I have never before left the shores of my home land in my entire life. The farthest I’ve been out of Manila previously had been Cebu and Davao. This trip was full of firsts – first stamp in my passport, first major vacation for the year, first trip taken with my significant other, first time in an international flight, and first time to roam inside in an international airport. It was difficult to hide my being a tourist: I was curiously looking in all different directions almost all the time, and I had this itch to whip out my camera every time I see something different, if only the taxi wasn’t flying down the highway.
Bangkok, Thailand is pretty much like Manila – with people driving on the ‘wrong’ side of the road, with signs in Thai and at times with English sub-scripts, with people looking very much alike yet speaking in a very different language, with the Skyways stretching for miles and miles and in multitudes, and with Buddhist temples scattered all around the city in place of our churches.
Our host was our former colleague from our first job, Adrian and his family, and they were very accommodating enough let us live in their place for four days, gobble up their food and water supply and piggy back off their 1Mbps internet connection. He was also gracious enough to accompany and translate for us as we go around because we had absolutely zero fluency in speaking Thai.
The trip was primarily a shopping trip in the city, so Ann and I hopped around the malls and the bargain hot spots of Bangkok – due to the limited time we spent in the city, we sampled the local cuisine to please our appetites and being the shallow people we are, tasting authentic Thai food (and all its’ spicy glory) was more than enough to satisfy our palettes. We also saw Wat Pho, home to the Temple of the Reclining Buddha and the nearby Grand Palace to see the beauty of Thai culture and its influences. Since we took an early afternoon trip, it was hot and a bit scathing on the skin, but worth it as the sun’s light was great for taking photos.
During the trip, Ann and I got to rest enough and sleep long enough to recharge our spirits. We have been pushing hard at work for the last few months and this change of pace was very much welcomed by our bodies. Since Thailand was an hour behind Manila, the days seemed long for us – which worked pretty much in our favor as we felt we had so much energy to roam around and see the city.
When it was time to go home, we did with a heavy heart – we both agreed that if not for the challenges of living in Bangkok posed to us language-wise, it would be a good enough place to live and work in abroad – we had seen a certain order and regard for authority that we rarely see here, and a very optimistic progress that seems to have been sustained over the years.
Lastly, I just felt happy to get away with Ann and spend time with her to strengthen our bond and our relationship. I feel that in this trip, we were able to find out more about one another’s qualities and quirks, and develop the adjustment, patience and new facets of our personalities to love and understand. This trip was a labor of love and I have no regrets that we made this happen. We hope to come back again and venture deeper into the country and explore its beauty.
Anyway, here are some select snaps from our Bangkok trip: