How often are you hit by the perfect note of life? How often you get inspired and enjoy the busy life? How often you get lost and find your trail back? Well if you have not found that right answer then you should tie your shoelaces and sit back for an adventure-ride for next few minutes!
I have the perfect answers( at least as per my extreme belief) to all those questions mentioned above. But to find the answers and enjoy the true spirit of the life you have to travel down to south(not literally though) , from this peninsula to the small archipelago : Thailand.
In 2014 I got a chance to travel to this amazing land. It was one of a kind experience.
Out of the ordinary, the pale blue morning sky dazzled in the afternoon and I had a delightful time by the evening of my arrival.
I visited Bangkok as a TESOL trainer during my Summer Break, and stayed there with my friends for a good twenty days. I reached there with my friend, Mohit,of course-my companion from India.
It was a day full of bright sunshine (actually extreme humid) and I didn’t have a clue to where to start with. I was extremely jaunty. Mohit was a newbie so I had to gear up with all the minute details. By God’s grace I didn’t have to bug myself much either as Vijay came to receive us from the airport.Have I not mentioned his name here before? Oh blimey! (Sorry mate! I have skipped you in introduction.)He is from the business capital of India, Mumbai, and he was already there in Bangkok for couple of weeks. He knew the width and breadth of Bangkok and that’s all that I wanted.
We reached at Ramkhamhaeng at around 11:30 AM and I was really famished. Ramkhamhaeng was an unusual choice for stay as it is entirely disconnected district for outsiders/tourists.I had to pick Ramkhamhaeng for two reasons, first I had to teach in some local schools and second Vijay already booked a room for us in a service apartment in Ramkhanhaeng. It is generally congested due to traffics, and its small interconnected streets are all just reminiscent of the streets of Indian Metropolitans.
Did I miss my Home? Certainly not after all those familiar sights, but one thing was very inspiring that was the well connected communication system. All the metro routes are connected with the airport and city has its sky-trains too.
We travelled by metro from Airport ,and we reached at our destination without much hustle.
The city streets were deluged by the smell of the smoked fishes and bacons. For me it was all an appetizer and thus we hopped inside a busy road side restaurant. The choice was no obvious as I was just following my guide for the day,Vijay. There he ordered three bowl of soups . As I was hungry I never minded crying over choices. Mohit is vegan So I just had to inform his bit.
Then after a good half an hour there came the delicacies of the streets of Bangkok. From the outset it all looked good and I just dived in! It was soup filled with sea-monsters! Octopus-squids were all lying amputed in my bowl. I was so sorry for not to be there savior for the day! We had a great time there. Mohit had a bit difficulties with the vegies in his bowl. Being a north Indian Hindu he didn’t have such raw vegies in his bowl often. So he continued his battle for quite a long time. The translucent soup showcased the deprived raw cabbages-asparagus –cilantros-Chopped garlics and some corianders. I thought he wasted it all.
Nonetheless it was a very good meal. After that we had to move to the hotel.Our stay at Four seas in Bangkok was a great bargain. At the end we got some concessions on our prebooked rooms. The rooms were cozy and spacious. Each room was equipped with personal refrigerator-coffee maker-wi fi and a good LED set. So Me and Mohit just retired for till evening. It was a very successful beginning of our trip. So I was already excited about my next plan.
In the evening I thought to explore the suburban area. So I called Vijay and went for a walk down the busy lanes of east Bangkok.it is noteworthy here that Mohit was in love with his hotel room meanwhile. So we went on without hampering his romantic association!
The streets of Bangkok are real delight for anyone who loves diversity.The best thing about any outlet was its owner. I was really blown away by the customary greetings and habitual peaceful encounters during that outing.
Swa Di Krap!(Namaskar)as they say.I tried many street foods in my first day in Banglkok. Out of all the savories I loved the Kai Jeow Moo Saap (Thai Pork Omelet), Khao Neow Moo Ping (Grilled Pork with Sticky Rice) ,Hoy Tod (Oyster Omelet) and Moogata (Thai Barbecue). I am extremely sorry for all my Vegan friends .For all of you, who are vegans, I would suggest to try Som Tam (Thai Green Papaya Salad) and Khao Pad Goong (Fried Rice), as I suggested Mohit. It was in his menu for almost entire trip. So believe me friends it works.
“ As the night sprawled the emotions gathered
Under the wings of dreams it smeared
In the dusts of memories. It assembled together”
I was happy as the day progressed. I didn’t learn the nature’s call in the first day, but I learned and enjoyed the authentic Thai-cultures whatever I could gather in my pores of memory wall.
I had to wake up early in the next morning. The day was usually bright and I got ready for my first day encounter with Anuban community college. I was really happy the way things were shaping up. I knew for next couple of weeks I will be putting some unusual strain on my vocal cords and my limbs.
Vijay called me for the buffet breakfast at the hotel lobby. Mohit was little shaky to start with but got along comfortably later on. The early jitter was gone.
At 9 AM we reached at the school and we were exposed to a great batch of senior students who work at evening at some local Malls, precisely 7/11. I started of by introducing myself. The striking feature was that everyone laughed at my name. I was absolutely certain that there was no other way around.Welcome to Thailand!
I got two classes to take and I had to follow the same for some 15 days, except the planned leaves in between. Vijay and Mohit were quite busy in their modes of survival inside their own classes.
Interesting to note here that we could listen to all those out of the lungs shouts and sighs of each other from different corners. Don’t think it would be easy but believe me it all worthy to give it a try. For experienced candidates like us it took some days to zeal in ,but once we got ours flutes ready we just blew our notes quite well!
That day we returned around 1PM, and just after the lunch at a local shopping mall, we went to watch a film in the multiplex nearby. I had two freak companions, so it was not a surprise that the film, that we watched, was also full of adventure. Yes, we watched a Thai film without subtitles. First time we watched a movie in such a way as if it was a silent movie.
After the movie we went to have a stroll around the city market. We got our buckets ready and packed some local delicacies before we hit the hotel. The next day morning passed just the same, and on our way back to the hotel we decided to utilize our Saturday in some adventures of real time. So we decided to have a canal tour. Bangkok's charming riverside is hot pot with stories . We took a morning tour, a long-tailed speedboat whisks you down the Chao Phraya River and canals (khlongs) .The first time experience of the canal in Bangkok. It was a different kind of experience. You can Immerse yourself in the picturesque riverside scenery, as you past stilted wooden homes, 'floating kitchens', mobile shops, colonial mansions and all kinds of colorful culture along the riverfront, before stopping at the enchanting Temple of Dawn (Wat Arun). The boats were not like the boats of Nainital or Venice. It reminded me of Bond movies and it seemed that I was on Mission Impossible show. Believe me they were fast. The ride on the turquoise water , which was certainly anything but pure, was an experience filled with adventure and surprises. We saw the boat to take bends on each corner as if it had no tomorrow. At the end we descended like Athena’s children, as obedient as we could be(Actually we were well shook and throttled ).
It was great to see the city lines and the people on the edges of the canal moving faster than their usual speed(My dream of speed boating came to very close to be over-brimmed by emotions).
After all that adrenaline rush we went back to hotel with our heavy load of memories.
On the streets of Bangkok we were still alive and kicking. On the fourth day it was a real time experience of the Bangkok that I used to imagine.
The very next day was Sunday and we already wanted to invest it on Pattaya. Our morning kick started around 5:30 and we were ready to leave around 6.You could always get a bus from Ramkhamhaeng to Ekamaya Bus stop anytime in the morning. Though we always had the luxury to choose metro services.
It took near about 2 hours to reach Pattaya from Ekamaya . We were really excited .The first sight of the sea and the people by the beach reminded me of Goa. The first impression of mine was -“Waoo!”,Not because of its wonderful oceanic beauty but the charming city life by the coastline.
Mohit saw the beach for the first time(Not only Pattaya but any kind of sea beach) so he got goose bumps and vijay went on and about his own businesses( He went on to find one of his couch- surfing friends).He promised us to me us within one hours time.
We didn’t have much to do except enjoying the beauty so we did. We hit the water and enjoyed the waves as much as we can. Photographed some nude crazy children wading pass the waves. We met some wonderful people around. Mohit was attracted by a beautiful Japanese so he had his own share of story. After all we were in Pattaya! Love and life merge together. The speed boating was on the cards.It took quite a few minutes to convince Mohit and finally we were all set to go. So Pattaya was in its full shape.When Vijay arrived under the tender Sun we already had most of the funs.The funfair by the beach was exemplary. The tired frame of both of us demanded a little water and food.The green Coconut is in abundance in Thailand. We were in Tropical paradise. We quenched our thirst and had our meal in a roadside Indian Restaurant. There was no shadow of doubt that our friend Mohitji would have a different kind of show altogether!
He not only ate everything but snatched my glass of buttermilk.Great Lord! It was a moment that I enjoyed the most. I could not blame him as he was always hungry due to the unavailability of foods of his choice.
We thought to return back to our traditional route,in the city of Bangkok by the evening.
We reached back around 8:30 PM. The streets and the city seemed like our newly found home.The extraordinary quality of travelling is this that it makes you believe that you belong to the place where you stay.
The itinerary was fixed so we followed the same kind of tight schedule of adventure and fun along with different cultural fiestas. We grew stronger over times. All the trials and errors made us richer and we felt just like one among them.
We tried the street foods at will. The bucket full of crazy soups and hot pots was always used to challenge the stomach. Mohit on the other hand was a regular customer of 7/11(The shopping mall which is open 24X7).He could get his Bun and cakes, sometimes packed rice and noodles. He was happy that way. Though his attempts to taste the street vegies were not all that bad, but he remained in solitude during his meals.
Just before we left the City we tried the floating market and the great Temple of Reclining Buddha. THe city was overjoyed with markets such as that. On our arrival to that market we found that everything else was on the water except us! We also hopped in and changed our shops time to time. First time in my life I was shopping and bargaining on the water. Unbelievable experience. You can get clothes to cosmetics, fruits to vegetables, and many more beyond comparison. I took some of the traditional kurtas of Thailand and some dried food items to bring back with me in India. The souvenirs were all managed by cutting on my budget. So it all was a great deal. There was a little deck used as a sanctuary for local birds and animals. So what I understood at the end of that day’s journey that it was not at all the market it was the culture and the people who were more important. The place is used to fuse the emotion of the people. I believe everyone should have a go to a place like that.
On my return I went to my fruit seller,( let me introduce her) who was a teenage girl around 17 years of age, and had the most beautiful smile in the world. We discovered her counter on the third day of our visit in the evening, when I went out in search of fruits for Mohit. I really thanked him for that a several times after that! She became a part of my journey till the end. The Coconut water, Papaya and watermelon were different .I never had that great taste in any fruit ever before. It could be the love of the fruit seller, orelse it could be the soil of the place ! I never bothered much as long as everything went well.
She told us to visit the temple of Wat Pho. So before we left the place we visited there .Through the towering traffic of usual morning hours it was a feat to achieve. The grand palace is magnificent and the temple is beyond my level of words. The great structure of reclining Buddha exemplifies his ideologies in a more physical way. Who so ever visits Bangkok must visit this grand shrine. The gargantuan structure of Buddha requires a more pristine atmosphere. Being a follower of Buddha I just sank in the holy stratosphere under the shrine. The temple opens at 8 AM and closes around 5:00 PM. My experience was divine. The crowd of tourists could be more gentle but in a place like that every one has his /her own expressions out of precise feelings. So I couldn’t blame anyone for being excited.
My last days of Summer in Thailand were spent on different corners of Bangkok. My usual days of teaching in community centers were over and I was free to choose my lanes even in day times.
I shopped for last two days. If anyone who has a little knowledge about shopping in India, could do well in Thailand. My friend Mohit is an architect of bargaining. So I always let him lead in the market.
Vijay took us to Chatuchak market. Chatuchak: world’s largest weekend market and Thailand’s biggest. It is a market which has more than 15000 stalls and some 26 sections. A jaw dropping experience for all of us. It was a night to remember. We reached there around 9 PM. Believe me I had no such experience of mid night market ever before. I saw it all. We had bargained with ladies . We were successful in cracking through great deals(Only according to us).I purchased some hundreds of wrist bands. Tee shirts and hand bags were attractive enough for not to have in the list. After all the shopping we had a great sumptuous meal. The cashew chicken and Chrysanthemum tea were icing on the cake!After a long time when I recall chatuchak market I could not forget the experience of different kinds.When you visit chatuchak don’t let go the hands of your near one..Frankly speaking after all the major exploration we had to explore Mohit at the end. Yes , you guys are right.We lost him then in search of Mohit Vijay lost his Debit Card. It was only extreme adventure that was on the card.I was just the beneficiary of all the fun.My friend ,poor Vijay,found Mohit from a restroom. Funny side of it was that he could not find his Debit card.
After an unbelievable experience at night we were all set to leave Bangkok. To live well in a place, you have to leave your past behind. Thailand has lot to offer to them who is not a stereotype. Before I left the hotel room when I did a little retrospect I found that I was really going to miss most of the things that I could not take with me. Of course I had to leave the most beautiful smile in the world behind !Then when the girl from the reception gave us a call we understood that taxi had arrived. It took us 40 minutes to reach the airport .The shrinking hotel and the very known shopping centers at the backdrop strapped me with my rising emotions. Mohit helped me with his mature statement,” Buddy we will come back again, probably next year. What you say?”
The memory continues……