Time seems to fly by fast around here. I am now three weeks in Thailand, but it really does not feel that way. I guess that is a good sign, as there has not been a single day that did not bring new exciting experiences yet. There are roughly three more weeks left, so this might be the right time for looking back on the tings that happened so far.
Where It Started
When I came to Thailand I tired not to have too many expectations about the whole trip so that I can just let it come to me. Consequently, I did not experience any major disappointments yet. On the contrary, I am still fascinated by the land and the friendly people in it.
In the first days of my trip the tour was pretty organized. It started at the airport where I was picked up by my tour guide for Bangkok, brought to the hotel and on the next day got a tour through Bangkok. It continued that way in Chiang Mai where again everything was organized beforehand. I enjoyed these first days as I did not have to care about too many things and just could start getting acclimatized to land and culture. At the same time, however, the first events went by that fast that I have a hard time to remember everything now. For example, there is no way I could reconstruct the way we took on our tour through Bangkok. Then I went to the night market in Chiang Mai and yet I was not able to connect it to that city until I went there again during my weekend with the volunteering program.
My first steps that I took alone were in Chiang Rai after arriving there by bus. Actually, I was not alone; George and Lydia, a couple from England, were with me as they booked the same tour. So they actually will accompany me until I arrive back in Bangkok on August 7th. At the first moment it was a bit strange to have no guide anymore, but we managed to find our way to the hotel and from there on, it was quite nice to have all the freedom we wanted. We spent one more day in Chiang Rai before we joined the Mirror Foundation to begin our volunteering work.
Where I am Now
Right now I still with the Mirror Foundation although my volunteering work will end this weekend. I am already a bit sad that I will have to leave this group as it really was a lot of fun working and spending time with all this people, namely my Outdoor colleagues and other volunteers, the friendly staff and all of the villagers we worked together with. I feel that during the last two weeks I got quite a good portion of Thai culture. This starts at trivial things like taking your shoes off when entering a home or temple and using only a spoon for almost all your meals. I still love the food around here, too. At the foundation and at the home stays there rice in almost every meal and more meat that I am used to eat. In restaurants you also can get noodles or soups, of course. All of that is very tasty, sometimes spicy and I guess it is always healthy food. I even got used to the myriads of small shops and food places that you can find everywhere. At the first moment I was a bit afraid going to one of these as it sometimes feels like just eating in someone’s living room. That is gone now and I enjoy looking for new places now. Only three days ago I had my cheapest meal so far in one of these very small “restaurants” where I had lunch for just 25 Baht (40 Baht ~ 1 €). Oh, and the fruits around here are just delicious. I never had such a sweet pineapple like you get them here around every corner.
There are few things, however, that I am not quite used to yet. For example, I still have a hard time with the left-hand traffic here. Also my Thai language skills are poor, if not non existing. I just got the “Hello” and “Thank You” and that is all right now. The weather, on the other side, is not that much of a problem. Of course it rains a lot, but that is mostly just for a short time and after the rain there is blue sky again. Until now it just happened once in Chiang Rai that it rained for a whole day and night (which turned the area in front of the guest house into a lake).
Where the Journey will Continue
Three weeks are gone, so I have almost another three weeks left. After my time at the Mirror Foundation I will go back to Bangkok with stops in Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai. After that, however, I cannot exactly tell you what I will be doing then. I probably will spend a few more days in Bangkok to see a bit more of this fascinating city and then do another trip, either to Thailand’s south or to the regions near Bangkok. Maybe there will be the opportunity to meet up again with some of the volunteers, or I find something to do for myself. As soon as I know more I will let you know.
To sum up this somewhat lengthly article: My time in Thailand has been great so far and I enjoyed it a lot. And then again, I have another three weeks of this awesome trip left. Yeah!