As you all know, this is my first time travelling solo. I suppose I never realized this before, because I was always travelling with another American, but being such leaves me in an awkward position. All of my new friends here are anything but American. In fact, they stretch the globe from New Zealand to Ireland. But it is really different being the only one from America. I now realize just how sheltered and ignorant we are. Even though they are from different sides of the world, they can discuss the same TV shows and politics in virtually any country. I have absolutely nothing to add to these conversations because I don’t really know anything outside of the US. In the future, I promise myself that I will do a better job paying attention to the rest of the world rather than getting caught up in home. I no longer want to be the ignorant American.
The rest of my experience in Bangkok was rather quiet. On Thursday, I went to the Floating Market with a friend from the hostel. It was an interesting experience, but it was also really touristy. Apparently the real floating market for the locals takes place earlier in the day. Then the souvenir boats come out for the tourists. It is just a bunch of stalls and boats on a river. As the tourist, you take a row boat around the river and shop from stall to stall. I found that everything was rather overpriced and only bought a decoration for my new apartment and some bracelets.
The rest of Thursday was spent wandering around the backpackers’ ghetto of Khao San Road in Bangkok before eating dinner and getting the overnight train to Chiang Mai, which is in Northern Thailand. The train was quite an experience in itself. It left an hour late and was hotter than hell. Two of my friends from the hostel and I were in the sleeper car which was cooled by fan and open window. The bathrooms consisted of squat toilets that smelt terrible half way through the ride. In the morning, I woke up to screaming Thai women at 6 am. Needless to say I didn’t sleep well because I kept having nightmares of being robbed. The train also arrived nearly two hours late, making it a 14 hour train ride. There was some gorgeous scenery to be seen as Northern Thailand is mountainous and most of the population between Chiang Mai and Bangkok lives through subsistence farming. It was definitely a train ride I soon won’t forget.
My first afternoon in Chiang Mai was spent exploring the many activities that are possible here. It is known as the base camp for treks as well as home to many elephant camps. Last evening, we spent at a reggae bar just down the street from the guesthouse. Chiang Mai is such a lovely place. I can see why people fall in love with it and never leave.
Much love from Thailand! I hope to have many more adventures to tell you about in a few days.