After a 6 hour flight to London, and then an 11 hour flight to Bangkok, I have finally arrived in Thailand!!
What did I first notice after arriving here? Despite the fact that this is very much a city, there is greenery everywhere!! Lining the highways are palm trees, plants, and every tropical flower imaginable. It is truly paradise. Today I had my first adventure in Bangkok, alone, and after only two days here I have completely fallen in love with the city.
One of my main missions of the day was to get my uniform for Thammasat University where I will be studying for the next semester. There are many signs around the university that state that any student without a uniform will not be served; so they take the uniform thing very seriously. I went to the bookstore at Thammasat and after many hand motions and pointing to a picture of the uniform, I was able to communicate that I needed to buy a uniform– only to be told uniforms are no longer sold at the bookstore. Great. My Thammasat orientation packet said it would be at the bookstore, and the email I received yesterday about orientation reiterated this fact. But nonetheless, no uniform. The gentleman at the bookstore who was helping me kept repeating “tuktuk” and “market” meaning I could take a tuktuk to get the uniform at a local market. I had him write down the name of the market in Thai because I have learned this is the best way to accomplish anything around here: with actual words, in Thai, written on a piece of paper. I walked outside and ending up hailing a cab. After much more confusion my taxi driver motioned down a street saying “here, here.” The only problem was that the street was completely packed with millions of identical looking clothing stands, none of which seemed to be selling official Thammasat uniforms.
I went up to one of the stall owners to ask where I could find a Thammasat uniform, and he was wonderful. He took it upon himself to guide me through the market, bringing me to each stall that I needed to go to to get the essentials for my uniform. Every stall owner was so incredibly sweet. I was overwhelmed with how generous and kind everyone was to me. I never felt taken advantage of, and felt such genuine warmth from everyone. After my shopping was complete I grabbed a taxi to go back to the house. Instead of taking a taxi to the doorstep, however, I decided to walk the last bit of the way to completely soak up my surroundings. Here are a couple of pictures of the street I am staying on until I move into my apartment:
I am in love the freedom of being able to walk alone and explore the city all by myself, on only my second day in Thailand. It is the most liberating and wonderful feeling, a feeling that I never had studying abroad in Kenya last semester. I am so excited for the next five months here!!