I've been in Bangkok, Thailand for four days now and am still adjusting to being in a different country but most of all to traveling by myself. When I first thought about taking a leave of absence and traveling for an an extended period of time I was desperate to go with someone. Anyone with a pulse and a desire to go with me would do! Slowly I worked though my fears and decided I would take a leap and go. I felt like my own hero!
I'm getting better at putting myself out there by chatting up people behind me in line and those sitting at restaurant tables next to mine. Last night I had dinner at a fancy seafood restaurant with a girl I met at my hostel. This morning I met up with two brothers from Orange County that I had met the day before. We went to explore some of the many temples in Bangkok. What struck me the most were the statues outside each entrance. Each had its own facial expression and personality. They were so life-like! It was as if some said "come on in, you are welcome here" while others glared and commanded "you better be on your best behavior". We saw a giant resting Buddha, climbed up the steps of a very steep Wat Arun, had great Thai lunch and tried some durian fruit.
On Sunday a few women and I went to a Martha Steward event where vendors sold organic and crafty things and health food. It was very odd and American. I was told she is starting a Thai Magazine and the event was to support it. We then went to a giant Weekend Market, there was clothing, home decor and a whole section for artists. My favorite was Gwyn Faenol (Web Link). He makes amazing monsters out of metal. They are a bit on the scary side, but very friendly at the same time. I fell in love and am giving serious thought to having one shipped back home.
Strange things happen here. I was hit on by a cab driver who wanted my phone number even though he spoke no English. While having dinner, someone tried to sell me a beautiful little bird in a cage, promising it would bring me good luck. Animal teeth are sold on the street along side amulets, vintage dolls and knock-off electronics. I'm resisting the urge to purchase anything large, as anything I buy now I have to carry with me for the next three months.
Tomorrow I'm taking a night train North to Chiang Mai where I hope to see some of the many tribes that live in Thailand. I look forward to taking amazing pictures and buying some unique jewelry.