Oof. Red eye flights with four young children. Not for the faint-hearted. But we are sculpted by India. I do have to say that taking the train in India is a cinch with kids, compared to multiple flights and going through security and trying to keep young people off the luggage belts.
Chinua has written some about our experiences so far in Thailand here. He is not exaggerating. I feel as though we have been propelled forward twenty years or so. It is not that there are not modern places or things in India, just that we never seem to be there. We live in small fishing villages where people use hundred year old mango tree boats. Or in Himalayan villages with goatherds on vertical hills.
So the people mover in the Thai airport was like a shot into the future. It was a like an escalator, but flat, and it curved up and down like a roller coaster. We were stunned and slightly frightened.
I love Thailand! I love the food and the smells, the people. I love this part of Asia. I would love to get to know it all better, to speak some Thai, to understand. I am halfway between delighted and terrified right now, not able to make myself understood. I am doing the Indian head wobble to Thai people, who look at me blankly. I am translating all the prices on the menu into rupees, rather than into dollars, since I think in rupees now. I don't know how many dollars we should spend. I do know how many rupees we should spend.
Leafy very carefully takes his shoes off before entering any shop, something that is not required here.
The kids are intrepid travelers, running down the grassy curbsides, leaping over hedges, pretending to fly, pretending to be anything and everything. As long as they can climb or jump over something, they are happy. Kid A likes the food, although sometimes he says it is not spicy enough. YaYa loves the Bangkok cats, although she is a little freaked out by all the smells. She was used to the Indian smells. Solo is capturing the hearts of Thai women everywhere.
I had a minor breakdown in a Thai night market. Crying, I told my Superstar Husband, "Nothing is familiar. I don't understand anything." He wisely suggested that we leave the market and go back to the guest house. There are too many things to buy. I don't know where to look, nowhere seems safe. In the taxi I was disturbed because someone almost cut into our lane and the driver didn't honk at him. "I don't understand how people can drive without honking!" I said to Chinua, in tears again.
I am deeply affected by cultural changes. And I'm finding that this is a particularly deep one, coming from India after twenty two months there, coming away from my home there while planning to see my family and friends and then return to my home in India, which is not really my home after all. Oh boy. Time to take a deep breath and just enjoy the jasmine on the side of the roads here, drink the iced coffee where they don't skimp on the ice at all.
We love taro root, coconut, pineapple. We love basil and kafir lime leaves and we love small southeast Asian alleys with cooking pots and pointy nosed cats and the steamy humid heat of a Bangkok April.