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Published: February 13th 2013
Photo on 2013-02-14 at 00.54
Me and Jake at our guest house in Chiang Mai, 1am
Trials and tribulations of a first time traveler
When first arriving to another country you have to assume that not everything is going to go smoothly no matter how much you try. Then again if you don’t try very hard your chances increase. The first of many hick-ups upon my arrival in Bangkok was my lack of attention to detail. The night prior I mapped out our course for when we got off the plane. It looked something like this, take taxi to train station, sleep somewhere, get on train next day.
As we sat in the back seat of the taxi repeating the word “train” over and over to the driver who had no idea what we were saying, I was kicking myself for not writing down the name of the train station. Or for that matter the word “train” in Thai. Mistake #1. After getting out of the cab defeated by the language barrier, we sat on a bench to regroup and figure our shit out. When you get into a city at 1am there is a sense of urgency to get to somewhere, anywhere. 2 hours later we found ourselves a hostel and the most deliciously cold shower I have ever experienced. And that is saying something considering I once lived without hot water for a good year and a half.
Lots of lessons to be learned on day 1. The 2nd being to speak with confidence. What’s the point of me having learned Thai if I am too timid to try it? Looking at Jacob I said “should I test out my language skills? “poot pa-sa Ang-krit dai mai ka?” meaning; do you speak English was merely a conversation starter that I couldn’t bring myself to ask the taxi driver. What if he says no? End of conversation. Fail…. But as day 2 rolled around we realized we needed to get with the program because we aren’t going to get anywhere not asking questions. Turns out I’m good at this shit! Winning.
Side note, let me say something about Thai people. They are fearless! At least when it comes to speeding objects. They seem to have no reservations when it comes walking in between 2 speeding trains or walking through Bangkok traffic. Ill just get behind that little old lady making her way across the 4 or 6 or 8 lane road. Drivers, I've noticed don’t tend to stick to staying in any type of lane; you just get in where you fit it, that includes people walking. Yikes! I think my mom would be proud if she witnessed me standing on the side walk for 10 minuets to afraid to step foot into the street. Safety first, then team work….. went right out the window, go go go, every man for them selves!
Day 2; I was feeling kind of weird due to too much plane food. I realize it’s a cliché stand up joke but seriously, what’s with airplane food? And so much of it! I gotten woken up on one plane 5 times for 3 meals and 2 mid-flight snacks including but not limited too beef with rice, ice cream sandwich and a breakfast croissant, in that order. So considering I got on the plane at noon after an 8:00 breakfast sandwich I'm all sorts of screwed up. My sleep cycle thus far consists of naps whenever I can fit them in. What time is it? What day is it? The sun has been out for 24 hours…. But fret not my blogging amigos there is a meal to come that would be the game changer.
Breakfast! After not sleeping all night at our hostel we headed out early to catch our 8am train, but not before stopping for some complimentary breakfast at the hostel lobby. Don’t get excited this isn’t the winner, infact I couldn’t consume the 2 pieces of white bread and micro waved egg. No what I would be referring to was the Green curry with chicken and a warm beer we had at the train station. Finally! This is what breakfast should always be, and will always be for the next 10 weeks. Spicy and savory, and by chicken I mean a drumstick and a chicken foot right in the middle of the delicious green flavor fest in my bowl. The beer was luke warm not for a lack of being chilled but because its so hot and muggy outside that once it hits the air you are on the fast track to a hot beer. We justified this morning beverage in 2 ways. The first being nothing helps a 12 hour plane/train ride more than alcohol. It’s a naps best friend. And the 2nd
being, our bodies had no idea what time zone we were in so we figure it 5 o’clock somewhere. (Was that a country music reference?)
A great start to a long and beautiful train ride. The first 6 hours were nothing short of incredible just looking out the window. Wow what a culture shock. It felt like my eyeballs had ADHD…. city, farm land, farm land, GIANT golden Buddha, farm land, amazing temples, more temples, farm land, burning fields, another Giant golden Buddha, monkey farm….. seriously. there I was gazing out the window at one of many cute little towns when we came a crossed what appeared to be gated off old stone ruins, or maybe it was just a jungle gym for the hundreds of monkeys running around! Boom that just happened. made my whole day. I freaking love monkeys! Who doesn’t, honestly? And I haven’t even wondered around on foot yet, this is all from my window. making my way to Chiang mai. But this train ride was in my top 3 best train rides of all times. Though considering I’ve only been on a train twice I cant imagine it gets any better than Bangkok to Chiang mai.
The scenery went by in slow motion, like that scene in Romeo in Juliet (the movie… Leo!) In my head was Radiohead and talk show host. I’m ready
The colors here even seem to be different. I’ve never been a bigger fan of Gold. It covers buildings and statues everywhere you turn. Even the clothing on the monks seated in front of me seem to be the best version of yellow and orange I have ever seen. Sometimes the grass is so green it reminds me of Kauai, so vibrant it seems fake.
I am so over whelmed by everything around me I have to remind myself to breath. But even breathing inclines me to pinpoint exactly what that smell is, or which language the passenger next to me is speaking. I find comfort seeing travelers with there lonely planet books out. What a journey we are embarking on. Or is it just life, the one that I live apparently. One word AWESOME.
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