I’m drinking yet another coconut water and trying to gear up for the day ahead which begins with a Thai kickboxing lesson (or rather with getting across this vast and wild city to get to the gym). I seriously underestimated the effect a 12 hour time change would have and am sleeping very, very little. But. Let’s talk about Bangkok!
I can’t begin to assembly any sort of coherent narrative about this experience yet, so just some observations.
You don’t ‘see’ Bangkok. It thrashes all your senses and leaves you slicked in sweat, wild-haired and vibrantly alive.
The smells of Bangkok are utterly unique, and if I caught a whiff 50 years from now I’d know right away it was this city. It’s coconut, frying garlic, bubbling soup, the automobiles of 10 million people, and so many more unidentifiable smells that make up the unmistakable scent identity of Bangkok.
You feel it too, the steamy air, the exhaust-tinged and blessed breezes, the burn of a curry, the broiling sun, the adrenaline rush of hurtling breakneck down a street in a tuk-tuk.
You hear the rush of endless traffic, the whistle of the traffic police, the rumbling Sky Train, the clatter of the food vendors’ carts, the voices of millions of people talking, singing, selling, laughing.
It all comes together so that you’re not absorbing Bangkok — it’s absorbing you, enveloping you in a pulsing, frustrating, enchanting tempest.