When I left San Francisco, I hadn't cracked the cover of my guidebook. Here is a picture of my parents and me before I left. Unfortunately, you can tell from the picture how my parents felt about this course of non-action by their weirdo daughter. (The backpack I am wearing in the picture has everything I have with me - I love having just a few things!)
Despite explicit concern from my parents, I felt pretty good about the natural unfolding of my trip, and so with only a little guilt, I watched 4 movies on the 12 hour flight to Korea instead of reading about Thailand, since I had in fact booked my first night's hotel.
With plenty of time to spare on the flight between Korea and Bangkok I looked at the map of Bangkok and figured out how much a taxi should cost in Bhat. It all worked out perfectly and in my travel delerium at 1am local time I practiced the pronunciation of street names with my first friend and taxi driver in Thailand.
So here I am on my second morning, practicing listening to myself and evolving my trip accordingly. What feels gentle and kind now? This morning I woke up without an alarm at 5:30am and did yoga and meditated in my room until 6:30am and then went to breakfast where I lingered over eggs, a chinese steemed cabbage and carrot dish with rice and watermelon and papaya. I then went to the pool and read until I felt like swimming. I swam laps for 45min and then cleaned up and went out to lunch.
At lunch I met my new friend Shantanu, a massage therapist / IT specialist / vegitarian cook / amateur asrologist from Delhi. We had a lovely conversation that sparked the following sketch in my journal. The chilli peppers in the picture were not from the conversation - those are a reminder that when the waitress says "one? two Chillies?" she is not asking you about the American scale of hotness (e.g. mild / medium) she is asking about the number of whole chilli peppers I would like diced into my papaya salad. I can confirm that I am not man enough for 2 - it was rough...
The area around my hotel is called Banglamphu and is in many endearing ways aptly termed a "tourist ghetto". At night, it is equally lively and yesterday evening I parked myself at a colorful little table where I could watch people go by and these lovely lanterns blowing in the breeze.
So much food everywhere at all times of day
Yesterday I made friends with a tuk tuk driver (like the Indian autorickshaws) and we spent most of the day together. We made a deal that benefitted both of us.
I loved this school bus! Also, my tuk tuk friend and I went to a Wat and saw this giant standing buddha.