First Steps in Bangkok

The glowing copper and silver city lights keep me pressed against the plane window. Isn’t it funny how landing in a city at night never ceases to amaze? What’s more, the city is throbbing with patches of red, purple and blue. Flying lower, I see fireworks popping up from various sections of a silver lined grid.  I smile. The city is throwing me a private welcome party and despite being deliriously tired (or maybe because of it) – I feel surges of energy running through my body.

It takes me approximately two hours to get out of the airport between immigration, exchanging money and getting a cab. I check my phone. 2:37am Bangkok time. As I press my forehead against another window – I feel just as energized as when I first landed. The taxi swerves, turns down a small street and back onto a large road.  Two initial things strike me: 1) there are so many extraordinary temples and 2) Bangkok is HOPPING at 2:30 in the morning.

The main road that my hostel is off is abruptly closed. My cab driver stops and begins speaking to a bunch of men hanging around the barricade. I have no idea what they are saying except that they keep shaking their heads. The driver then turns to me and says “go there and left.”

Okay. There and left. I can do this.

I grab my things, pay the driver and continue past the group and down the street. It’s filled with garbage. As I get to the next corner, I encounter 4 rats munching away on god knows what. They all look at me at the same time. Okay Sigalle, breathe – you live in NYC, you take subways, you see rats all the time. No big deal. I shake my suitcase and they scatter. Sigalle: 1, Rats: 0.

As I walk a little farther I see a dimly lit “Baan Dinso Guesthouse” sign pointing into a very narrow alleyway. Looking into it – I feel both thrilled and terrified. It’s the most magical alleyway I have ever seen but it’s also 3:00am. And dark. No fear.

Walking through, I dart my eyes all around me – into doorways, at cats scattering by – into other alleyways.  I get to a small wooden gate with my hostel name sketched into it. Opening it slowly, I am greeted by the cutest house you have ever seen. Home. I take off my shoes at the bottom of the porch, climb the steps quietly and peek through glass on the door. A man is sleeping on a cot in the lobby. I tap lightly on the glass and he sits up quickly – rubbing his eyes. He opens the door, smiles groggily and hands me a key.  I carry my bag and make my way upstairs to my room, strip off my sticky clothes. I grab my small toiletry bag and tip-toe to the bathroom.  I brush my teeth and wash the last 24+ hours of traveling away. I lay my head down – and drift off almost immediately.

I can’t wait until tomorrow.

Author: Sigalle Barness

Sigalle Barness is the Chief Operating Officer of Lawline, the nation's leading online provider of Continuing Legal Education. Sigalle provides leadership and vision to ensure Lawline has the proper processes and people in place to effectively grow the organization while ensuring financial strength, stability, and profitability. Sigalle approaches her work with respect, candor, and a balance of decisiveness and flexibility as she furthers the objectives of the company. Sigalle's favorite things in the whole world are her husband and two children. Sigalle also loves good food and travel. She is an avid lover of music, video games, blogging, and cooking.

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