Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Greetings from Thailand

Twelve hours is a long time to be on a bus. Especially after a full day of stress, only half a night’s sleep and a 45 minute taxi drive at eight in the morning. But I signed up for that option (instead of a plane) because it allowed me ample time to stare out the window at the Thai countryside.

Yeah, I’m in Thailand. O_o

My brain is still processing the abrupt switch of cultures—neither my own—so my blog post today will be scattered at best. Right now I’m impressed by the world’s bigness and my smallness and the remarkable similarities between cultures. Mountains are mountains, trees are trees, buses are buses, and—as always—people are people.

But Thai people are excessively nice. They love to help you, even if there’s no reason to. I must have asked to borrow ten different peoples’ cell phones and no one hesitated to start dialing the number I showed them on my palm. I didn’t even need to ask a couple people and they just started to call for me. Also, they get to ride on top of service vehicles and it seems like everyone and their pet dog (full size dogs, too! Not just the little toys they have in Korea) seems to own a moped.

Also, Thai goods are cheap. My 45 minute taxi ride cost about $6. My train ticket across the entire country cost about $12. A good meal is $2, tops.

Finally, Thai land is green and gold. A lot of it is brown, too, of course, because it’s dry here right now. But the grass—and let’s not underestimate the beauty and homeyness of having grass!—is practically neon with healthy green color. Occasionally some tall spire or statue of Buddha will jut through the roadside foliage in a shocking display of gold.

Maybe I’ll write more coherently tomorrow. The last twenty-four hours included Busan subways—Shanghai layovers—an overnight in the squalor of Bangkok—every Thai city between Bangkok and Chiang Mai—Thai bathrooms (more, obviously, on that later)—and Chiang Mai where it’s idyllic and, as yet, virtually unknown.

 Blessings, my friends.
Welcome to Chiang Mai. Leave your flip-flops at the door.


  1. Oh Goodness...I have a lot to look forward to!

  2. Excellent reporting, as usual. Thanks, Ms. Schnabel, and Merry Christmas, too.