A comedy of errors

I just had an amazing two weeks in India! I really enjoyed my visit there, and must go back again for a “proper” visit – for at least a month, if not longer! (Any takers? If you’re up for cold bucket baths, bouts of diarrhea, and being completely removed yet rewarded by a completely different world.) I think my view is quite different, having been to Bangladesh first, as well as reading the book Shantaram right now… It’s a real page turner, I’m about halfway through the 950 or so pages, after reading it nonstop for the past two weeks. I highly recommend it!

I’ll have to blog more about India and Shantaram in a later post. For now I’ll talk about my transition into Bangkok…

My sinuses were completely congested last night in Kolkata, and couldn’t fall asleep because I’m a “nose breather”. Tried to blow my nose several times, and my tissue was a little blackened from all the pollution I’ve been breathing in! Yuck! So on the plane ride today, I had a lot of trouble popping my ears, continually swallowing lots of air…

Wandered around some of the quieter streets off Khao San Road in search of a quiet guesthouse (found one with a double bed and private bath for 250 baht, though the squat toilet uses bucket water to flush). Then off for some food! Went to a busy street-food style restaurant that had tables on the sidewalk. Asked them to recommend something for me, and ended up SUPREMELY disappointed! In Bangkok of all places! They gave me some sort of Chinese-y dish, made of ramen noodles and stir fried veggies. (I thought I was doing pretty good for avoiding the quote-unquote “Chinese” food in Bangladesh and India too!) Felt compelled to eat half of it though it didn’t taste so good.

Consoled myself with a chocolate banana crepe and a Thai massage. I still prefer the shiatsu type massages over the painful Thai massages, but hey, it’s cheap and supposedly good for you.

Anyway, recalling all that air I was swallowing during the flight, coupled with the bad “Chinese” food I just had, I was face down in a room of about 8 people being massaged, when the masseuse pressed down on my lower back, the pressure just made me let out a “bwwwwooot!”. How embarrassing! And the funny thing was, no one even giggled, though I was trying hard not to. My only regret was not just letting it rip out of my own accord, as I still had some gas in the tank, and was pretty tense for the rest of the massage still.

On a side note, I’m finding it difficult to “switch” into tourist mode in Thailand coming from India. There, I was a bit of a celebrity, being one of the few tourists around, especially in the northeast, but also in Kolkata, as it’s the low season due to the monsoon. In Bangkok, I feel invisible in a sea of tourists, not being a “visible” westerner to any of the white tourists. (And I believe about half the time, Thais recognize that I’m not Thai, though I can’t be too sure.) It’s both good and bad, I suppose. My shyness so far is keeping me from talking to Thai people or other tourists. I know it’s just my first evening here though – I should find my groove soon enough.

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