Bangkok is a great city. I know people think of it as greasy sex clubs and a flurry of fluorescent lights, but I haven’t found it like that at all. Actually, I find it pretty clean for a place that houses 7 million people and its has areas of pristine modernism as well as the old city, which is packed with character. Top it off with glittering temples and palaces that would make Marilyn Munroe dance and you’ve got an impressive destination.
So if I’m singing such praises why did I have a nervous breakdown yesterday? Well I like things in neat little boxes and this city refuses to cooperate. Since landing we’ve had our luggage lost (I was not a happy bunny to have had to deal without skincare for 24 hours), been taken for a ride on a tuk tuk scam (where our rickshaw kept taking us to gem stores and tailors instead of the sites we hired him for), yelled at in Thai for reasons that are beyond me (I really don’t know how immigrants who don’t speak English come to Canada and cope – its been four days and my inability to communicate properly is driving me crazy) and hassled by tour sales person after tour sales person (I know a jobs a job, but its exhausting trying to escape their persistence). Re: I need a lot of cooling fresh coconut water, of which I’ve had 8 young thai coconuts since arriving.
I’m also a person who tries really hard to be sensitive to other cultures and their customs and its stressful when you’re constantly feel like you’re doing something wrong. Rules that are always in my mind: Don’t wear sleeveless tops or shorts to temples, always take off your shoes when entering indoors, never point a foot at someone and especially not at an image of Buddha, wave people over palm facing down not up, women can’t touch monks (I think I may have brushed by one in the market – small eek) and be aware of the social hierarchy of age at all times – bow at elders first.
But yesterday it all came to a head when the cabbie took us to block 130 (aka “soi 130”) instead of number 130. We realized this as he had driven us 20 minutes out of the city, but even after when we realized the miscommunication he kept on driving us further away, insisting that we asked for soi 130. So I freaked out, then he freaked out and Ben freaked out at us freaking out. We later all made up and ended up giggling about it, but this was soon replaced by my fear that our detour would cost us more cash than we had. Sigh. I didn’t cry the, I cried when we got back to our hotel and in my tired stupor fat tears tumbled down my cheeks for no apparent reason. But it was a good cry – it was a resigned cry. One that marked the point of which I will stop fighting the chaos and just go with it. Hopefully this’ll stay with me when I get home – bc all you type A Pittas out there know that on some level the stress I’m feeling while abroad is just an amplified version of what we feel everyday at home: the need to control and have everything tied up in perfect little packages.
Today, I’ve eaten six mangosteen and I’m going for a thai massage. This Pitta is officially on vacation.