A Welcome Return to Thailand – Observations & Musings

It feels right to be back in a country where people drive on the left side of the road.

Bangkok streets night cars traffic motion blur
The busy streets of Bangkok at night next to the Chatuchak weekend market

After Vietnam, it was a nice change to be back in Thailand where everyone is nice…even the shopkeepers. Shortly after our return I asked a cop for directions and he wrote them out in English and Thai, gave me bus schedules and even came over again to make sure I understood it all.

Perhaps the worst part of the stolen camera was remembering all the cool photos that were lost…like the ones of Carrie and I petting a baby tiger.

I drove more than 100 miles on a motorcycle in one day. It was awesome!

Carrie had an interview with Couchsurfing over Skype in an Internet cafe. How unorthodox and cool is that?!

Another bummer about losing the camera is that I use it to take notes on the go. I would put it into video mode and just record myself talking. Now I actually have to use paper and a pen.

Hats for sale on a boat at the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
Hats for sale on a boat at the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market

A few new motorcycle driving firsts: I drove with two other people (Carrie and our friend Tut) on the back. That was tough. Also tough was when I took Tut to the bus station and had to balance his rolling suitcase between my legs while driving with him and his other luggage on the back. I was a bit wobbly both times, but at least I can now say I did it!

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but after 8 months and more than 20,000 pics, I am completely sick of taking photos. I can’t wait to get home and take a break.

There are bootleg 7-Eleven’s all over…like 7-Nine, 11-7, etc.

Balls of meat cook on a grill for sale in Patong, Phuket, Thailand
Balls of meat cook on a grill for sale in Patong, Phuket, Thailand

I saw two elephants during our return to Thailand. One on the streets of Bangkok by Tom’s apartment and the other being led down Khan San Road at night with his owner asking for money to take a photo.

On Khan San Road I had possibly the worst pad thai of my life. It was just noodles with soy sauce and heaps of MSG. Gross.

While I have eaten many random things on this trip, I opted against eating a roach or a maggot.
I am completely sick of people talking shit about Carrie and I in other languages in front of our face. Like we don’t notice when you point and laugh? Talking in Thai doesn’t cover that up, genius!

A statue at Wat Pho in Bangkok, Thailand
A statue at Wat Pho in Bangkok, Thailand

As we only had a few days in Bangkok and a lot to do, we treated ourselves to a ton of taxis.

With precious time left before returning to the USA, I gorged myself on food from ever street vendor I could find. My favorite were the bacon wrapped hot dogs on a stick for 50 cents. Mmmmm.

During our first trip to MBK mall we got a price quote on four belts. We returned on our last day with all our bags and the price had almost doubled. We even took a belt out and it was still higher than the original price. Carrie tried to reason with the woman, saying that she could give us the original price or get nothing at all. The vendor opted for not selling. I just don’t get the business logic in that.

It was the Queen’s birthday on our last night and the streets of Bangkok were lit up and photos of her were everywhere.

It’s fascinating to look at Thai money over the years. Every decade or so they print a new version of all bills with a new photo of the King reflecting his new age. The best are the ones from the 1940s that show the King as a child.

Wat Arun in Bangkok, Thailand
Wat Arun in Bangkok, Thailand

On the highway to the airport we were on a road with four lanes of traffic but no lane dividers painted. Somehow, traffic managed to flow smoothly.

After all our time in Thailand being surrounded by posters of the King, I must say I have much love for the man.

Everywhere we looked, people were wearing face masks to protect from diseases. In reality, it does very little to stop anything…but they are now a fashion statement.

Finally, our flight to Hong Kong was delayed by two hours (that we totally could have used shopping) and Air Asia, the cheapest airline ever that even charges for water on the flight, actually gave us each vouchers for food in the airport.