Sunday, December 2, 2012


(Hello, Bangkok.)  It’s very strange to see all the signage in these Thai characters.  Fortunately, most of the signs have an English translation.

On the morning of my flight here, I woke up sick…..really bad timing, considering the 18 hours of travel time ahead.  If I hadn’t already been sick, I probably would have picked up something from the numerous coughing, sneezing people on the 3 planes I boarded during my journey.  I set my foot in Sri Lanka on the way.  I didn’t encounter one American on the entire journey or hear anyone but flight attendants speak English.

I arrived safely in Bangkok and took about the 200th spot in a line of people with foreign passports who were waiting to get the stamp of approval from Thailand immigration officers.  It was an important holiday that day—Loy Krathong—and I had planned to go the river in the evening to watch the festivities.  People either make or buy small krathong (floats) adorned with candles and flowers and float them on the river to let go of bad luck and bad feelings and welcome in good luck and feelings.  I was too sick and exhausted to handle the challenge of navigating my way there and back, but I was lucky enough to have a distant view of the river from my apartment and saw some of the fireworks.  

I did nothing my first three days here except take one trip to the grocery store to get some supplies, because there was NOTHING in this apartment—not even a complementary roll of toilet paper!

I felt a sense of dejavu when I discovered that this apartment building is full of students, just like the one I sublet during the summer in Ann Arbor.  I had no idea, and it was a little disappointing that this information wasn’t on the website.  I was hoping to meet some people a lot nearer to my age in the building. 
The apartment itself is quite nice….but a little stark.  There is no decoration whatsoever.  

I won’t be doing much cooking here, because all I have is a one burner hotplate and one frying pan for cooking.  Considering how I felt on arrival, I was relieved to find a small restaurant onsite that provides room service.  The food is decent and really cheap.  For example, a vegetable omelette I had for breakfast was only 50 baht—about $1.60—and pad thai with shrimp is 60 baht--$1.95.  You get only 3 shrimp, so next time it might cost $3 if I ask them to double the shrimp. 

I slept for 14 hours after I arrived.  I’m in a residential area with a mixture of houses and apartment buildings, and it’s relatively quiet here.  There is, however, the loudest bird I’ve ever heard that wakes me up at around 3 or 4 a.m. every morning.  I made a recording of it on my cell phone the third night and played it for the day manager of the building.  She showed me a picture of the bird, which is about the size of a robin.  I couldn’t believe a bird that small could make such a big racket, and it goes on for about a couple of hours.  Even with the air conditioning running and a pillow over my head, I can hear this annoying bird.  I think I’ll need to try ear plugs if I want a decent night’s sleep. 

Anyway, not the greatest way to start my adventure in Bangkok, but…oh, well. 

First impression of Bangkok….it’s really hot and humid here.  

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