Helmets and Markets

I am absolutely exhausted after finally venturing away from the one street in Bangkok that I frequent daily. With the intense studying, written assignments and lesson planning I have not had an opportunity to explore, until today. I say explore but my aim was to get a bus ticket to Fang district for the 8th of December, which I managed to do. Just. I have however managed to recruit another adventurous soul who is joining me on the trip up North so as least I will have someone to keep me company on the 10 hour journey. We were meant to pick up the tickets together but E was feeling slightly worse for wear with some unknown Bangkok bug so I told him to go home which I’m thankful I did as it was no easy trek.

I decided to get off at Mo Chit BTS and realised that actually it’s quite a walk to the North Terminal bus station. Also being a Saturday was probably not the best time to decide to buy tickets as it took me an hour to navigate through Chatuchak market due to the ridiculous amount of people shopping for bargains. I was temporarily distracted from my bus ticket mission a few times, particularly when I caught sight of the gorgeous carvings of elephants and crocodiles that were bigger than me. Finally I got to the other side of the market where I had no idea where I was or where to go.

Walking up the main road a guy on his moped stops to ask me where I’m going, which is the norm here. I told him I was heading to Mo Chit bus station which immediately got him stating his price of 50 baht. I told him no, I didn’t have it. Not because I didn’t have it but because I was in two minds of even getting on the back of that moped. It seems like a game of Russian roulette if you ask me. I watch passengers effortlessly throw their legs over the bikes with not a care in the world and it baffles me. One look at the chaotic drivers weaving in and out of the lanes is enough for me to break into a cold sweat. And for all my promises to never get on the back of one, what do I do? I gave him 20 baht and hopped on. Poor guy, he was driving on the pavement before I frantically told him to stop after seeing pot holes and uneven pavement which made me panic. ‘No, its ok, you go’ I told him jumping off the back of the bike with lightning speed. ‘Why? Why you go?’ He asked ‘I’m too scared, I may fall off (cue lots of miming of me falling and cracking my head open) ‘Ahhhh, here’ With that he gives me the helmet and I jump back on with him giggling uncontrollable ‘go really slow…….REALLY slow’. It was only 2 minutes from where I was (50 baht indeed!!) and it was pavement all the way, which was definitely for the best as if he had gone onto the road I would have had a meltdown. Once I was off the bike and waving goodbye to my Thai driver (who was now chuckling to a friend and probably telling him how hilarious it was that I clung onto him for dear life) I walked over the bridge to collect my ticket. Ticket in hand I walked back towards the BTS line (another hour walk through the park) high fiving and shaking hands with locals as I went. One went further and wanted a cuddle which I was happy to oblige, much to the amusement of his friends.

Arriving back in Silom I made my way to my usual destination – Tops market. Such a creature of habit. I have been here for 3 weeks and have already built up a routine that leaves me just a little less culture shocked. Simply picking up my mango and sticky rice leaves me feeling like I’ve accomplished something with my day. I am already starting to panic about leaving the ‘nest’ I’ve built and the daily routine that I have become used to. I am wondering how I am going to be able to cope being eaten alive by mosquitoes in Fang, knowing that I cannot kill even one of the little suckers as that is certainly not the Buddhist way. After Fang I shall head back down south to meet friends and as far as teaching goes, well I have no idea. One week left of the course and then I’m booted out of the Celta nest. I’m already panicking about it coming to an end as I am enjoying it, even the paper work and lesson planning (I didn’t really just admit to that). I constantly feel on my toes in the lessons where the tutors dump their knowledge onto us. Certainly no place for slackers or ‘away with the fairies’ types (me) as your tutor is on to you. They can tell when you are not listening, particularly when you get that glazed look in your eyes and they know that your mind has gone to the Irish bar next door. Oh yes they know and they will use this moment to CCQ (concept check question) you in front of everyone. You and your mind goes nowhere, so don’t even try it. Still, I have actually learnt something from being here and that is more than I can say about my time at University.

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