Day 2: First Taste of Thailand - Bangkok, Thailand - September 15, 2010
Over 18 hours from deafening plane to another, it's still surreal that I even made it here. Ann was out by 4am to be a working woman in the city, so I was left with my substitute tour guide, Bo. She happens to be Ann's bestfriend, a quirky foodie who's not as bubbly but just as funny. She calls from my room quite early in the morning, as I'm lying there trying to figure out where I am. The early bird Asian lifestyle is something I learn that becomes extra important later on. Bo informs me she's showing me the tourist hot spots of downtown Bangkok. She tells me that it's almost 100 degrees outside, so I get the pre-warning that I pay for when we get there. By the time we start walking towards the Royal Palace, I realize everyone is walking around in umbrellas shielding their fair skin from the extra hot UV rays. It was really really friggin' scorching hot. The Palace was quite an architectural masterpiece of gated beauty. I could tell the Thais are very skilled and meticulous in their construction of what is great and graceful. I especially notice this too in the king and queen, who's mythical faces are plastered all over the city in their honor.
I snap my camera at literally every building, every living thing, and every alleyway of hidden silence. Bo thought my touristy tendency was silly, but on my first trip ever to Southeast Asia, I didn't care. I wanted to capture everything I saw. But then my battery died quicker and I found myself running into walls of people because I couldn't catch up with the chaos of Bangkok life. "Hold tight to your purse", Bo would tell me. After dying of sweat and heat in the noon hours, we made our way towards a noodle shop with air conditioning, woo hoo! We chow down on some generous amounts of yellow curry noodles and 'som tom' papaya salad.
By sun down, we make our first round to the night market of a gazillion clothing and gadget boutiques. I become amazed at all the things I drool for and what it would mean if I had all the money in the world. I see the East Asian influence, specifically K-Pop has made its impact on the typical Thai teenager. There's this phenomenon of the "Big Eyes" they call it...it's contact lens that make your pupil appear bigger like a Barbie doll. Quite crazy, but they love how doll-like and extra cute it makes them look. I watch as a flow of uniformed school kids rush pass me to find their daily purchase of fun slowly people watch as we window shop. The giggles and slang I've never heard of makes me smile. I think about the life of a city girl...how they must be bombarded with constant materialism and pursuit of pure beauty...how this could all feel normal to me. But I remember that I grew up in the U.S. and just thankful that I was given a choice to live the way I wanted.
Ann gets off and we make our way to a glamorous shopping mall, called The Siam Shopping something...can't really recall. Burberry, Louis Vuitton, Dolce & Gabanna...high end brand name stores set up across a magnificent white marbled floor and high glass ceilings. But then I glance over to sweet smells of a dessert shop and make a full-on eating binge. We meet up with some of her friends for suki dinner...then get our great cookout eatfest in that I find in later weeks, all Thai and Lao have a passion for. Thai food tastes so much better in Thailand :). I listen to the new Thai chitchat. It's definitely not the simple language used in 'lakorn' aka Thai drama shows. It's more of a fast-acting slang language that is pretty funny and I become amused by it. Exhaustion takes over in time to get back to Ann's house and I look forward to our next two days in Chiang Mai.
>>>Check out the link for my Thailand photo album on Facebook: Taking in Thailand