Sorry it’s been a while since I’ve posted. It’s been hard to pull myself back to reality and away from the dream that I feel like I’m living in. I’ve been having such an amazing time in Thailand already. I had been told that in a tour of China and southeast Asia that it’s sometimes best to see China first and go south from there. People had told me that once you get out of China everything gets easy. China was difficult. I loved it, but it was difficult. The culture is obviously different than what I’m used to, but it’s the type of thing where you have to at least have some sort of an idea about what to expect before going in or you will be shocked. I had read some books on China before going, so I knew to expect mass crowds, non stop spitting, shoving, yelling, public urination, and so forth. Lots of people had told me so many negative things about China, but obviously I had to go see for myself. I found out that all of the things I had read about are true; you will get shoved, you will get very lost, you will walk through a lot of spit, and you will fail in every attempt to find a quiet spot. What I had not read or been told about were all the good things, though. The history is amazing, the landscapes and architecture are really breathtaking, and the people are some of the nicest I’ve ever met. The negative things that most tourists write home about are the things that they most likely have not stopped and taken the time to think about. People spit, but with the insane amount of pollution I can understand why you might have some issues with that kind of thing. The mass crowds of people make it inevitable that you will get shoved. It’s not that people want to push you, but imagine growing up in a place where you have to make some body contact to get anywhere. Sometimes it’s just necessary…I did a lot of shoving myself. The things that foreigners aren’t used to are things that you really just have to accept before visiting. At least those are my thoughts because I went in educated and loved it.
That being said, Thailand is absolutely amazing. And everyone was right; it is easier. There aren’t a TON of people, so everything is much more relaxed. People still tend to stare at foreigners, but as you walk by they smile and say hello, too. Everyone is always smiling. People are eager to sit down and just have a conversation with you, regardless of what you have going on. I took a boat to another beach the other day, and on the way back some people were giving our driver some trouble. I didn’t know what was going on, but I could tell he was upset about it. Later that day I was walking by his ticket booth and asked if everything was alright. He stood up, gave me his chair, and sat down next to me to talk. It turns out that the people had not given him enough money and said that they didn’t even have anymore with them, except that the driver had seen one of them put the rest of his money back in their pocket. I was irritated that anyone would give this incredibly friendly guy such a hard time, but the driver shrugged it off and continued the conversation by asking me questions about my trip and giving me suggestions. Everyone is just so nice.
Right now I’m in Krabi, which is on the mainland. I’ve taken a boat to some other beaches and went on a tour to 4 surrounding islands. The water is absolutely crystal clear and the beaches are white. It’s perfect. Tomorrow I’m going on a kayaking/elephant riding through the jungle tour. I’m REALLY looking forward to that. O the 17th I’m taking a ferry to Phi Phi island, which is where the movie “The Beach” with Leonardo Dicaprio was filmed. It looks picturesque. Right now I’m just enjoying the sun and the very laid back atmosphere. Someone told me that if I like Thailand, I’ll love Laos. I don’t see how it could really get much better.