Goodmorning from SEA (South East Asia)
Woah, thats still so intense for me to say. I am totally new to this blogging thing but I wanted to get one up and running and can fumble around with making it pretty later.
First off, thanks for taking the time to read this, I will tell you now this first one may be pretty lengthy.
As I sit in lotus position in my newly purchased Thai pants with elephants decorating them, I take a deep breath and am in awe that this dream is a reality today. I am in Chiang Mai, Thailand embarking on the adventure of a life time. I have goosebumps just typing that.
I spent the last day and a half flying from Seattle, WA to Chiang Mai. A 12 hour flight to Taipei where I ate something, that tasted mostly good, and had a great conversation with an older gentlemen traveling to Bangkok to meet up with his wife and children on vacation. We chatted about Thailand, this was his 14th trip, his wife is Thai and he showed me pictures of their adorable 2 children. He had some good tips and places to go though seemed rather touristy if you ask me ;). My gate in Taipei was hello kitty themed (ill figure out how to add pics later) and the experience of the airport was well my first international airport where not much english was spoke. Moving forward, I flew another 4 hours to Bangkok. And wow, that initial shock of airport was well overwhelming. I got through immigration with a breeze (having the dreaded proof of onward travel) picked up my Backpack and walked through customs without being stopped…that was odd too. I laughed and said to the guy next to me “easiest thing ive done so far” we laughed. And then I was emerged into chaos.
Bangkok’s airport is very simple and full of exchange booths and cell phone stands for all the incoming travelers alike. I tried to exchange Cash at one stand that did not speak a bit of english and found myself extremely frustrated and almost in tears trying to smile and re-explain my intentions. This got me no where but more frustration so I moved along and found another booth out of all the chaos and simply asked “English?” They smiled and said no, I said “exchange US $ for Baht” They said Oh yes! and we were off, they were super smiley and helpful even though neither of us understood a thing. They counted my Baht, then had me count and exchanged my money at the rate of 31.9 Baht to 1US$. Lovely 🙂 Next up, a coffee, first experience using Baht, paid 150B for an iced mocha of somesort with 3 shots (they use instant coffee for everything so I am really not sure how much caffeine I got) and she topped it with Whipped cream (not my preference). I stood there with my giant backpack, and an iced coffee amidst all the travelers in this airport looking incredibly American, with a giant smile on my face. Next up Cell phone Sim card. Super easy!! paid 1000B for 30 days of service. (whatever is included im not sure) I just know the sweet young man at the counter gave me a discount for being “beautiful” which was incredibly flattering after 20 hours of travel. And he loved Harry Potter. He set my phone up and that was that, I had service and was ready to find my gate for Chiang Mai.
(WOW this is long, again sorry!)
I flew Thai Smile to Chiang Mai which was a great flight. Caught my Taxi for 160B (5$) to my Guest house. The driver was great, showing me around, spoke some english, and best of all did not scam me nor try to talk me to a different hotel like you read about. Although I wasnt sure if I was going to live through that ride due to the insane driving and lack of traffic laws. Plus it was rushour. Anyways, I arrived at the Green Tulip Guesthouse which has an open but covered loby area for guest to hangout in opening right to the street. Checked in, and got in to my room turned on the AC and sat down and then feelings began.
Lets talk about feelings: woah, I was not expecting so much anxiety and fear to overwhelm me the minute I was safe in my room, All the noise from traffic sounded intimidating and well scary. My head was flooded with “Its so dangerous” “Your going alone” “Dont get robbed” “Be careful!” and I froze. I felt like if I left my room, my room would get robbed, my purse would get stolen off me, and someone would snatch me up from the street. I took some deep inhales, sent some messages to mom and dad and jumped on social media. There I found inspiration to continue to move forward, feel my feelings and just be okay in the moment. I was not going to die, whether I left my room or not. I am apart of a private fb called Travellets with other solo female travelers and asked them for advice on the initial fear of leaving the room, and they have bombared me with suggestions and tips and many of which that have been to Chiang Mai. The relief began to set it. I showered and changed, opened my very packed backpack and began to feel clean and refreshed. I ventured to the roof top view and vaped. Took some deep breathes and really began to grasp that I was in THAILAND! (more goosebumps) I did it! I quite my job, took a break from school, I planned (a tiny bit) saved as much as I could, and boarded my flight for a ONEWAY trip to Thailand. I was here, this was it, I was doing it. One day at a time, one moment at a time. I am okay. I am alive. I am free. I am grateful. I am excited. I went to get some water, came back up to the roof and met 3 wonderful young ladies and the conversations began!
We chatted, and introduced each other sharing stories. We decided to go find food and began to walk the very safe feeling streets of Chiang Mai (although looking at them you wouldnt think so but the feeling of security is very much there). We stumbled along a rooftop restraunt where people were dangling there bare feets and got flagged down to come check the menu. So we slipped off our shoes and journeyed up the stairs to fimd the most adorable sitting area outside under the full moon light. We ordered veggies, some curry soup and I had my first authentic fried squid. YUM! We had great conversation and they gave lots of tips from their experience so far, very confident beautiful young women, getting ready to start med school and taking an adventure first. We split the bill at 100B each (3$) and moved on. From their we walked about 2m (maybe longer) to the night market. They taught me how to Barter and I purchased a multi-tool/knife for 300B. It was the womans first sale of the night; You know its the first sale when they touch their goods with your money (for good fortune). It is also the best time to get the lowest prices ( as soon as they open the want to sell something for good fortune) It is humorus to ask how much? they give you a price and if you move on they say “how much for you!” “what price for you!?” I also purchased some fancy Thai pants that are super comfortable! 170B. We walked the streets, I observed the different smells, many unpleasant. The women that sit outside all of the bars waiting for well you know, we came across a muay thai boxing ring that holds fights every night at 10. I think we may head back tonight. Everyone is smiling, and happy, and very helpful. We caught a Tuk Tuk back to our hotel for 20B each (.80cents). I made my way to my room and relaxed. I fell asleep with the feeling of freedom. I can do this, I am doing this. Finding my bliss.
PS. I will try to update each morning or night so my blogs arent so long. and figure out the photo thing, I am getting ready to meet the girls for breakfast and to begin a day of Temple seeing!
Ka Pun Ka (Thank you) for taking the time to read.