Our drive into Pattaya went smoothly, we slept most of the way there, well Brandon did at least. We decided to stay at the Fairtex training facility, since it only maid sense since we would train there that night. We got all checked-in, and met up with our contact, Ted. Ted is an American, now living in Thailand in Pattaya, pretty sure he lives at the Fairtex facility with the fighters. He was here last time we stopped by earlier this year, and he travels around with the fighters when they go to different countries to fight. I’m not sure what his title is, but he has always assured us a warm welcome. Long story short, we get along very well with Ted.
After settling into our “sports” lodging, which is the “low budget” rooms at Fairtex, but they are 2 times as big as our room in Bangkapi, and it has a BUNK BED! haha… So, first things first in Pattaya, we rented our motorbikes and headed straight towards the beach. There is really no better feeling, than speeding through traffic in a foreign country, on a motorbike, next to the beach. I grew up near the ocean, and it is always grounding for me to be able to see the ocean. We grabbed some chairs on the beach, sat back and relaxed with a fresh coconut picked from the trees that lineup along the beach.
It was low-tide when we arrived, and the sandbar went out a good 100 yards. It was very depressing to see the beach that way, seemed very barren and dry. That changed as the afternoon went on and the tide began to rise. I don’t remember the water being this warm either, it felt like a jacuzzi, which was great to sit back in after a hard weeks training.
Before we knew it, it was time to head back to the Fairtex facility for the afternoon training session. I was lucky enough to have torn my blister open the previous day, and suffered throughout training. It happens every time I come out here, but this one actually started to bleed, and I could only describe the pain, as a nagging throb. It wouldn’t have been so bad if this were on my front( left ) foot, as a lot of the power you generate comes from the back foot… Luckily I had the same trainer as I had last time I was out here in Pattaya. He was very understanding, and of course made fun of the weight I had gained since the last time he saw me. As he would put it, “Last time you small, this time you big. What happen?”. I like to think that I held my weight well since I haven’t been able to train much in the past 4 months due to an Achilles and knee injury.
The training at Fairtex is a bit different from Sasiprapa, 4 minute rounds, the trainers speak more English( not necessarily a better thing ), an interesting mixture of fighters and people just looking to get into shape, and Mr. Wong of Fairtex watching on from a distance….and world champions training in the ring across from you.
After a nice limp to our room, and a cold shower, we decided to go eat out. Luckily, I remembered where Savoey was at. Savoey is probably one of the best places to get seafood here in Pattaya, and I made a mental note of where it was at, after our last trip where we drove around for 2 hours trying to find it. My mental note was correct, we and made it to Savoey ladyboy-free.
Just like last time I was here, the same thing happened, and we ended up with too much food on the table. I just remember Brandon and I still looking at the menu, and before we asked Roy if he was ready to order, he had given a slew of orders already. I’m not complaining though, this is some of the best seafood I’ve had, and it’s a proper welcome to Pattaya for Brandon.
After grinding through our seafood feast, we decided to go check out some of the night Bazaars here in Pattaya. I’ve managed to get some decent bootleg underwear and t-shirts last time, and we hoped to do the same this time.
But you have to be careful in these places though, because you might turn your head and run into one of these things!
Yes, they are EXACTLY what you think they are for.
After some shopping, we headed back to our room at Fairtex, and slept in for the first time on our trip. Which is a good thing to do on our day off from training. Not to mention, waking up to a breakfast buffet at Fairtex…..no wonder everyone made fun of Roy and I when we stayed in Bangkapi last time, and they stayed at Fairtex. While we were eating eggs and rice, they were eating custom made omlettes, french toast, cereal, fresh cut fruit, sausage, fresh toast, jam and pretty much every breakfast food you can imagine. I decided I would never come train here for a fight, as I would probably end up too fat and lazy.
On the drive back from Pattaya, I got to know our driver a little bit. His name is Mr. Chai, and Mr. Chai has an extensive history of boxing and Muay Thai stored in his brain. Luckily he speaks enough English to share it with me, while Brandon and Roy were sleeping in the back seats. We were also able to exchange cultural differences as well. Apparently, Hollywood’s image of gangsters and guns has really made Mr. Chai believe that it was easier to get weapons in the US than here in Thailand. According to Mr. Chai, we could head up to the Cambodian border, and buy an M16 from Cambodian soldiers for about 4,000 baht, which is about $120 USD, and apparently that is expensive according to Mr. Chai.
So, after a 2 hour storytelling/car drive, we made it back to Bangkapi. Surprisingly, I felt at home once we arrived to our room here in Bangkapi. I say surprisingly because it never felt like home before, maybe it’s because we constantly have to take an elevator up to our room, similar to my apartment back home. Either way, we made it back in one piece.
Roy and Brandon stayed up late last night to watch the World Cup finals, it started at 1:30 am here. I opted to sleep early and get up for a long jog this morning, which I did! I’m not able to train today due to that gnarly blister on the bottom of my foot, as running probably wasn’t the best thing for it either. Open wounds in a Muay Thai gym here in Thailand is just asking for a nice infection.
Anyways, I’m down here in the small cafe at the hotel and just finished up breakfast( eggs and rice ), and I’m going to head upstairs to see if I can’t wake-up Brandon and Roy. We had a pair of custom trunks made for all of us, and we have to pick them up at the store we designed them at. 550 baht for a pair of custom trunks, doesn’t get much less expensive than that!
Hope all is well back home!