This place is mad! I tell ya, it makes me just that much more anxious to get home after being here in Bangkok. It's just manic here. Kho San Road especially, but I must say, the shopping is phenomenal!
So I took a series of vehicles to make sure that I would get to BKK in time and not miss my flight. I started in Luang Prabang with a bus that took me to the capital city of Laos Vientiane which is where I wrote to you from last. From there, I rode in a tuk tuk, and then in the back of a truck to cross over the border in northern Thailand. Bangkok is central (which is quite a ways if you check the map) so I decided to take the sleeper train from the northern border to Bangkok, which was and always is a great move. I took one in the beginning of my trip from Bangkok north, and now I was set to do just about the opposite. It's so fun and relaxing, you get your very own little bed and there's food and drink service as well. I met some friends to hang with this time, so that made it doubly fun!
We arrived in Bangkok at 9am and went our separate ways to find accommodations and more importantly showers! I decided pretty much as soon as I got into town that I wouldn't stay the night in a guest house, but rather use the money I would spend on accommodations for Christmas gifts and a last dose of Thai food. I decided that sleeping at the airport was a good, cheap and efficient option, and I was game! It actually turned out to be quite fun, but more on that later!
I was happy to be on my own for the day as I needed a day to collect my thoughts and of course do some power Christmas shopping on the legendary Kho San Road (famous for great shopping at great prices), and I didn't want anyone to get in my way. After storing my back and buying a shower at a local guest house, I spent the rest of the morning shopping. I was on a mission, and on no body's schedule but my own, which felt great. I went to the same shop 2 or even 3 times, and really put a lot of thought into my purchases. Around lunchtime, I was pretty shopped out and took the local bus to Lumphini Park to eat the other half of my sandwich from breakfast. It was perfectly quiet and tranquil, the ideal escape from the madness of tourists in Bangkok. I took what I thought was the last bus back to my bag spot, and ended up at the end of the bus route, necessitating an expensive cab ride back.
Grabbed some dinner with a friend that I had now met up with 3 times along my journeys and had a really great conversation about recovering alcoholics (which he is) and passed the time rather quickly. After dinner, he wanted me to come with him to the tattoo parlor to help him confirm the perfect tribal tattoo for in between his shoulder blades (lame, but I played along with my teeth clenched the whole time!)
We said goodbye, and I headed to the bus stop where I met a lovely girl named Laura from England who was in the same boat as me with the airport-guesthouse situation. We hit it off instantly and stayed up till 3am in the airport eating Asian Ramen noodles and drinking a few cold ones. I slept for 2 or 3 hours on the bench seats, and hopped on the plane to Taipei where I sit now awaiting my connecting flight back to the good old U S of A!
I can't believe it's over. So much has happened in such a short time. I met some amazing people, saw incredible places, had life changing experiences and suffered a rather large cultural slap in the face...all for my own good. Traveling is so important. I urge each and every one of you to do everything in your power to travel as much as you can. If you want to really open your eyes, ears and heart up to the world, it's the only way.
I've already got my next trip in the works...more on that later!
See you all real soon!