Heading Home

Posted by lena on July 13th, 2007 filed in Thailand

This will be the final entry in my Thailand travel blog as I leave for America tonight.  I have really enjoyed sharing my experiences with everyone reading this journal and talking some of you about them through e-mail and comments.  I have finally reached the point where I am ready to go home.  Even as I write this, though, I’m thinking of all the things that I will miss – Thai massages, heat (I know that I’ve complained about it, but I really love never being cold), the food, the smells of food – everywhere – down every little ally and street corner.  Because it is so hot here, most restaurants are open to the street with some sort of canopy hanging over them to shield them from the torrential downpours that occasionally hit the area.  Street vendors set up along every free square inch of street space (making walking quite hazardous), and the smells fill the air.  Thai peppers, curries, tropical fruit mixed with dirt, grease, and pollution.  I absolutely love it!

These last few days have been busy.  After our diving adventures, Adam and I decided to take a tour of the island (we had been there two weeks, it was about time).  We crowded into the ubiquitous minivans dedicated to carting tourists around the island and finally made it to grandmother and grandfather rock.  We also visited one of the water falls on the interior of the island, and watched a monkey go up a tree to get a coconut (although I felt guilty watching this as I know that the monkeys are not well treated).  We learned how to make coconut milk and explored the port town of Nathon town.  It was a nice tour, but nothing could compare with the diving adventure – so I think that I felt a little let down.

We departed the island on Thursday deciding to travel by train this time for a new experience.  After a 3 hour boat ride back to the main land, we boarded the train in our second class, air conditioned, sleeper car.  It was an experience.  The seats folded down so that you essentially had a perfectly flat bed to sleep on – although how anyone could sleep when you felt like you were on a roller coaster at Disneyland is beyond me.  I kept waking up throughout the night terrified that the train was going to derail and throw us off the tracks.  On top of that, the train operators assumed that because we were in an air conditioned car that we must like the cold.  I think it was 19 degrees Celsius (again, I don’t know the conversion, but it was cold).  I had on every layer that I could think of – tank top, tee shirt, sarong – and was still freezing.  I really didn’t pack for cold weather.  Our train took 14 hours to arrive in Bangkok and got us there around 7am.  Being the adventuresome travellers that we are, Adam and I decided to stay in a different area of Bangkok for our last night.  We found a budget hotel in the guide book that looked good and headed there.

Our new area of town is much more central, and not geared nearly as much towards backpackers as Banglampoo.  We found a mall near our hotel and were astonished by how cheep everything was.  These were brand name clothes in an air conditioned building selling for a third of what they would go for in the states.  The only exception to this was the tech mall. Adam had heard about a mall that was full of tech item (computers, cameras, hard drives…) and we sought it out.  At first it seamed like his wet dream.  6 levels of nothing but wires, gadgets, and computer equipment.  We soon found out, however, that tech gear is just as expensive here as it is in the states.  I thought poor Adam was going to cry.

This is our last day in Thailand, and I plan on eating as much good food as possible before getting on that plane tonight.  We essentially have 34 hours of traveling ahead of us, if you factor in the 12 hour layover in South Korea.  I was going to meet some of my students there, but I think that I am going to be so tired from traveling that I might just find a cozy spot in the airport and sleep.  I miss you all and can’t wait to see (some of) you when I get back.  Thank you for sharing this adventure with me.

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