Thursday, February 6, 2014

Thailand (Introduction)

Oh, Thailand, I honestly haven't figured out exactly what I think of you…

Thailand is the most contradictory place I've ever been. One moment it is beautiful and the next it is ugly. There are surprises around every corner, and every town/city/beach we went to was different from the one before.

One way I thought to describe this interesting country was by comparing it to other tropical destinations also located in less-developed countries. For example, The Dominican Republic. When visiting the Dominican and staying in an all-inclusive resort you are spoiled from morning to night. Your room is spacious, immaculate, and marble-coated. You are waited on hand and foot, with drinks and food no more than a few steps away at all times. You feel utterly relaxed and taken care of- BUT, there is a feeling of "us" and "them" that doesn't shake. I personally feel guilty for the luxury I am living in and can only guess about how the workers of the resort and their families actually live day-to-day. The real way of life there is something carefully concealed and tucked away from the eyes of the resort guests.
Then there is Thailand. Imagine the same beautiful beaches of the Dominican (more beautiful in most cases) but take down that veil between the resort workers and the resort-goers. In fact, if we are talking about our trip specifically, you can just remove the resort completely and replace it with any level of hotel you'd like; from skeezy motel to beautiful chalet. There is something distinctly "other" about every facet of this destination.

My brother explained the cities like college campuses where the students are allowed to run everything top to bottom- including plumbing and electricity.  Everything functions fine, but nothing is exactly the way you feel it should be. The toilets take some figuring out (there was a "bum gun" or a tub of water with scoop, and no toilet paper could be flushed), as well as the showers (which are usually heated by a little electronic box which may or may not actually create hot water), and I was constantly a bit concerned that electrocution wasn't unlikely (all of their wiring occurs outside and with no casing, it all just kind of hangs from poles). 

If I told you I loved it, I would be lying. But I don't want you to think I hated it, either. Because I didn't hate it, not even close! What I can say with complete certainty is that I am incredibly grateful to be home, and to have a home like the one I have.

I could try all day, but I would never really be able to say what it is like to be in Thailand. Especially after a hurried two week romp of about six beaches/towns/cities. So what I will do is take some time over the next few days to write down an itinerary of what we did, and let you make up your own mind, instead…

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