Have you ever been to a place so amazing that you can almost physically feel your mind being blown?
My first experience of this was moving to New York City when I was barely 18. Coming from a somewhat dreary California suburb, I’d never really experienced the buzzing vivacity of a big city like New York. It felt so completely alive. I was like Dorothy entering the colorful world of oz.
Though I’ve been to many beautiful cities and places since, I don’t think anything has compared to the novelty of that feeling. Not until I arrived in Bangkok.
First, the food. Oh, the food. Many places in the world have great food, but Thailand is like a whole other planet, that’s how advanced their food culture is. There is food everywhere you look, people are eating everywhere you turn, and it is all incredible. We often brag in portland that the food here is great everywhere, even in bars. Bangkok runs laps around all of that. If you follow me on twitter or Instagram, you know how blissed out I was there.
I think food says a lot about a culture. In this case, it seems to reflect a certain warmth, openness, and vivacity. There are hustlers and tricksters, to be sure, but for some reason the city seems to lack a certain meanness of spirit that you find in other big cities. People don’t give you the hairy eyeball when you walk down the street. I’ve never felt such a conscious feeling of not being judged.
The temples astounded me. In the last year or two I have been learning a lot about Buddhism, and specifically practices of Theravada Buddhism, and being able to simply sit in these temples and contemplate the ideas I’ve absorbed felt restorative and strengthening. I can’t tell you how beautiful they are.
I should probably just let my photos do some of the talking.
No one told me there would be these awesome and distinctive cats everywhere! All the kitties in Thailand seemed to be small, wiry, extremely short haired, and often without tails. It was hard to tell which were feral, actually, because they were all so friendly and laid back. They obviously get a lot of food from people.
I liked Chiang Mai even more than Bangkok.
The markets in Chiang Mai were absolutely incredible, and where I bought all of my fabric souvenirs. The fabric on top is probably my favorite, four meters of a gorgeous hand woven cotton-silk ikat. If I had more room in my suitcase, I would have brought home enough for a whole fabric store, that’s how much selection there was.