Saturday, February 24, 2007

Day 2: 24 February

Being in a new land is so interesting because it’s so different – different language, different peeps, different foods, different cars, different vibes – and yet, so the same…it’s just people living life, doing their thing…breathing in through the nose and out through the nose.

I went to a club last night. Those of you that know me well know that going to clubs is not something that this homebunny does. But, it was my first night in Bangkok and the re-opening of a popular club called Zantika. So popular in fact that Eminem was there performing with a Thai cover band. Did you catch that? Eminem was there performing with a Thai cover band! It was funny and weird and cool all at the same time. Eminem did pretty good…in addition to his own songs, he performed some Kelis, 50 Cent, and Justin Timberlake. It was pretty impressive.

The mosquitoes are quick and vicious here. This morning I woke up with bites on my face! A couple directly under my eyes…and it sort of feels like I got hit in the face.

I’m sure everyone is wondering about the eats here. My old boss, Bryan Kest, once told me that Thailand has the best food in the entire world. I am beginning to see what he’s talking about. What’s funny is that I have yet to eat proper Thai food! I’ve had Middle Eastern, Japanese, and Malaysian food, and everything has been deliciously high quality and almost disturbingly cheap. Emphasis on the almost. I love how normal it is to find customary Asian foods such as squid, anchovies, and pickled vegetables as accents to plates. It makes me feel at home. As usual, my appetite seems insatiable…even moreso as I’m surrounded by loads of new flavors that are eager to please my tastebuds. But as much as I’m eating, I don’t believe that I will gain any weight- I’m pretty sure I’ll sweat everything out on the walk home.

The traditional Thai greeting/showing of respect is a bow they call Wai. To me, it resembles the yogic Namaste exchange: hands in prayer as you bow. It’s particularly beautiful because you pause, you slow down, you quiet down, and you Wai. You don’t halfass this custom. You’re fully present with the other person in that moment. There’s a very direct, intentional acknowledgement of the other person. There’s a deep, sincere feeling of calm, peace, respect, and love. Even our friend’s beautiful, adorably rambunctious 3-year old quiets down to properly Wai. She adds a gentle smile, lowers her eyes, and slightly tilts her head as she brings her hands together, fingertips at her lips. It’s pretty freaking cute. (And then a few seconds later, she’s roaring like an angry lion…which is still admittedly pretty cute.)

Here’s sending you a virtual Wai.

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