Life was quite the rush when we arrived in Thailand with just 100-150usd to our names. Incredibly we were able to find work to sustain us. This adventure looked different as for the first time in our relationship we learned how to be bored together.
We arrived in Bangkok via taxi, train, bus, and plane. I have never waited in a customs like as long as we did that afternoon at Suvarnabhumi Airport. We were just taking things in stride at this point. You see, we had just opted out of the rest of our organized trip with a group of 55 or so other people, and now we found ourselves on our own adventure. While traveling out of Africa, I had successfully updated and submitted my resume for a potential teaching job in Thailand, and on our layover in Singapore, Kathryn had done the same. We arrived to Bangkok with the news that somehow we had both attained jobs. So essentially. on a Wednesday morning we woke up at Livingstone Backpackers hostel in Zambia, Africa.... and on Monday we arrived via night bus to Pua, Thailand with teaching gigs thanks to my cousin Randy who hooked us up.
Friday we had landed in Bangkok, just in time to celebrate Halloween (Saturday). My cousin Randy had previously planned to be in Bangkok for the holiday, so he grabbed us a couple hostel beds for our arrival. As we finally went through customs, and then grabbed our baggage we naturally headed to a wireless network stand to get a data plan for my phone (Kathryn's got stolen on a bus in South Africa). We then took what felt like an eternal line of buses to arrive at Sukhumvit Station which was about a quarter mile from Bodega Bangkok, the excellent hostel we crashed at. This quarter mile also felt like eternity as we quickly learned that southern Thailand was rather torrid. We tried to catch up on sleep and adjust to the time difference but I think there was just too much adrenaline as we were in a completely new place, new continent, and new atmosphere. There was still a newness and excitment that Kathryn and I were back together as our organization had previously separated us on different teams. Now we were just on our own. In Asia. Now we could go on dates and stuff like normal humans, you know? When we realized sleeping just wasn't going to happen, we took time to catch our families up on our situation, learn a bit about what Thai food to look for, and learn more about our teacher orientation which was occurring on Sunday.
We went out on our first date in Thailand. We were advised by hostel employees to go around the corner to Bharani. This is when it all clicked that finally Kathryn and I were by ourselves in a new part of the world, on our own schedule. The food here was absolutely phenomenal, especially for people new to Thailand. We absolutely the drinks they had at this place. Simple Lemon Grass, and Lemon Juice beverage. We also got their chicken curry. While I was in the restroom, I noticed a magazine that had listed "Top 10 rooftop bars in Bangkok". This helped me plan the rest of the night as we had a hilarious experience at the Vertigo Grill & Moon bar. Essentially, we arrived at the bar without realizing there was a dress code. But, to our convenience the hostesses said it wasn't a problem as they could provide dress code. They provided me a jacket and dress pants, and Kathryn closed toed shoes. We just went with the flow as it was obviously turning into a pretty hilarious experience at this point. We were taken up to the restaurant and seated at our table. It should be obvious that if you look this place up, you will realize that two people who just escaped Africa with barely anything to their name did not belong in such a chic restaurant. Our plan was to take in the view and order the cheapest appetizers. We knew we were screwed when we realized we were required to both get our own separate entrees which were about 40usd a piece, WAY over budget. Embarrassingly enough we told our attendants that we just realized we weren't that hungry and that we'd start out at the bar. What I haven't told you yet is that everyone else in this place had clothes that actually fit them, for the pants the Thai hostess gave me were about 6 inches too big around my waist. I was holding them up for dear life. We constantly had the feeling like we were both out of place and in the way. We finally decided to give up this rooftop view after Kathryn informed me that my pants had fallen flat to the floor as I was taking in the view. I honestly had no idea why the women next to me had a horrific look on her face until I became aware of this!!!!
We went down about 10 floors to a more laid back bar where we could actually get (overpriced) drinks. Our way back to the hostel looked like us weaving back and forth vigorously between traffic as I honestly felt like our Tuk Tuk driver hated the entire universe. I should have probably asked him to slow down or to just drop us off because it felt like he was trying to have us dead.
Late that night Randy arrived, and we found ourselves carving not a pumpkin but a pineapple! This was one of those moments where it sunk in yet again that we were in a new placed filled with mystery and humidity, a place we had never been before. We experienced the well known Khoa San Road, a rustling stretch of chaoes packed with backpacker folk and other tourists, surrounded by restaurants and janky merchant stands. It really gives you the energy you might expect when arriving in a place like Bangkok. Kathryn bought some fake Ray-Ban's, We experienced a couple "buckets", and we caught glimpses of the red light district which infamously are such huge part of this metropolis. In Bangkok the lines are so blurred, the contrasts between right and wrong so faded. After walking on the road for such a time, we bought some beers from a keg stand on the street and had a seat on some steps of some building. About 20 minutes later one of the police officers who was stationed in the police station came out and said "Excuse me, you cannot just drink alcohol on the Police Station steps!" Though I can now see how that was disrespectful, it just was impossible to even feel like that was wrong with everything else going on around us!
We headed back to the hostel a little earlier than my cousin, saying our goodbyes. We had a big day tomorrow at our teachers orientation, and absolutely had no idea what to expect. This led to The Joys and Challenges of teaching in Thailand.