Thursday, 1 January 2015

Back to the Land of Smiles

            Landing back in Suvarnabhumi, an airport I’ve been inside a handful of times. I rushed outside, this time looking to embrace that heat wave that smacks you in the face once you step out. After being on the road for about six months, it’s nice to have a sense of familiarity. Where to go, how to get there, what to do, the basic formalities. It’s a small sense of comfort even though it has been two and a half years since I’ve been in Bangkok and I know new and unexpected things still lurk around every corner.

Khao San Road
              For a few reasons I was heading to the notorious backpacker area of Khao San Road, the gateway to Southeast Asia for probably ninety five percent of backpackers. To start with, I never actually spent a night here on my last trip, so I thought it was time to see what all the hype was about. Last time I only saw the aftermath as I was dropped off around five in the morning. People staggering back to their hostels when they realized the sun was up and a few working girls trying for a last minute grab. Secondly the accommodation can be very cheap depending on your standards (mine are quite low), and lastly I didn’t want to be here long. Most of the tourist buses leave from the area and I was heading south as soon as I could.

The scorpion pusher
           After getting off the flight, out of the cab and finding a place for about six dollars, I thought it was time to hit the street, join the crowd. At this point I had little idea of how this night would play out. I planned on a few beers and probably a bucket for old time sake, but due to the world cup football match that was on, that was just the beginning. Next thing I know there’s scorpion in my belly, the sun is in my eyes and somehow I’m helping someone get to the hospital in my state. After this I realized maybe I should quit while I can still walk and hit the bed instead of the pavement.
Silk worm pupae
             When I managed to crawl from my bed, I went straight to buy a bus ticket south. I didn’t need a repeat night. Khao San Road is a wild place where you never know what shenanigans will ensue, but for me it’s a place of one or two days before I need to leave. I was going to meet one of my best friends on Koh Pha Ngan, for the world renowned Full Moon Party in a couple days (another thing I missed on my last trip), and thought a rest might be a smart choice. I must be getting wiser. 
Being back in Thailand has been something I’ve dreamed about since I left Southeast Asia. From the moment I got home, I was inspired to see more of Asia and immediately started saving for this trip. It’s so nice to return with a smile on my face!