Today was a slower pace. I think I needed it. After waking up late in the day, I did some more yoga, chatted with some of the other Hostel guests and dragged my feet to the showers.
I was greeted back in my room by Zina who had decided to spend her last night in the room I was staying in! Finally a roommate! (by the end of the night, my room was full of new guests in every bed!)
We chatted about our plans for the day and how she had attended a morning cooking class up the street. She told me to check it out and I wrote it on my "to do" list of things to explore.
She was off to a former student's family house for dinner so we said our goodbyes and she was away. I had slept through normal breakfast and lunch time by anyone's standards and I was dying for something tasty.
I decided to head to the night market a few blocks away. I packed my "Vegan passport" with explanations of my eating requirements written in Thai, my camera, some water, a map, and money before bounding down the three flights of stairs to the Hostel lobby.
The Hostel worker who had given me the map yesterday was at the desk and she greeted me in her normal song bird way. She told me of weekend plans to travel around Bangkok with friends and asked what I was up to.
I told her about wanting to visit the night Market and she suggested some places to check out. I said my goodbyes and strolled slowly out onto the street. The sun was already beginning to set. So much for trying to visit a park...ahhh well, there's always another time.
I was perfectly content with my laissez fair attitude. I passed more koi fish, some cool street art, hanging trees that reminded me of willows, and a host of pungent smells seeping out of ripped trash bags that lined the streets.
The streets here are so bright. I'm always finding my neck craning upwards at the intricate web of powerlines that are messily bunched together overhead. I see veins, arteries, sinew, spiderwebs, tangled yarn. How much pure energy must be surging above our heads every moment.
The Market was smelly. As a vegan, I'm no longer accustomed to fish and meat odors. It was a raw, putrid, stale smell of death that lingered in the air. It wasn't off-putting, just not what I was used to. Vendors had elaborate carts lined with fresh fruit and veg, desserts, clothes, steaming woks and every other thing you would imagine at an open market like this. And the stray dogs were everywhere. Cleaning the streets of food and debris.
I found a cute eatery with an open front and tree-lined seating. I was immediately drawn to the warm lighting and mellow lounge music playing from some hidden speakers. I was seated and given a menu. More ice tea, a potato based veg curry (I miss potatoes!!) and a side of jasmine rice.
The waitress reassured me of the vegan-ness of my choices and disappeared into the back. I love eating outside. The mosquitos love ME eating outside too. My legs began to burn with little jabs of itchyness. I didn't mind.
My food came out beautifully presented and I couldn't wait to dig in. I sat staring at the empty chair across the table and had a pang of wanting to share this beautiful moment with someone. I saw the tables around me full of families and friends enjoying their meals. Food is best when shared I always say. I was so used to cooking for mates in Belfast and eating out together. This was new. I tried to encourage myself by thinking, 'before long, you're going to be a pro at this solo stuff girl.' And I meant it. I want to be comfortable in solo day trips, solo travel, solo meals, solo adventures. I don't prefer them by any means...and that's the honest truth. But I want to see the beauty in them. I've always thought that we forget to self-love and so I chalked this meal up to a lovely solo date of appreciation.
After my moment of self-consciousness, I kicked those thoughts out of my head and dug in! I think the pre-meal meditations must have done something...because the feed was AMAZING! I ate slowly (anyone who knows me knows this to be completely unnatural at meal time) and savored every spice, every herb, every juicy morsel of savory veg and grain. Wee sips of ice tea between bites coated my mouth with a sweet citrus that paired nicely with the spice.
I sat content and grateful for my romantic evening in the muggy Bangkok market. I watched some interesting characters walk in front of my table from every direction, strolling at their own pace to an unknown destination. A good hour must have passed before I snapped out of my trance of soaking up the sights and smells around me. I asked for the bill.
I stopped off at a 'Family Mart' corner store for some food topups for the hostel and to get more BAHT out of the ATM.
As I stepped back out onto the street, the blue light of the shop cast an eerie glow on a stray dog that was staring into my eyes. We stood, facing eachother. not moving. I grabbed my camera and took a snap. I wanted to kiss the dog on the head, but I convinced myself against it and headed back through the Market to my hostel.
Back at the Restdot, people began to arrive again. My room was full of new people and none of them spoke English except Zina who chose the bunk above mine. She arrived back from her dinner with her former student's family and we chatted about the rest of our days. She told me about a photographer from America who she met on the Hippy Island she had stayed at the previous week. She gave me his website and I was in awe. Chris Davis his name is. I am going to write him tomorrow since he's currently based in Bangkok working on a fashion commercial shoot. Apparently he spent the past three years making a documentary about woman in the sex-traffic industry and dedicated his time rescuing woman who needed to escape. Zina told me about the pure passionate and compassionate vibe he gave off when she met him. It will be nice to connect with another creative type and ask him about his journey.
We'll see what transpires.
In any case, today was a slower pace than anticipated, but just what I needed. Tomorrow Zina and several of the others from the night before are leaving. This makes my heart sad especially about Zina, but I plan to go to Australia to visit her one day in the future so I gave her my business card.
The life of transient people is a strange one. No one ever stays and that's the way it goes. I think it's a good space for me to be in--letting go and saying goodbye is not my forte. I have a feeling by the end of this journey, I will have endured enough goodbyes for a lifetime. Practice makes perfect I suppose.
I also received an email from a teaching company I had looked into and have a Skype interview tomorrow at 1 to see if I'll be a good fit or they a good fit for me. I look forward to working. For normalcy. For routine, goals, further cultural immersion.
We shall see.
Going to try to catch some sleep in this room of snoring beds :D
until next time,