This post is about first impressions and I'm going to list them in no particular order; they are just things that struck me while familiarizing ourselves to what is going to be our home and neighborhood for the next six weeks.
After worrying about the humidity that I'd heard so much about, it was a very pleasant surprise to find that the weather is about as close to perfect as a place can be. The days are warm, but not excessively so. There is nearly always a cooling breeze blowing and the famed humidity has not yet made an appearance. Keep in mind, it is December here. I imagine that it may very well be quite a different story in August.
Thailand is a place of contrasts. The wonderful aroma of Thai street food mingles with the occasional whiff of sewage from under the sidewalks. Run down apartments sit side by side with luxury condominiums and hotels.
Well dressed working people dodge beggars on the sidewalks. Feral street dogs roam in search of food. School children in crisp uniforms play on school playgrounds during recess. Massive shopping malls with every kind of merchandise imaginable are filled with shoppers both Thai and foreign.
The roads, especially the freeways, are well maintained while walking down the sidewalk can seem like navigating an obstacle course.
Traffic is heavy 24 hours per day. Drivers patiently wait out snarled traffic jams which occur on a daily basis.
This is a place that engages the senses of sight, taste and smell from the carts full of colorful produce and flowers to the incredibly delicious food prepared by the street vendors. A wonderful meal can be had for less than 100 baht / $3 US.
While we were out walking on our first day here, I couldn't help but notice this jumble of telephone wires. To my eyes it looks like a chaotic maze of tangled cable, but it is a system that works and the people responsible for the installation can make perfect sense of it.
This is a place of noise from traffic, buildings under construction, music from the many bars and the sing song rhythm of people speaking in Thai. Plants and flowers are lush and green. Tucked down side alleys one might find a fortune teller, tailor, produce stand, a five seat bar and a fabulous place to eat.
It is a place that is full of surprises. It is alive. I think we are going to like it here.