After over 30 hours of traveling, stepping out of the airport was pure bliss. With my giant Osprey on my back and suitcase in my hand, my boyfriend Philip and I had arrived in Thailand. I had imagined this scenario in my head about 100 times, but nothing could have prepared me for it.As the heat and humidity wrapped itself around my body I thought to myself, “I mentally prepared myself for this.” After doing a few laps around the entrance of the airport, we finally found a taxi and were on our way to downtown Bangkok.
On one of our first nights in Bangkok, Phil and I decided we wanted to get acquainted with our new home by going to dinner downtown. In typical “Kailey” fashion, I googled a few different restaurants (and addresses) in our area. We walked out of our hotel into the warm night and flagged down a tuk tuk. Our driver did not speak much English (if any) but stopped a few times to ask other Thais for directions. We watched our driver zip in and out of traffic with ease like a true pro (driving is quite the skill in a congested city like Bangkok). Eventually we were dropped off onto a busy road and left to wander the streets. As we walked on the broken sidewalk we dodged puddles, met a few stray dogs (not quite use to that yet), and inhaled the smell of the street food cooking. While searching for a restaurant, I saw a stray cat with a very bloated tummy lying on it’s back, eyes closed. Completely shocked, I gasped and tried to show Phil the cat (which I naively assumed was dead). A local Thai man began to laugh and said, “No die! No die! Cat sleep!”
This is Asia; it’s different, wild, and wonderful all at the same time. A few minutes later (to our surprise), we walked past a restaurant with a giant sign that had the words “MANGO’S VEGAN & VEGETARIAN” on it’s windows. Just seeing those three little words made me jump for joy on the inside. We took off our sandals and sat on the floor with our legs crossed. After examining the menu, we began to stuff ourselves with lavish portions of lychee kombucha, veggie dumplings, lentils, and pad thai. It was the most beautiful welcome meal to Thailand. Our entire meal (appetizers, drinks, and dinner) ended up costing us about $12.00 total. With happy tummies, we headed back to our hotel to prepare for our next day of orientation.