The airline lounge latte tastes of rancid milk and industrial solvents. I take one sip and set it aside, lest I do permanent damage. “It gets better,” I tell myself. When I told friends that I was heading to Thailand, the first thing that they invariably said was “Oh, the food there is so good.”
The second thing that everyone said was “The people are so wonderful.” The friendliness of the Thai people is one of those universal truths that everyone repeats, like “the french are rude” and “you will commit a horrifying faux pas in Japan.”
The only contradictory information is from the U.S. State Department, which recently stated that Americans should be careful in Thailand. Our embassy there warns us that locals might be a bit upset at having learned that we operated a torture center in the middle of their buddhist nation.
Warnings aside, friends and random strangers alike have been telling me “get thee hence to Thailand” for decades. Now I’m on my way, in a jet flying at 40,000′ over the Kamchatka Peninsula towards Seoul, then Phuket. 1 I’m traveling with my two partners Dan & Bobby, and we’ll be spending the next month exploring Thailand, traveling by plane, train, automobile, and a Thai sailing ship. The whole way I’ll be writing stories about the people I meet, and of course sharing photos that I take.
My friend Denis recently retired to Hua Hin, a beach community 2 hours south of Bangkok. Every time we videochat he shakes his head sadly and says “Oh, Ron, you are so fucked if you come here. You will never leave.”
This post is being transmitted from my laptop to a satellite, then down to a ground station, and the response follows the reverse path to space and down to my hurtling plane. I’m frustrated by how astoundingly slow it all is, but also astounded that it works at all.↩