Sunday, 14 May 2017

#22 Thailand part 1: Y u no boyfrand?

Travel is a real and expensive addiction. It might actually be cheaper to have a habit. Not only does flying make me incredibly happy, the feeling of freedom you get when you can fit everything you need into your backpack, is the best high in the world.

On the last day in Kirtipur my curiosity got the better of me and I woke up early to have a nosey at a prayer/singing group I had been able to hear from my room every day for the five weeks I stayed at Ganga didis. 

Once that scratch was itched I went to school as usual and taught two lessons. After school the teachers gave me a tikka (a blessing where you put red powder on someones forhead) and we said our farewells. One of the younger students, Sanju, gave me a brass bracelet which was engraved with the name of a Hindu goddess for good luck.

Ganga didi then took me to the highest temple in Kirtipur and we sat together and admired the view until it was time for me to get a taxi to the Quest headquarters.

I was feeling very ready to leave Nepal and getting quite excited about travelling somewhere new. For some reason I had a good feeling about Thailand. Any previous doubts evaporated and I felt if I went in with the right attitude everything would be fine.

After a surprisingly good sleep for the night before an international flight, Salve's husband dropped me off at the airport and everything went smoothly from then on. Customs was quick and easy and on the first leg of the journey to Delhi I sat next to a Nepali Buddhist student and his American wife.

We had one of those 'everything that's wrong with the world' conversations. Now don't get me wrong, I much prefer that over shallow chit chat, but it was all very depressing and I was trying my hardest to keep it appropriately light for conversation with someone I'd just met.

He wasn't having any of it. He continued to tell it like it was and I was very much left with a sense of despair. Of course being a Buddhist student he believed that Buddhism was the answer which was nice and yes, if everyone worked on being a better person of course many of the worlds problems would disappear. If only it was a feasible solution.

Acting locally, thinking globally is really the only thing we can keep reminding ourselves to do as best we can.

After a short stop in Delhi where I bought a Lonely Planet guide to Thailand for the Indian traveller with some left over rupees... (can't wait to see Thailand through the eyes of an Indian tourist...) I arrived in Bangkok around 9pm. 

I had decided this travel thing was getting too easy and I needed a challenge so I hadn't booked any accomodation for the first night. 

Immigration went smoothly to my relief as I didn't have an onward ticket and instead of grilling me about my travel intentions Mr Immigration man only asked how long I wanted to stay and how come I didn't have a boyfriend. 

I was not expecting this question so much in Thailand let alone from the immigration officer! India and Nepal was one thing but I imagined Thailand to be less obsessed with marriage and love.

I told him I didn't want a boyfriend and he grinned back perfectly aware he was being very cheeky.

I supressed my giggles as I collected my bag and made my way to the taxi stand before heading for Khao San Road.

There is a lot of hype around this crazy road and I was looking forward to seeing what it was all about. I had visions of the first few scenes of that Leonardo diCaprio movie The Beach where he does a shot of snakes blood.

It was by now 10pm on Saturday night and I wasn't dissapointed. People were spilling out from every bar and dancing in the street. Vendors were selling buckets of beer for 300 baht and there were people selling scorpions on sticks and every other thing you could imagine. And the heat. Oh the heat. Bangkok is like permanently walking into a fan heater.

I found a cheap and reasonably quiet place to stay and went back out to explore, relishing in the freedom of going outside at night, alone and feel safe. I already knew I was going to love this country.

So good to be back in SE Asia where $8 nzd gets you a good bed for the night and a free breakfast

And $2 nzd gets you a tasty meal!

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