Last time we chatted, Kara and I were in India and we were floundering. We were trying to decide what the heck to do. Keep pressing forward with the plan, despite being sick and tired, or scuttle the plan and head to Thailand. It wasn’t easy, but ultimately we decided to abandon India and head to Thailand.
We arrived in Bangkok about two weeks ago. At minimum, we hoped for better weather, less chaos and a chance to rest, relax and recuperate from the challenges of India. We were already off to an auspicious start. When we landed in Bangkok, our cab driver helped us with our bags, ran the meter without an argument, and took us directly to our hotel without trying to take us to a bunch of travel agencies or shops.
We were a bit nervous about arriving in Bangkok without a room reservation. I had visions ending up in that Bangkok hostel in The Beach. Although the first couple of places we went were fully booked, we found a brilliant guest house on the third try, complete with free in-room wifi and cable TV. Even better.
Then we went out to eat. We found some pad thai and spring rolls, and that was pretty good. But it started getting real when we met up with our new friends, Daniel and Helene from Canada (they’re behind the excellent travel blog The Backpack Foodie). These guys really know their street food! The first night we met, we went for Thai noodle soup (not pictured) at a restaurant so popular with Bangkok locals that their tables expanded from the sidewalk into the street. There were several times that parking cars reversed within inches of our table! But the soup was awesome. Actually, it was better than awesome. The second night we hung out, they took us for the hottest curry I have ever tasted. It kept getting hotter, even after I was finished eating! (I later discovered that coconut juice is pretty good for tamping down the fire.) I can’t wait to get back to Bangkok to try even more street treats. Daniel has challenged us to try durien, a tropical fruit with spiky skin that supposedly tastes amazing, but the skin smells something akin to a North Jersey landfill. That experience promises to be a post in itself.
After four days of relaxing, wandering Bangkok, and regular meetings with Daniel and Helene for drinks and street food, we left Bangkok for the south of Thailand. More on that to come in future posts, but we had more than our share of sitting on our asses on the beach, we experienced some incredible snorkeling, we found our own little island paradise, and we checked out “Happy Place” — a fishing community in the south Daniel and Helene let us in on. I won’t tell the name out of deference to Daniel’s wishes that we keep Lonely Planet from telling everybody the secret. Mum’s the word!