journey to the east
With the exception of Turkey and Israel – hardly countries that come to mind when one thinks about traveling around Asia – D had never set foot on the world’s largest continent until his recent trip to Thailand.
The impetus for the journey was a friend’s birthday party. His wife had spent six months planning the surprise, corralling about a dozen friends into making the trip to Bangkok from half a dozen different countries around the world.
At its best, travel helps stretch the imagination, push the limits of one’s comfort zone, and provide a sense of discovery – a spark that is usually missing from our humdrum lives. This trip, though short, certainly accomplished that.
English proved only minimally useful in a couple crucial situations, and the other languages D speaks were even less so, which led to a handful of comical interactions. There was a lot of smiling and genuine laughter in lieu of verbal exchanges, which was heartening, even in situations when the ability to communicate clearly was crucial (i.e. taxi ride after a red-eye flight to an unknown location in an unfamiliar city). That said, Thailand is part of a well-trod South East Asia tourist circuit, and it’s pretty easy to get by with English in the country’s tourist spots.
D did not make it out of the capital, but even the few days he spent in Bangkok called to mind his backpacking days and made him wish he could simply pack up a few essentials, grab a book and camera, and hit the road for a few months.