Before I start, here are a few things about Thailand.
When you look at pictures of the beaches the skies are always blue, but the truth is that most of the times the skies are grey. On sunny days the sun is fierce and it’s tough to walk outside.
The second thing, is that from our short time spent there it seems to me as if the gender roles are different than in the West. Men wear feminine clothes, and women have jobs that are considered manly (such as construction, or driving the garbage truck).
On the other hand I can’t tell what is really going on on the aspects of social status, salaries, domestic violence, and education.
There is a lot of prostitution and sex tourism, which is never good.
The third thing is, that most working people I saw looked professional ar whatever they were doing, no matter how small the job was.
It made me think about the days I’ve worked in part-time jobs as a student, thinking I deserve something better. I’ve realized it’s not about what kind of job you have, and what others think about it, but about being really present in what you do, and doing it on the best side.
Even if I’d rather be somewhere else.
We left the island the same way we got there.
When the pickup truck came to pick us up there was just a family of indifferent Frenchmen in there, and it filled up as we went on.
On the way to the docks we said goodbye to the jungle with the green leaves and the red ground, the town, the elephants.
An American dude with a grey beard and a guitar case sat next to me, almost dropping it in the bumps and sharp curves of the road.
We had iced coffee and fried bananas at the docks, and looked at the rain.
The ferry set sail as the rain stopped, and we saw the island going farther and farther away until the boat arrived at the mainland with a loud creak. We went down the boat’s slippery steps with our heavy bags.
At the station, we waited with the lady with the frog-shoes that was there the last time. The bus to Bangkok drove through the same roads, the same towns and villages, some people riding their bicycles under the light rain.
We stopped at the same station where we stopped on the way to the island and spoke to Tom, who also went there and back on the same days as we did. He talked mostly about his digestive system, and about the Burger Ranch in the Khaosan.
There was heavy traffic near Bangkok so it took a while. The bus had a small TV set and they showed American Sniper, and then some local music videos.
We finally arrived at 7 PM and looked for a hotel in the pouring rain. After trying some places here and there we found a small hotel that looked nice and clean.
After we settled down in our room we went back to the streets and had Pad-Thai with shrimps and spring rolls that we got from a nice young woman with a booth, and then a yummy coconut ice cream that was served inside the fruit.
I was glad going back there, even though the Khaosan is pretty sleazy.
The days at the island were wonderful and the nights were so dark and quiet, and lonely. The memory of it was magical.
On the other hand, Khaosan is too noisy to think, full of music and life, and there is great street-food everywhere.
One thing troubles me about Thailand, and it’s that I still have a feeling that I’ve missed a big part of it. Not only geographically.
At no point a got a chance to speak with locals, and I’ve had a feeling that everything around is scenery set for tourists. I do not really know anything about how it’s like to live there, are the people happy, how are they truly feeling about the many tourists. There was an open and friendly vibe, but also something impenetrable.
And maybe, we didn’t try hard enough.
The next morning we walked out of the Khaosan and had strong and tasty iced coffee from a woman who worked with one hand and held a baby with the other one, and afterward ate noodles soup with crabs at a small restaurant.
Then we wanted to get out of our area and see more of the city, so we took a bus to the MBK – a big colorful mall with six floors. On one of these floors there is a crowded marketplace.
We sat at a cafe with many crazy pastries in different colors and tried a black bread with lots of sugar and butter, accompanied with black tea.
We walked between tiny and unique clothes for children, shoes made out of buttons only, stores that only sell scarves, incense, perfumes, cheap or expensive jewelry, high and low fashion.
A huge department store captured us inside and I was very enthusiastic from the stationary part, where I bought funny pens and a bunch of stuff I don’t need.
The entrances and exits of the building are in the tops of bridges that are spread upon the highways, where the bus stops are.
We got another iced coffee from a middle-aged man who ran a booth in the main street with his daughter and came back.
We spent the rest of the day lazily, between beers at the pool and strolling outside. We bought some clothes and earings in the streets and when we got hungry we sat at a Pad-Thai restaurant with colorful chairs.
Our last day in Thailand began with noodles soup with tofu, meat slice, and unfamiliar crispy things. the place was run only by women, and the only male around was a toddler that crawled or played on the floor.
After a cup of coffee we went back to the MBK, since the day before we didn’t take much money and needed to buy some things.
On the bus back I told Roni that it’s been a week since we arrived in Thailand, but it feels like a month. We decided to celebrate it with lunch where we ate when we just arrived.
We drank again the sweet orange ice tea that they make and ate rice and noodles with pork and then went on to explore the city on foot.
We found a place that looked like spices and dried leaves shop, but also had a comics section on the back. We reached at a park by the river, where young man and woman sat on the grass and played music with home-made string instruments. A child collected flowers for his grandma who was watching him, and a western man in sharwals was meditating.
In the afternoon we came back to the pool, talked with our families and looked for a hotel in Hanoi, our next destination.
In the evening, after we’ve been through the whole area, we sat at the hotel’s pub and had mojitos. Next to us sat two young German girls that told us it was also their last evening in Bangkok because they are going back home tomorrow.
I thought how fun it is to be on our side, before everything. How many things had happened until now, and our trip is only beginning.