dawn, set up the nets, and waited. Breakfast came in the form of super spicy instant noodles that burned all of our lips. The sunrise was a gentle kind of beautiful; the bluish grey clouds were broken by the occasional stream of red sunlight, which expanded until the whole sky lit up. Soon enough, we got our first birds! By the end of the session, we were all tired of dusky warblers, black-browed warblers, and great reed warblers. A few extraordinary birds showed up, like a brown shrike (that bit its way into a dramatic escape) and a noisy black drongo. After cleaning up the banding operations, we had one final delicious meal with the staff at Bueng Boraphet and set off back to Bangkok. The drive seemed longer than it should have been, but it was by no means boring. The scenery changed from mainly trees to being composed of mostly buildings and shops. Upon arrival at the Fortuna Hotel on Sukhumvit soi 5, we quickly showered the grime of the wetlands off ourselves. Many of the girls decided they wanted to find something nice (and clean) to wear for dinner or the plane ride home, so we ventured out to a few of the shops surrounding the hotel. Dinner was a last hurrah for the whole group. Dave and Francie took us to their favorite Chinese restaurant in Bangkok, the Great Shanghai, for peking duck. Those who like meat were served all sorts of dumplings, several different preparations of duck, and a seafood rice. The vegetarians enjoyed fried rice, stir fried vegetables, and tofu in a lovely brown sauce. Following dinner, the groups split up a bit. Seven of us went with Pichi to get tattoos. We walked several blocks from the restaurant and went into a small, lively alley. The tattoo shop was tiny; nothing compared to the massive tattoo parlors in the U.S. that have five or six artists working at once. This shop in the little alleyway had only one artist, but his work was exceptional. All of us who got tattoos were very pleased with the results, and happy to have something that can permanently remind us of the wonderful time we had in Thailand. We all strolled back to the hotel together around midnight, then the groups split even further. Some people explored Bangkok a little more. I, being the old soul that I am, decided to hit the hay and mentally prepare myself for the excitement of the next day.