Wow – where to begin?
The heat and humidity. It hits you like a wall, especially when you aren’t used to it. It envelopes you like another skin. I’d forgotten the feel of being totally warm, totally immersed in a thin layer of perspiration. It warms you to the core. After over a year of never really being warm, except in dry, overheated buildings, it felt like a homecoming. I love it. David says my years living in the Middle East have ruined me.
The colour. Thais love bright colours, it seems. And it is everywhere, the gleaming psychedelic mix of pink and green and yellow on the buses and taxis. The decoration on tuk-tuks, billboards and the street-side shops that crowd pedestrians on so many of the sidewalks. The small alters along the streets and in so many yards. The riot of bougainvillea along the canals and other flowers everywhere.
The buildings – huge skyscrapers all around. You really only get a true feeling for just how big this city is as dusk settles into dark and the lights come on – as far as you can see. It’s quite amazing to look down from a tall building, or across the city from the 37th floor. And when you get out and about, the mix of tall and stately in close proximity to small and tattered looking makes you really look again.
The motorcycles – they are everywhere. They weave in and out of the traffic in alarming proximity to cars, buses and other vehicles. They all filter to the head of the pack at red lights. There are motorcycle taxis, bikes with whole families on board….. And the traffic jams are insane.
The smiles – as your eyes clear from the confusion of so much going on around you, you see smiling, happy people. People who will strike up a conversation with you as you sit in the shade for a moment away from the blazing 38 C sunshine. The person bringing you your plate of rice or noodles. Busy people, rushing of the where ever – but they still look happy….. maybe even content.