Bangkok, 2013 –
I fell in love with Bangkok on the first night. It was unexpected. It was a quiet appreciation that crept on me while I waited in queue at the airport.The lines were long but the process fast. While in queue a Chinese man spoke to the usherettes in his own language. I found myself smiling because I seemed to understand what he meant to say. Throughout the entire trip, I found this a recurring thing among elder Chinese tourists. They would speak to me in their own language, I would respond in english, and for some strange reason, we all still understood each other. This was made evident when at the end of our trip, on our way to the airport, a Chinese man tagged along with us as he had gotten lost while sightseeing during a lay-over.
We took the train from the airport and got off at the Ratchathewi stop. It was evening by then and the rain was lashing on the city streets. We couldn’t hail any cabs and the traffic was bad, so we found ourselves walking towards our hotel. We were quite drenched but the sights and smell were so new to us, that we didn’t mind our wet socks or our drenched luggage. The sidestreets were littered with various food carts, dumplings steamed and fried, wonton soup, grilled fish and many more we had no name for. As Filipino as we could get, we would point to the food with our mouths “look at that, oh and that!”
After a few minutes of resting and excitedly logging into the hotel’s wifi, we decided to go down and have dinner at the corner street. It was 9 in the evening but the place was still full of food carts. We looked from cart to cart and wondered what they were serving, we couldn’t read a single Thai alphabet. I wanted to try the stall that was serving a red, hot soup with so many vegetables but my friends wanted a meal that was closer to home. They were in fact, afraid of the spice.
We finally settled on a stall where they served wonton noodles. The woman showed us how she prepared the meal, she then ushered us into her little nook where we sat and waited while she finished making the rest of our orders. The soup tasted a little bit like pho, and we were glad to have something warm on a rainy night.
In our hotel room, we looked out the window and found ourselves in delight, one by one exclaiming “WHOA”, as we each took a peek of the Bangkok skyline. Although we were in the city, the view was unlike Manila. The city lights weren’t as many, and the skyline formed a dramatic silhouette. It was a different world, like a quieter, more peaceful Manila. I felt like I was looking into a different dimension, a world where anything could happen, I felt the pulse of life just peering through the windows of buildings across from us.
After a hot shower, I crawled inside my blankets and found myself drifting to sleep. The voices from the television started becoming murmurs and the last thing I remember, was the remote control slipping from my hand.