It’s 11:30 am on the start of my second day in Bangkok and surprisingly, I have no jet lag. Could this be from the 4 hour nap I took post check-in to my hostel? Maybe. But maybe I just got lucky. What a whirl wind.
It’s crazy to think that just the other day I was still living in Milan. Funny how distorted time becomes when you jump from countries and cultures. (More thoughts on that to come later). In the meantime, before braving the 98 degree midday sun and almost suffocating in the humidity to finally break out my camera, I thought I’d jot down some of my most prevalent thoughts from my first 24 hours in the city.
5 Thoughts on Bangkok Thus Far-
1. Thailand may be the land of smiles, but it is also the land of sugar.
Mama Mia, they put that stuff in anything and everything. This morning I was eating scrambled eggs with my breakfast and noticed what I thought was the faint hint of maple syrup, strange since I wasn’t eating pancakes or anything requiring it. I mentioned something to one of the Dutch girls eating with me, to which she replied “Oh yes, I noticed that too, I thought it was just the syrup and my butter with my toast.” Ya nope. It’s in your protein too. Good luck here if you are on any remnants of a diet, diabetic or attempting to eat healthy in anyway. (Hint: there’s loads in your “healthy” fruit smoothies here. Condensed milk anyone?). Oddly enough, for once I’m actually craving a salad..
2. How anyone gets anything productive done in this kind of heat/humidity is beyond me.
Compliments to those carrying heavy buckets of food or ice at the markets, you are amazing. Truly.
3. Must. Pack. Lighter.
I do admit, my backpacking trip didn’t stem from the most “kosher” of origins; most people don’t move from one country to another with an intermediate spontaneous, solo backpacking trip through South East Asia for the first time, but I’ll take whatever travel I can get. My point is, even despite purging at least 60% of my belongings before packing, some things I was just not up for the risk of loosing of in my sent luggage. Funny how any material attachment changes when you’re feeling like a pack mule carrying over 35 pounds of stuff through 98 degree humidity at only 7 in the morning (still in yoga leggings and fleece from the cold plane). Although I had already understood this before, say it with me, “less is more.”
4. If you’re a night person, you’ll be glad to see this city is as well.
I don't know if it’s just because my brain seems to actually wake up in the evenings so that’s when I feel more “alive” or if there is just something so much more magnifying and intensified about a city you can see pulse at night. I’m not just talking about the obvious Las Vegas-esche night strip of Khao San Road, walking through that place at night is what I imagine crack must be like, but I’m talking about the parts you see come alive when you wander down a side street or back alleyway (sorry Mom, but don’t worry I was not alone). Getting away from the chaos of Khao San and even it’s quieter/quainter and cuter counter part Soi Rambutree, we were able to catch a glimpse into the real lives of locals here. I’m not quite sure how to explain it, (I hope I can get some photos sometimes this week), but seeing the quaint entrances to the cottages lining the backstreets, all the tiny details of their shrines, stray cats running around, the white noise of old television sets polluting the rare quiet, small street food carts, a dimly lit street lamp every half block. It was different. It was real and surreal.
5. You can always find a bit of home anywhere you go.
This can be a song you love and hear on the streets (looking at you 90’s hip hop music blasting from the rooftop bars), a fellow patriot, witty conversations with a sarcastic British traveler, a group of funny Irish girls you shared a taxi with from the airport, your Dutch dorm mate who you can’t stop laughing with at 4 am over her tiny toothpaste, or an eccentric middle aged British man in a 7/11 at one in the morning. “There’s a little bit of love to be shared wherever you go” he smiled and yelled at us over the short stocked walls of the chips isle, “right here,” he winks and pats his heart. And it’s true. You don’t even have to look that hard for it, just be open and it’ll will find you.
So that's it for now! More to come later. Until then, I’m going to enjoy my third, sugary coconut slushy. Mmhh.
Photo story to come, in the meantime check out some snaps on the Instagram page: @theartoflost and Facebook: www.facebook.com/theartoflost