Last night Marc and I went to see Muay Thai (which is Thai Boxing) at the Rajadamnern Stadium. I took a bunch of pictures, some of which can be seen here (they are a bit grainy due to the lighting). I also took some great video, but I haven't figured out how to convert it to something I can add to the web site. (Does anyone know how to do this?)
The boxing was crazy - similar to what you might see on those Ultimate Fighting Championship shows, but definitely more violent than most of the matches I have seen. The boxers are small, but completely ripped (the highest weight class we saw was 142 pounds, but most were between 101 - 118 pounds).
Prior to the match each boxer dances around the ring and prays at each corner (at which point Lefty and I picked our fighter for our per match 20 Baht bet). Once the bell rung it was on and no holds barred: they punched, kicked, elbowed, head-butted, everything. The referee only broke things up when they grabbed on to the ring ropes for leverage or someone fell down. The matches last 5 rounds and then a winner is declared. The most common move seems to be a high knee to the rib cage, followed closely by a high knee to the groin. We didn't see anyone get knocked out (some blood here and there), so I'm not sure how often that happens.
The crowd goes crazy, yelling with each blow and gambling on the matches. Marc and I paid 800 Baht and were in the second level (but we could basically spit on the ring). Most of the locals were in an upper level that was caged in that cost 500 Baht. We saw one fight in the stands that involved about 20 people. When the "police" (and I use that term loosely) went to break it up, they started pushing around the police! Then everyone went outside to _____________ (fill in the blank with god knows what!)
After the fights, we tried to get a taxi home, but none of the cabs wanted to drive us with the meter running. In Bangkok, the cabbies always try to rip you off by telling you the meter is broken and then charging you a lot for your rides. When using the meter most cab rides are really cheap. Since our adrenalin was running anyways, we eventually found a tuk tuk to take us home. A tuk tuk is an open air moped with a caboose-type thing to hold a few passengers. It is called a tuk tuk because that is the sound the engine makes ("tuktuktuktuk"). They get going pretty fast and with all the other cars and motorcycles whipping by, it is definitely a crazy ride!
This weekend I am going to travel around and see some of the sites outside of Bangkok. Depending on where I am, I might not be able to post until I get back. Have a great weekend!