It's the big things that are hardest to boil down into Three Things. We spent 2 weeks in Thailand it was amazing. No play-by play this time. It was just great. Three things I loved:
Thai food is effing amazing and people who eat in Thai restaurants in America only know the half of it. It's SO cheap. And SO delicious. And it's EVERYWHERE. Best thing about Bangkok- I always say when people asked me what I thought of the city (that, and 'there are gems everywhere: Ornate temples hidden by skyscrapers, a beautiful vista, park, sunset, building, distracted by 8 million people, a ton a pollution, and people everywhere)- is STREET FOOD. You can't go 10 feet without there being someone selling you something to eat, something delicious, and cheap.
Meatballs, fish balls, crepes, waffles, salad, omelets, ice cream, soup, rice dishes, veggie dishes (in a box or bag), smoothies, iced chocolate (in a cup or bag), meat skewers, rice blocks, deep fried everything, fresh iced cut fruit. It's the way I eat: grazing, snack by snack - some heartier than others) with an occasional full meal.
The full meals were pretty dreamy as well (not surprising). Highlights:
- The most delicious fried chicken I've ever eaten, cooked by my friend Oh's mom in honor of us and Chinese New Year (not sure which trumped, honestly) (secret ingredient: white pepper!)
- The most delicious Indian food I've ever eaten (It was technically Bangladeshi, but it was naan and curry and full of crack, I'm sure.
- Crepes, Roti, waffle sticks. Breakfast treats all day.
People I taught, people I served with, people I met later (and a random exchange with a girl I never met but who knew who I was because she served after me but before all my MTC missionaries. And happened to be sitting behind us at the train station, heading to random corner of the country. [" You're headed to Ubon? That's random! What takes you there?" "I was a missionary for the LDS church..." "I was a missionary for the LDS church!" "Are you Sister Knudson?" WTF]. In (a wholly dissatisfying to me and my future memories) summary:
- P Oh. The first woman I taught with all my heart. I LOVE HER. Not in the saccharine way, in the 'my soul cares for her soul' way.
- P Ae and P Tik. The gruesome twosome. Both my companions, best friends, always there for encouraging words- as well as both literal and figurative noogies. They razz me plenty but I know they love me :)
- P Napa. That investigator who sacrificed it all, got baptized, got married, sealed, and is now expecting a baby and moving to America. Every missionary's dream investigator. Seeing her Happily Ever After is a regular delight.
- A random American friend. Who I dated briefly when I came back to visit, who I run into occasionally (this time on street, when neither of us even live in BKK). There's something wonderful about being on good terms with a romantic interest that didn't pan out. Connecting on the same things you did before, as friends this time, not too marred by history.
- Sailing companions. Jamie and Higgy met us and were woonderful sailing crew. There's not too many people who I'd commit to a week in very close quarters, but the Karera's were breezy and fun, set to tune of Calypso (see above).
3. Warm wind and peaceful sitting, enjoying the sites, sounds, and smells that are uniquely Thailand.
- In Lumpini Park, watching giant monitor lizards
- Around Victory Monument, which has the best shopping, even with government protester tents
- Sailing - there is really no sensation of calm quite to compare with warm tropical air, being carried by wind
- Waterfall climbing in the country
- In the sun, at the pool or on the beach
- On jumbo planes and regional carriers (with hi-so treats!), trains (scratch that, we missed our train because I can't tell time in Thai), automobiles (candy-colored cabs), motorcycle taxis (hold on for your life), tuk tuks, ferries, a 38 ft sailboat, crammed Zodiac inflatable boat, and of course, on foot. And by snorkel.