travel

Just Remember Not To Smile…

“Just remember not to smile,” the Canadian told me, grinning. “You’ll get bugs in your teeth.”

I watched the motorcycle driver balance my pack on the front handles and, with a pleading look at the man from the travel agency, made a complicated gesture that I hoped resembled a helmet (the only response was a laugh and a pat on the back), I threw one leg over the back and climbed on. I must have thrown a last dubious glance at the Canadian, because he continued with reassurances: “You’ll be fine. It’s a great way to see the city. And he’ll get you to your bus, no worries. This one time in Perth…” The driver throttled the engine and we took off before I could hear the rest.

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travel

Learning Curve – Part two

The market was wonderful. Clothes, silks, flowers, food, seafish, fruit, vegetables, statues, gramaphones, antique bronze fans, endless displays of silver jewelry, chickens, singers, dancers… I shopped a little (despite myself – I’ve already bought everything that I needed to get and spent a week’s budget in two days), and wandered around until I hit complete sensory overload.

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Learning Curve – Part One

I had my day all worked out. I wanted to get a tuk tuk to the Moh Chit train station, buy a ticket to Chiang Mai, explore the giant market below the station, take the Skytrain to Siam Square, and get a Khlong (river taxi) back to Banglamphu. The tuk tuk driver, however, had a different plan.

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travel

“Here we are now! Entertain us!”

I woke up last night to the Khao San I had been promised.

More accurately, it woke me, with the chorus of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”. It was some unknown early hour of the morning (3am? 4am? 1am?) and the noise from the street below was so incredibly loud and intimidating it took me nearly an hour – and the realization that I had left my ear plugs on the airplane and going back to sleep was not an option – to convince myself to go down.

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travel

Sa-wat-dee!

So I’m here!

17 1/2 hour flight, ridiculously easy time clearing customs (balanced out by the ridiculously complicated search for a guesthouse/hostel). Wandered around the airport following signs and taking advantage of any tout that tried to sell me something by asking for directions – and then following those directions before I could be given the sales pitch. Buying a bus ticket took a bit of work and I ended up on the air-conditioned airport shuttle (airport shuttles look identical the world over – Milan, Dar es Salaam, and Bangkok).

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