1. Sweating is a given. Don’t even try to fight it.
2. You can buy just about anything off the streets. Curry, raw fish, fresh vegetables, ‘street food’ to go, underwear, clothes, and, unfortunately, people.
3. Bangkok is a feast for the senses. Walking down the street you are almost assualted by the feeling of the heat, smells of burning incense and food cooking, sight of brightly colored orchids and flowers for the shrines, and the sounds, almost deafening in certain areas, of cicadas in the trees and gridlocked traffic of tuk tuks, motorcycles, taxis and cars jamming the streets.
4. Smiling at people can get an amazing response. This morning I went for an early walk along the streets near the hotel. As I passed by, clearly a ‘farong’ (foreigner) both in my complexion and my dress, I noticed something. If I just walked by, people tended to ignore me. But, if I smiled at them, almost immediately I got a huge smile back. I may not speak much Thai, but a lot can be communicated in that simple gesture.
5. I love Thai food. Yesterday’s “7 Baat per minute (Thai currency, about 35 Baat to $1) luncheon buffet was a delightful feast. At first I thought it meant that if you could fill your plate from the buffet in under a minute, you’d only pay 7 Baat (about 20 cents). Then I realized, the timer was set (on an actual time clock, like when you clock in for work) when you got up to get your food, and was stopped when you were done eating. The five of us ended up paying about 200 Baat each to stuff ourselves full of curry, rice, sashimi, tuna rolls, and dessert, or, about $6.
6. Globalization is alive and well. Just yesterday we passed numerous 7-11s, Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, Kentucky Fried Chicken, A&W root beer. Piracy of movies, cds, software, and all sorts of electronic devices is also alive and well, with an entire five-story mall selling such goods.
7. Often developing countries can be more ‘green’ than we are in the US. I’m guessing this is out of necessity, rather than ‘environmentalism.’ For instance, in the hotel room, the lights and the AC will not turn on without the room key in a special slot. That means, when you leave, you can’t help but turn them all off. For us, it is almost unnoticable when we participate in what I call, “The Ease of Waste.”