24 Hours in Bangkok: The Hospital Edition

24 Hours in Bangkok: The Hospital Edition

Exactly one week after I’d left to volunteer in Chiang Rai, I was back in Bangkok. Only instead of being surrounded by drunk backpackers and food vendors, I was surrounded by three women in surgical gowns and an elderly Thai doctor. One woman walked over to me and smiled (well, I assumed she was smiling under her face mask, as I wanted comfort at the moment). She told me she was going to begin the sedation process. I must have skipped this chapter in my guidebook. After taking my malaria pill on the first day of my trip, I woke up feeling like something was caught in my throat. The lump developed into a searing pain in my chest and, after three days, I could barely eat or drink. I emailed my doctor in DC and she explained that since I didn’t take my medicine with water, the pill probably got stuck and caused an ulcer. She put me on something to reduce stomach acid and said I should feel better in 48 hours. But I just got worse. At every meal, some variety of freshly made Thai food in the dining hall would try to lure me in: basil and chicken swimming in a creamy white coconut curry; spicy sautéed eggplant with red chiles; banana mango bread soaked in coconut milk. As I heated up a can of imported Campbell’s chicken broth, I apologized to them. I love you, but when we’re together it hurts. You make me cry every day. I’ve got to fix myself first. Wait for me. After six days, I decided it was time to...
24 Hours in Bangkok

24 Hours in Bangkok

I woke up on my first day in Bangkok before the sunrise. Jet lag and adrenaline had gotten the best of me for most of the night and I’d hardly slept. I grabbed my camera and peaked through my curtains to do some early morning people watching. No one seemed to mind the crazy lady in the window taking pictures of them at 6am. Three women brought out baskets and sat in a circle tossing peels of something into a giant bowl. Cars, scooters, and tuk tuks slowly started to flood the tiny street. I opened the window and the air smelled like warm fruit and exhaust…decided it was best not to inhale too deeply. I only had one day in the city before heading to Chiang Rai, so I took the ferry up the river to visit some of the temples. With some helpful advice from the hotel staff, I was able to avoid the ticket booth with the giant english sign BUY TICKETS HERE, and pay a third of the price for the local boat. I felt a small [giant, huge, did a dance] victory at outsmarting the other tourists on their fancy boat. After twenty minutes on the river, I got off at my stop and made my way to the entrance of the Wat Pho Temple, home of the famous Reclining Buddha. It is very large, very gold, and very relaxed, just as you might imagine.  It’s also impossible to take a picture of in its entirety. So the picture to the left is of a different set of more photogenic statues. After a few hours...
Arriving in Bangkok: A little more brave, a little less chicken

Arriving in Bangkok: A little more brave, a little less chicken

My heart is racing with excitement. I stand motionless in a sea of people. No one else seems awestruck by the lights, sounds, and smells that meld around me. But I am elated. I have finally arrived. The Bangkok International Airport Baggage Claim Area #7. Seriously. That’s how I felt when I got to the airport. Despite having been in plenty of airports in foreign countries before, the fact that I was finally in Thailand, after all those months of agonizing and planning, thrilled me. I was jet-lagged, dirty, and purely happy. Before leaving, I was anything but happy. I was terrified that I wasn’t brave enough to travel alone. I’d never done it before. I’d never been to Southeast Asia before. My doubts nearly floored me as I boarded the plane. But 20 hours later, I got my backpack and headed into the pick-up area feeling confident for the first time. One of my biggest insecurities was that I was arriving very late and would have to take a taxi to the hotel alone. Not that taxi drivers are in the habit of kidnapping people, but I felt sure that as a WOMAN ALONE AT NIGHT, something bad was bound to happen. But my driver was perfectly nice. We both commented on how hot it was (super very hot) and set off into the city. At one point, we exited the highway and drove into a fairly deserted gas station. No lights on, a few abandoned cars, slasher music in the background. All my confidence drained as I was sure this was the part where I got kidnapped. But, as...
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