Safe and sound in Bangkok. Flight was as it is supposed to be, on time and with no hassle. At the Airport, after clearing immigration remarkably smoothly, I walked dizzily to the turning belt of doom. This is where destiny decides whether you deserve your bag on not. As the carrier belt spat a few suitcases out, I hoped it would vomit my own 8,5kg backpack (mission accomplished, excellent packing as it including my heavy walking shoes) so I could get myself to the city centre. A few long minutes passed, and I was disappointed to see that everyone else’s bags seem to appear, but mine was nowhere to be seen.
Suddenly, the belt sprang into life again and produced more luggage, included my trusted travel companion. I hugged it and put it on and left the airport grateful…
I got an express bus to the centre of town, my head feeling fuzzy as I had a few movies to catch up on, and didn’t get the sleep necessary to being on form on arrival.
As I hopped off the bus at Kao San Road, the busiest and most touristy place I have seen so far, I negotiated for a tuk-tuk to take me to another part of town, one less busy and quieter with some cheap, clean accomodation.
Traffic is really quiet compared to Bombay(!), but sillier than Paris or anywhere in Europe! It smells of food everywhere. The guesthouse is Sawatdee Guest House in Thewet, as everywhere it is very hot (33 degrees when I was at the ariport) and humid, with a noisy fan that kept me awake all night.
As most of you know, despite having a definit project with many things I want to do and learn whilst on my travels, I left without really knowing what I would be up to. As the landlady showed me a room, we saw a girl going into her room. I was told she was French also, and studied massage.
Now this is why I don’t plan things. There is no need! It just happens! I took the room, and knocked on the girl’s door. “I’ve been told you study massage. If you have a minute, would you mind talking to me about it?’
It turns out that Marie-Pierre had a great evening talking about massage and stuff in general in a superb restaurant on the edge of the main river of Bangkok, a couple minutes walk away from where we’re staying.
She started a course at Wat Po, the world’s oldest Massage School, and is so happy about it. We agree she will take me with her the following day to check it out.
I have been in Thailand for 3 hours, I have my bag, a new friend and a great way to start my project. After a delicious meal and a bad night’s sleep, we headed to the “boatstop” close by. We hopped on the boat and it sped down and across the river a few times before arriving to Boat Stop #8, Wat Po.
My first day has been super: we ran through the basics of hands on Thai massage, and now are learning step by step. It’s only hands on, and the teachers speak very little English, which means they guide us rather than explain. It gets a little frustrating no to understand why we do things, and not to be told much of the theroy behind it, but it’s a great way to start and get working hands on.
In 5 days, I’ll have an exam, and then I can continue training at the Wat Po for 3 months continuously for free! There is branch in Chiang Mai, so I might transfer over there in a week and check the city out.
Marie-Pierre and I walked back home from school, via Kao San Road, a Pad Thai place and a swimming pool in posh hotel. We walked in looking aloof, and blagged our way to hot towels, the pool and a lovely refreshing swim.
This my friends, is my first 24 hours in the country of a thousand smiles. Loving smiling all the time! Tomorrow, going to a “Thai Tai Chi” type class early in the morning, before continuing my massage course, exploring the city and enjoying the amazing food.
My brother gave me a pearl of wisdom as his goodbye to me: “Tous les matins, réveille-toi en te rappelant à quel point tu as de la chatte“, loosely translated as “Every morning, wake up remembering how f*cking lucky you are” (actually, the literal translation is as follow: “…remembering how you have cat”, or more precisely “…remembering how you have pussy”; as pussy = luck/lucky in slang. Some of you may agree with this?)
So no matter how good/bad/depressing/amazing/extraordinary things get, I promise to all of you stuck at home/in the office that I will remember how lucky I am to be out there living the dream.