Today was a doooozy! So much walking.
I started off with an eight mile run around Lumpini Park and some random kinda sketchy street.
For breakfast I had a traditional Thai bread bun filled with red bean.
While I was eating, I met a fellow blogger & runner so we chatted for a bit. I also met a couple Japanese guys who were soooo stereotypically Japanese, it was funny. They were coders who said they hadn’t seen any of Bangkok because they just work all day. They also said they’re excited to go back to Japan because they like it there better. I mean… this is why Japan has no diversity and an aging population. People just work all day and don’t go outside. And when they do travel, they don’t enjoy it.
ANYWAY: I worked on the podcast the rest of the morning, and then decided to check out the Thailand Tourism Festival, which happened to be at Lumpini Park. The festival was HUGE: filled with tents of food/clothes (the park has a 2.5 km loop). It was divided into geographical sections of Thai: north, south, east and west. Everything was in Thai, so I didn’t know what was vegan. It was overwhelming, to say the least.
I decided to start with coconut ice cream. It’s 100% coconut! So refreshing. While I was eating it on a bench, two people (speaking English) sat down next to me with what looked like delicious dumplings. I asked them what it was: chive dumplings! Trina had told me about them the day before, so it was perfect timing. I went back to the tents and found them. 40 baht for 10 dumplings… yaas!
I also got another Thai bread bun thing (same as what I had for breakfast), but filled with purple sweet potato instead of red bean.
I walked around more. I was craving papaya salad, so I searched every stall to find someone making it. And boom! Found one after about 20 minutes of exploring. I asked the lady to not add shrimp or peanuts (papaya salad traditionally has both). She didn’t understand me, so she asked the other lady working at the stall to translate. Once she understood, she started making it using the same mortar that she had used for the previous costumer. I interrupted her and asked if she could clean it first because it had bits of peanuts still in it. She washed it, and then had the other lady take over, presumably because I was clearly not going to be an easy customer. I felt bad but it was also kinda funny.
Anyway, in the end all was well and it was delicious and I didn’t die of peanut poisoning.
But when I eat savory food, I always need to follow it with sweet food. So I went back to the area with the chive dumplings because I remembered seeing smoothies. I asked for a strawberry smoothie, which turned out to be a BIIIIG mistake. It was disgusting. So ridiculously sweet; I immediately had an internal “WHY DIDN’T YOU MAKE SURE THERE WAS NO SUGAR” fight with myself. I threw it out after a few sips. I felt bad for wasting food, but there was no way I could stomach 20 ounces of sugar water.
I went back to the hostel to cool off, and then set off again to shop around for a bit. There are SO MANY MALLS in Bangkok, it’s insane. And they’re all super nice. And large. I didn’t end up buying anything but lotion. I was POOPED and in need of some comfort food, aka a coconut, so I stopped by a 7 eleven on the way home and got one.
YUP, the 7 elevens here have coconuts. And they’re cheaper than the ones on the street; the street coconuts are 40 baht, 7 eleven coconuts are 30. The only caveat is that they won’t open it for you, so you have to figure out a way to open it yourself. I asked the hostel staff if they could open it for me, and luckily they did. Thank you, Everyday Hostel!!
While I was eating the coconut, I started talking to 3 people who were about to leave to go riding around the city on their scooters. They asked me if I wanted to join, and I said why not. I stuck the coconut in the fridge to save for later (scooping out the meat is my fave thing) and hopped on the back of this guy Ronald’s scooter. The other two, Sam and Rhyne, were a couple from Texas who had just quit their jobs, like me!
Ronald was pretty funny. He kept asking me, “Do they have this in Japan?” About EVERYTHING: u-turn lanes, white people, motorcycles, etc. He also couldn’t fathom how I spoke English with an American accent if I was from Japan. And he didn’t understand why I wasn’t more “Japanese” if I had lived in Japan and was Japanese by heritage.
I never know how to respond to people when they say stuff like that to me. Like, I’m equally American as I am Japanese. So why do I have to be more of one side than the other? I don’t know. I always struggle with these sort of things, and it brings me back to my Penn State freshman year days when I went through an “identity crisis.” I felt like I didn’t belong to neither American nor Japanese culture; I felt stuck in the middle and rejected by both sides. I’ve pretty much gotten over it since then, but questions like Ronald’s are a sort of trigger that bring me back to that state of mind.
I ended up riding with them for hours: we went to Chinatown to get smoothies, then rode to a random temple, then Sam wanted coffee so we ended up at Khao San road, then we were hungry so we went to a random shitty touristy restaurant on Khao San for dinner. After that we rode further away to get dessert, but the dessert place was closed. We decided to call it a night and rode back.
I was pretty tired when we got back, but I got a beer and played liar’s dice with some of people from the hostel. It was fun! I met a girl who had ran the Chicago Marathon, so it was nice chatting with another marathoner.