BKK: A familiar new place

September 6th, 2018

Something about Bangkok feels familiar. You’d ask me why I decided to move to a city that I’ve never been to before. From what I understand, the normal process is to visit a place, fall in love, then decide to move.  It’s never quite been that way for me.

Most of the time I move out of some practical need. Then I explore. Then I fall in love.

But something about Bangkok feels familiar. The heat is something else. It’s next level “walking on the sun” hot, but it’s comfortable in the shade. On the first day alone in the city I spent 4 hours in a spa. After 13 days of whirlwind moving, packing, emptying a life… I needed to unwind.

That massage, scrub combo left me feeling the kind of relaxed you get from some good multiple orgasm sex. You know the kind where you have jelly legs and a sort of dazed look on your face and you can’t even be bothered about cuddling because sleep is coming at you like a freight train. The 30-minute walk back with the scalding sun pouring over the sides of my umbrella certainly added to the sedative quality of the day.

Anyhow, Bangkok feels familiar. I think it’s the heat, and the smell of the humidity and dust. It reminds me of Colombo. A bigger, more developed Colombo. The people seem familiar, the roads and the traffic aren’t surprising. Once I get more of a handle on the language it will grow to be home.

I am falling asleep by 730pm. Bad news for the jetlag.

September 7th, 2018

Woke up at 3am.  Thanks to the lady who hung up on me (because she wanted to beat the rain) from the Thai consulate in Boston, I started my day with some anxiety settled on my chest. She gave me some bad news, and didn’t give me a chance to clarify it. After some breakfast I decided to shrug off what’s out of my control. I sat for 2 hours on the roof deck, before the heat of the day. Cool breezes and bird calls helped settle my mind. It was apartment hunting time.

I contacted 2 agents who had been in touch with me over the last few weeks, and scheduled a couple of viewings. Then after my phone reached optimal charge, I put on my sneakers, packed my water bottle and umbrella and head out. One of the first things to do in a new city is mapping.

Using the office address as the centre-point I started walking from the hotel. I walked 7kms today, and in that time I got a good sense of at least 3 major thoroughfares of central Bangkok. From Pathum Wan, to Bangrak to Silom and Sathorn. Neighborhoods I can now say with confidence because I have a frame of reference of where they are. If I can tell you one thing, the best (and only) way of getting to know a city is on your feet. Especially a city like Bangkok that has so many thousands of “soi’s”- little tiny side streets, that are barely streets. With the comfort of “google maps” in my back pocket, but not looking at it, because in the light of day, a small wrong turn into the unfamiliar is not a bad thing, I slowly mapped out a tiny part of Bangkok today.

On the way back, when I was lost somewhere between Silom and Si Phraya roads, I found a make-shift roadside restaurant called “Cheaper and Better” where I chose to have some of my go-to Thai favourites; Ice cold Singha Beer, Shrimp Pad Thai and Mango Sticky Rice.

Late lunch gave me a bit of extra energy for another round of “let’s get lost and find our way back.” I was back in the hotel and in the swimming pool by evening. My accomplishment for the day? I can now get from the hotel to the office without a map!

My second accomplishment, I saw my favourite apartment (from my online searches) found out it was already given away, but still managed to get an impression of what the apartment search for the rest of the stay will be like. I’ve been warned by Thai and non-Thai people alike that the potential for being scammed is high. I learned of a phrase that farang’s in Thailand like to use: TIT “This is Thailand” when they face the frustrations of day to day life. Contrary to all this, I met some lovely people and saw a beautiful space. If I can see a few more like that (ideally available) I’m quite confident I will not be homeless for long.

Back on my favourite roof deck. Drinking iced coffee to fight the jetlag, and watching the sunset on another day of my Big Adventure. My last night alone before Ma comes to join the hunt. I can’t tell you enough how powerful it is to travel alone. You must all do it.

Travel alone, and give your best friends (or your blog audience) a play by play of what you’re doing. I wrote to Nam earlier today that if I don’t tell someone what I’ve done… how do I know it’s real and not all in my head?

But then again, as Dumbledore says

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?”

 

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