I was in Thailand recently for work and for play. Bangkok, with a population about six million, is a hectic, frenetic metropolis. Anytime I left my hotel, there were hundreds of people out and about, walking, driving, riding scooters and motorcycles, taking the MTR, hustling wares, doing all kinds of things. They were not shocked to see my brown face, as many PoC live and work in Bangkok.
Most of the Thai I encountered were very friendly and greeted me with a bow of their heads with their hands pressed together as if in prayer and a warm “Saswadee!” I quickly learned to return the gesture, as I love learning new ways to say hello.
I was in a downtown hotel and that part of the city had a lot going on in terms of ethnic variety; restaurants, shopping, and the like. I ate at great Mexican and Korean restaurants, and if you’re wondering if I ate any Thai food, I’ll get to that in a moment.
|At Sunrise Tacos|
|Korean honey-glazed chicken. CLAUDE!!!|
It was extremely hot, around 93F, but there was a nice wind coming through, making it tolerable. I didn’t really get to explore the city as much as I wanted, as that portion of my trip was for business, and so I spent most of the time in a hotel. I did snap a few pics tho.
|These are everywhere, so that one may stop and pay respects.|
|Waffles in the subway|
|I truly meant to go to this spot. Next time.|
|The King is all over the place.|
The second part of my trip consisted of three days in Phuket, an island about an hour south (via plane) of Bangkok. Phuket is known for its beaches and it is a beautiful location. My hotel was across from the beach and that water…unbelievable! The weather was a blistering 96F, but a breeze coming off the ocean usually accompanied it.
The resort where I stayed had a wonderful open-air cafeteria and the breakfast buffet was to die for. Freshly cut fruit accompanies every meal, and the menu consisted of both western and eastern dishes. I’m an American breakfast nut, but my first morning there, I had some sautéed chicken and veggies with pineapple jasmine rice, and sliced watermelon, papaya, pineapple and dragonfruit. Delicious.
Thai food is very very spicy, and my palate is extremely sensitive. I have trouble eating a "hot" Dorito, and so I avoid those foods. I was very cautious when I ordered my meals and actually got got with a wonderful warm steak and vegetable salad. The waiter asked if I wanted it spicy and I said, “No Spicy.” He interpreted that as “spicy” and my poor tongue paid the price. I could not finish the meal, but I am going to recreate a version of it that I can eat.
|Dinner at Thai Night.|
|These are steak, corn & shrimp tortilla bowls. SLAYED.|
|Warm steak salad: arugula, sirloin, tomato, cucumber & green onion. In a SPICY sauce.|
|To offset the overwhelming spice, Thai desserts are super-sweet.|
These are desserts made of rice paste and cane sugar. I could not eat them.
I didn’t do too much while in Phuket, as I had a few things to think over but I did take the opportunity to go on an island tour. One of the Sean Connery James Bond movies, “The Man with the Golden Gun,” was filmed there, and the island of Phang Nga is featured. The tour consisted of a stop at a cavern temple where a golden Buddha lay resting under the cave, lunch at Panyee Village, a floating community, a speedboat tour of the mangrove forests, and a canoe ride to Phang Nga.
I am an indoor girl. Outside activities generally aren’t my thing. But since moving to the Far East, aspects of my life have changed, and that is one. I’ve been hiking—gasp!—and now I can add canoeing to the list. Now I didn’t do the full-on canoe; the tour has professional rowers who know exactly where to take tourists. But the fact that I got my ample ass into a canoe was epic in and of itself, and I’m proud that I did it. Those majestic rock islands and mangrove trees are something I may never see again.
My last day in Phuket was partially spent in quiet contemplation on the beach, which is always a panacea for me. I do hope to return to Bangkok one day to see some of the temples, but it may be a while. My time in China is coming to an end and I’ll be moving on to another destination soon.
|The majestic Phang Nga.|