3 days has shown me a lot of a little of Thailand. I can navigate the little market across the street like a local, greet all five of the guesthouse cats by name, and tell you which fruit vendor sells the sweetest papaya.
But this isn’t the Thailand you see on Google images. Here in Bangkok, there are no playful baby elephants or crystal rivers. It is a land of constant growth and stark inequalities. Here, sky scrapers share yards with wooden shacks, the owners of each both lining up to order beef noodles from the same stall for lunch everyday. Cleanliness is honored above all things here, yet finding toilet paper in a restroom is about as common as finding a polar bear in the toilet.
I feel scared here, but not in the way you would think. I’m scared that I will begin to take for granted the warm smiles that greet me in every shop, that my eyes will become as accustomed to the golden Buddhas dotting every roadside as they are to trees back home, and that my ears will start to tune out the melodious chorus of “sà wàtdii” that echoes throughout the street every morning This is a city of tea that can never be too sweet, nights that can never be too late, and smiles that can never be too big, and I want to be present in every second of it.
I am constantly in a state of amazement of this brilliant place, and can’t wait to see what else Southeast Asia has to offer.