From the moment we landed and our plane set foot on the tarmac, you can feel the overwhelming sensation of relaxation. The airport is very modern and beautiful. Decorated with large golden beautiful statues throughout, you can immediately get the feeling that this is some place very special. The Thai people are all seem to be friendly and willing to help out a tourist in any way. Even though it was approximately 5 Am are spirits were up and we were happy to be there.
The Marriott was once again offered a wonderful night of luxury and comfort. It was located in a nicer, posher area of Bangkok. The streets are clean and beautiful. Everywhere you look seems like art. As you walk down the street, even in a busy city like this one, you can help but to acknowledge the serenity, peace and warmth the air and surroundings seem to radiate. It is definitely a very spiritual place. It seems as if on every street you encounter a perfectly manicured shrub or several statues of their Gods. At these spots people come to pray for health, love, prosperity (all depending on the God) and they bring offerings such as beautiful bright, fragrant flowers and pray with incense which is believed to please and calm the Gods. There prayers are deep and solemn and you can feel their hopes sent onto the Gods before them.
As luck would have it we arrived on the first night of the Chinese New Year and the second night of the weekend market. Although in Thailand you will mainly find Thai people (obviously) there is also a large Chinese population. So, Alessandro and I ventured on a tuk tuk (rickshaw) into Chinatown to take part in the festivities. It seems as if every tuk tuk driver is unknowingly to us participating in some type of race to the finish an will only drive at incredibly high and dangerous speeds.
I took a video clip of the drive to give you and idea... but it really doesn't do it justice...
Everywhere you went there was some type of celebration of dance, singing, concerts, or fair to pay homage to the holiday. The streets of Chinatown were decorated with red (used to scare away the evil dragon- he is scared of the color red) and loud popping firecrackers went off at midnight consecutively down each street. The Chinese New year actually lasts four days. The days are rendered for relaxation, travel and festivities. We were very fortunate to have been there.
Once our stay at the Marriott was over, it was time for a hostel. We stayed in an area called Khaoson Road which is heavily trenched with backpackers from all over the world. The streets are cramped with all types of vendors selling cloths, bathing suits, DVDs, ipod music uploads, and of course food- delectable foods!
Thus far, Bangkok hold the number one place for the most delicious street food. As you walk down the street your senses are overwhelmed with the smells of dumplings, fresh pineapple, and corn and fresh fruit juices. With little carts for eggs rolls, pad Thai, and chicken skewers one can feast like a King for only a few baht- barley even a few dollars. Yes, we did a lot of shopping!! The prices were much better than India and the quality was higher. At these prices we could afford to leave a few items behind, although there are stands that "buy anything" so chances are we will try to sell a few things off- every baht counts! (no pun intended for you Count Dracula Sesame Street fans- ah-ah-ah-ahhhhh)
The streets are filled with little laid back drinking and eating holes decorated with Christmas lights and beach feel.
At night, the more personalized art street vendors would come and display their work, I ended up buying a beautiful bright Buddha painting which I mailed back home- I love it! Even in Bangkok, it is not unusual to share the streets with elephants- several nights in a row we would encounter them- some were clearly part of a show, while others were just being taken out for a spin.
While we were dining in Mumbai we struck up a conversation with a couple next to us. We mentioned our next stop was Thailand and they had just come back... they mentioned a place to us that was also reccommended to them by chance and they couldn't stop talking about what a great decision it was to go- Alessandro and I decided it was fate and decided t ocheck it out!! Tropical islands- here we come! Will keep you posted until the next time... besitos XOXOOXOX Cindy