As I sit writing this, I’m itching all over from dozens of bites. I’ve got bruises and scrapes and a bit of a sunburn on my shoulders and face. I’m wearing a swirly brass ring on my right hand, which caught on my hair tie as I was putting my hair into a bun. Each bite, each bruise, every part of me is absolutely brimming with stories from my past week in Thailand. Every single day is seized for every last drop of experiences. The bites are a mixture from mosquitoes and ants in the city and bed bugs in our bamboo huts in the jungle. I’ve got a bruise and scrape from falling down while climbing a waterfall. The brass ring on my hand is from the Long Neck Village in the heart of jungle, the same brass they use to extend their necks! So, while I am utterly struck speechless from this trip of a lifetime, I will attempt to put into words these past days:
Thailand is nothing short of a captivating place with undeniably beautiful people. From the moment I started walking around in Bangkok I was surrounded by robed monks, street food carts, motorbikes and tuk-tuks all over the road, and smiling faces. I took a long-tail boat ride to tour around and visit a couple of magnificent temples as well as the Grand Palace, which was breathtaking. The intricate designs of the structures showed the attention to each little detail of even the biggest towers and pillars. My consistent sentiment here is, “I wish I could literally film every second of this.” But a video accompanied even by the vastest of photo collections would not even begin to accurately depict this place.
Now first, let’s talk about Bangkok. You may or may not be familiar with the term, “Lady-Boy”, but this city is crawling with them. Both post- and pre-op transgenders roam about and are actually quite open with admitting their identity as “Lady-Boy”. In fact, one in our group actually… to put it blankly, experienced an encounter with one. Let’s just say that Bangkok gave us all a run for our money. From selling laughing gas in balloons every fifteen feet to buckets made to order, to the scorpion I ate after having said buckets… The party scene here is like nothing I’ve experienced before. It’s very different from WSU and Las Vegas and Cabo. It has its own brand of spice, and every which way you turn in the middle of the street there is music and drinks and food and dancing. It’s quite lively and we had a blast living it up in the bustling city. I plan to return to the infamous Khao San Road on which we stayed so that I can more deeply experience it.
An overnight bus took us to our next destination, a stunning group of guesthouses hidden among villages and forest. I much enjoyed this natural habitat, with tropical plants hanging over our patios and a “No Shoe” rule inclining me to do a bit of yoga each morning. During our stay, in the daytime we would take some very rickety trucks (upon which we would hop into the bed, and stand for the entire drive, nearly falling out at every pothole) to our beloved elephant park. We were able to feed, ride, and bathe these gentle giants. Only once did an elephant spook and run off into a valley, nearly starting a stampede! Luckily, I was not riding this one, but my friends were! They survived the ordeal, thankfully, but were very shaken up. I’ve got to say, trekking through the jungle on elephants is definitely up there on my “Coolest Shit Ever” list.
Alongside “elephants” on said list, you will also find: Bamboo River Rafting, Jungle Hiking, Visiting a Long Neck Village, Climbing and Jumping Off Waterfalls, and Partying in Bamboo Huts Under the Stars Last Night. Suffice it to say, Thailand is quickly becoming the most amazing voyage for me. And sure, I’ll collect videos and photographs and little mementoes along the way… But nothing will replace the speechless emotion always in my heart for this incredible land. To be quite honest… I really don’t ever want to leave.