I am HERE!
Bangkok Travel Blog› entry 4 of 18 › view all entries
WARNING: LONG ENTRY AHEAD
I cannot believe it! I am sitting, struggling through the letters on a Thai/English keyboard IN THAILAND! The entire . . . i don't even know what to call it...is so . . . sureal is the only thing that comes to mind. For many (some) of you reading this, travelling is a regular part of your life, for me it is not. I am so out of my comfort zone and yet LOVING IT! Seriously, of course, I have been here less than 24 hours so it may wear off.
Ok, so recap so far (no pics yet, sorry): The flights were wonderful! My friend Trino took me to the airport bright and early, they questioned my passport since it had me with long hair AND the woman actually recognized I had lost weight. My trip to ATL was no biggie. I was so nervous about my trip to Tokyo from ATL though. More than 14 hours! Why do I make plans in advance though< I mean seriously. Ya'll know I brought books, an ipod, magazines, sudoku, NONE OF got done. LOL I read like 70 pages of my book total and only got through two of my magazines. My friend Eddie was excited that I will be leaving them with him though. The rest of the time I wrote some, I watched movies--holy mackarel, movies aren't all that bad! There was a family with a baby onboard. I felt so sorry for that baby, his ears must've been popping something dreadful because he cried the entire time. He was not near enough me to give him any toys to play with and his ignorant mom had only a pacifier. Oh well.
Once in Tokyo, my eyes began to open. I flew into Narita. Huge friggin airport for sure! And little I could find was in english. Someone tell me "You go here to this number for this number terminal then go to this number gate." Uh...excuse me, that's so many numbers to remember. And of course, me looking all cool refused to write it down. However, upon looking at my confused little face, she gave me a paper with things circled, highlighted and underlined to get there. One slight issue--it wasn't all accurate. I found it with plenty of time to spare. The woman working Thai Airways was so pleasent, and in spite of that, it took several minutes for me to figure out how to communicate I needed to check in, not check luggage. Great, they want my luggage but not me in the country! They KNOW! After I safely checked in, I went to find a bathroom because, well, I wanted to see what it looked like. Very clean and elegant looking bathroom. That is what strikes me most about Asia so far, it is all so elegant. I then proceeded to purchase a cherry coke, but in Japanese writing because...well, because I could. Lucky for me, they took US currency, not just Yuen.
Fast forward to the flight: MAGNIFICENT! American airline industry could learn something most definitely. The attendants looked like they were so excited to be tending to us. Drinks were free, though I refrained from anything stronger than a glass of juice (which was a different experience as well). Our first snack was some kind of Asian rice blend thing. The kind with Wasabi peas--John, you would've liked it! Our meal was so gourmet by my standards: A smoked salmon salad was our first course followed by prawn curry and fresh fruit wrapped up with some kind of dessert. It was all so good. The entire time, the attendants kept coming up and down the aisle asking if we need anything, drinks, etc.
Now at the Bangkok airport, the world's largest in fact, I am so overwhelmed. Fatigue is creeping in, the enormity of my journey is making my head hurt and I just realized my phone will not work here until I buy my new SIM card. This leaves me with essentially no way to call Eddie. The woman on teh plane offered to call for me, but I lost her in the massive crowd since I needed to go to immigration and she did not. I walk for what seems a 5K adventure ( later learned it was only 3.7K) to go through Immigration with a breeze. I waited for an eternity for my checked luggage then headed to Customs where I simply walked through the lines that say "Nothing to claim." I felt like a rock star because they have like a railing holding hudreds of people back--what a greeting, all this for me!? (and the few THOUSANDS of my friends behind me). Trepidation suddenly overwhelms me, then I realize, I have 100 BHT and an address, that is enough to get me to Eddie's apartment. Suddenly, I feel two hands sternly grabbing my arms from behind. HEre we go...turn around and it is Eddie. Within minutes, he found me, HOW!? THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! We go to his friend B, whom I met while in Dallas/Ft. Worth, and then begin the adventure to his apt. The garage was so huge! Several stories, the drivers are insane and the city was dark. Apparently, due to so many people (10 million) living in such small area, they have energy crisis so they turn their downtown city sky scraper lights off at night to conserve energy. How smart!? Rather unimpressive to look at, but intelligent none-the-less.
Ok, so now we are at Eddie's apartment either in Sailom District off of Sailom or on Sailom--he tried to explain it but I was dead to the world and so overwhelmed. Thank you Crystal for telling me to observe the smells because they are so distinct. His apt. is "upscale" because the area is so safe (thanks!!) and yet so small. Seriously, smaller than my garage and 200 USD/month. I learned many graduates make only 100-200 US/month in the years after COLLEGE graduation. He changes then we head to walk around. There are, at midnight, people on the streets cleaning, sweeping with the coolest loking broom, and selling foods. I have been warned to NOT eat certain things on the street unless a bathroom is near. B and Eddie gave me the insider rundown. Unfortunately, fruit is on this list. But it looks SO good! After a quick walk, we go back to his place where I proceed to shower for bed. There is no hot water. No, I don't mean like when someone has used it all, I mean he has no hot-water heater. Well, it's ok, it is so hot and humid here, it was a relief to be in cold water. I left my shampoo in my bag thinking he would have some in the shower, right? Well...I totally did NOT anticipate NOT being able to read that it was shampoo. So I set to squirting various liquids on my hair figuring something MAY wash out the wax, if not, oh well. Turns out, he didn't have any shampoo in there anyway but my hair got the buffet of body cleansers!
OK, this brings me to now which is 10:20 a.m. on Wednesday. Originally, we were going to go to Loei, but of course that got changed. Then we were going to go out to the night market, but that got changed. So instead, today I am on my own for entire day. OY VEY! I coudl NOT sleep lastnight, and yet managed to be awake by 6:30 this morning. After taking my second cold shower, I went with Eddie to his work so I could "learn the subway" which is actually above ground, but whatever. Ok, here's a tip kids, the chicago and DC sub systems scare me! This one goes so far beyond that! The smells on the streets were so overwhelming in a good way. Evey few steps it was another smell greeting my nose. We ate some BBQ pork, aroy MAK MAK! (very good). I had to pass up the fresh mango and pineapple til my stomach gets used to the bacterias here (scary anyone?) Eddie told me to keep going when I looked at some pens/pencils--I made note to return later today. It is so much to take in. So much. we got to the subway and I bought a month pass, it is good for 30 days or 30 trips, whichever comes first. I've already used two and see two more before the day is over at least. It was only...oh shit, I think 100 BHT, I forget. So we go to the building he works, he is trying to teach me everything on the way, I am so overwhelmed, but not scared so much anymore. Everyone LOOKS so nice, and there is some english--the map is bilingual sorta, as are the subway signs. That's about it. But enough for me. We get to his building and then walk around a mall. Everyone is doing this before going to work. I guess it's just the way. I got lost in the damn galeria, of course. Then we walk back and at the entrance to his building he says "ok...I will see you tonight about 11, take care and call me if you get lost" EXCUSE ME? This is it? Yes, I can do it...I turn around and begin walking in the direction of the train. I bought some water at 7-11 simply to have my first solo-thai purchase over and resume walking. I nearly got run over by two cars simultaneously. I found my way back, using the train and go to an INternet Cafe. Of course the Internet is not working. So I order a coffee, pay something for it and sit down to figure out what I am going ot do today...like I know anyway. I decide to make sure I can find Eddie's apt. and I do. Just before the entrance is a copy-shop with, you guessed it INTERNET! And now here I am. Sitting and typing. It is 10:30 now and I am beginning to feel jtlag setting in. I do not want to sleep to force myself to get on thai time, but I may go take a nap in a few minutes. For a little bit at least. Then wake up and go to Siam market--biggest in world. No way, that's somthign Chit, the other way, or was it...hmm, looks like a few adventures are still in store for me, what do you think?
LOVE YOU ALL! Miss being able to pick up phone and talk to you, but it'll be worth it! I will give you my # probably on Friday when I get one. I hope you have a WONDERFUL thanksgiving and have some turkey for me! I will have som tum for you!
MOM AND DAD: I MISS YOU!!! Thanks for giving me such a great foundation to do this!