As I walk out the door of my new apartment I am overwhelmed with sounds and smells, all foreign and exotic. “Sa-wat-dee Kah” the security guard says to me with a wai and a smile, “Sa-wat-dee Kah” I return as she politely laughs at my accent and shy wai. As I make my way out to the street I smell the sweet flowers and luscious, overgrown leaves that bloom all across the city. The birds are chirping, roosters cock-a-doodle-dooing and cats meowing; the city is waking up. The local stray dog, known as “Cafe” follows me down the street sniffing my heels. I get a whiff of the street market where the local people have just started to prepare their grills with foreign food that looks both tempting and strange. Pork on a stick, sushi, sweet corn, mango, Chinese apples, deep fried chicken, pad thai and lots of other things I can’t identify yet. Traffic roars with vespas and motorcycles, taxis and tuk tuks that fill the city streets. I pass cafes that fill my nose with rich coffee, tea and fresh fruit smoothies-a local favorite.
The weather is warm with a cooling breeze, it is perfect. If it weren’t for my height, light hair, pale skin and overall demeanor, I would fit right in with the other university students in uniform. But the Thai people are friendly despite my alien appearance, they greet me and smile genuinely as I pass, wondering where I come from.
Here, life is slower, pace is slower. “Jai Yen,” the locals say, “Chill out” have a “Calm Heart”. I can finally breathe here, time is of no matter as long as the soul is content. Truly the best way to live.
Continue on to read about Donielle’s adventures in Thailand: Part II!