I didn’t know how much I relied on the Roman alphabet until it was gone. Which way is Bangkok? How do you say the name of the road our hostel is on? Where do we get off the bus??? In all my previous my experiences I found the answers to these questions in words. Written words, spoken words, long unrecognizable words that feature familiar letters that can be sounded out.
Take away the words…then add a frenzy of activity amid stifling heat, spin yourself around ten times and you’ve got Bangkok. The city is simultaneously gritty and gaudy and every bit the culture shock we expected. Sacred Wats are glittered and gilded over every inch. Monks robed in bright orange sit next to me on the ferry. Food sold on the street is even better than in the restaurants and an entire meal costs a dollar. We can actually read our guidebook’s shopping section!
We’ve ravaged the Chatuchak Weekend Market, marveled at the size of the reclining Buddha at Wat Pho, knelt before the Emerald Buddha at the Grand Palace and bravely sampled the wonders of Thai cuisine (with hot sauce, please).
Bangkok is as exhausting as it is exhilarating. Getting the hang of the transportation system alone is something to be proud of. It’s a place worth experiencing…in small doses.
(And family: You can thank the Baht for your souvenirs. I hope you like Thai stuff.)