Saturday, January 26, 2013

Day 1

I'm in Bangkok. I was so busy reading books and drinking coffee and taking my dog to the beach, I didn't do too much research when I was in Oregon. I had mild panic the night before my flight, which my dear friend Lily (who has been traveling the world for more than a year now) blessedly allayed. 

Me: Hey, I've done almost zero research for my trip, but that's fine right? You didn't do any research right?
Lily: Right.

Phew. I feel kind of guilty for not doing any real planning, but in reality planning is for people who are short on time. I have 3.5 months until I need to get on a train to Russia, so I have time to make it up as I go along.

I think I brought too much stuff, but then at the airport, looking at my fellow twenty-something white folks with fancy backpacks and requisite swishy cargo pants, it looks like we all brought about the same amount of too much stuff. So that's comforting.

I split a cab with a guy who is just like me. Not only did he have a huge backpack and the pants, he's also been bumping around the world since he graduated and works in writing and editing. He has a cool blog about his experiences, it's called Around the World in 80 Jobs, check it out.

I had my moments of doubt on the airplane. Why am I doing this? Honestly - I concluded - I'm doing it because it seems like the kind of thing I would do and because I want to have more stamps in my passport than you. My self esteem is strongly tied to me passport stamps. 

But it's nice to have the benefit of experience, by now I know I always get plane jitters. In 2008: Why am I moving to Taiwan to teach English? In 2010: Why am I moving to Shanghai by myself? And eight months ago: Why am I moving to Beijing by myself when all my best friends are galavanting in Vietnam? 

The other thing that happened on the plane: I listened to a 33-year-old man who works in information services explain to his seatmate that he was going to Thailand to meet a girl. Americans. We have a penchant for talking about ourselves loudly and earnestly such than people can't help but eavesdrop. I eavesdropped. Mr. Information Services said that his lady friend scolded him for extravagance when he mailed her a box of candy. The context of this anecdote was "so obviously she's not after my moneys." I wanted to turn around and say, "maybe she's playing the long con, dude!" 

I had a delicious and super spicy chicken salad over rice for breakfast and then cooled my palate with a big iced coffee with condensed milk - all for US$1.50. Thus far, two Thai people have walked up and offered unsolicited but extremely helpful directions/advice. I like it here.

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