Lessons from the Cab

Being in Thailand for only four days, everything seems exotic and strange to me. I’m running on brief periods of restless sleep on a mattress that feels like laying on a giant rock, but that’s completely okay with me because I’m so full of excitement for what’s ahead!

Every day has brought an adventure, a new skill, a new Thai word, a new challenge, and a new friend. I’m excited to speak my limited Thai to restaurant and shop workers—even if it is only hello or thank you. I also love that Thailand, the Land of Smiles, is really living up to its name. It is fun to walk down the street and have people smiling at you or if you smile at them, they smile back so genuinely.

I’ve been exploring Bangkok with my new friends—and have learned a lot from our cab rides. One lesson I’ve learned is to always ask (before even getting into a cab) if they will take you to your destination and if they will use the meter. Using the meter is extremely important or else they will try to rip you off. I have also learned that it is possible to fit five people in the back of a cab that is meant for three people! I have also, thanks to cab rides, perfected the saying of where my house is located, Putthamonton sai si, as well as left, right, and stop. Never traveling by cab before arriving here, I have become a (somewhat) natural with it.

So many people in one cab means only having to pay about 20 baht (less than one dollar) a ride!

After just a few days here, I already know that shopping will ruin me for when I have to return home. I’m able to buy adorable, quality pants for 100 baht ($2.80) and a whole meal for about 60 baht ($1.68). I already feel myself pulling back when I see something is 300-400 baht because I think that it is too expensive. With everything I have purchased—including eating out for every meal, some clothes, and other necessities, I have spent only $30! It really is a shopper’s paradise (and my friends know how much I LOVE to shop!) with enormous markets, cheap prices, and a variety of options.

So far, I have been to the Friday market at Mahidol University, the market by Central Salaya, and JJ Market. JJ Market features 8,000 different stores and is divided up into 27 different sections! There was so much to look at—and in the end, I bought several cute things. My number one purchase has been pants (which seems beyond crazy since it is incredibly hot and all I do is sweat), but looking at my mosquito bitten legs, it has become a necessity. I have the feeling that my near-the-weight-limit luggage will definitely be over the limit coming home! Hopefully, I will be able to pick it up and transport it to the airport when the time comes—but luckily, I have a long time before I need to worry about that!

Since everything has been so cheap and my friends and I are still tired from travelling and adjusting to the time difference, we decided we needed some pampering and went into Bangkok on Sunday to get massages and our nails done. We learned though that nothing is more difficult than trying to find the exact store that we all decided to go. Google Maps would say one thing and another app would say something else. We were useless to the cab driver as we travelled the busy streets of Bangkok trying to get to the destination. However, when we finally arrived, we were treated like princesses. My feet have never looked better or felt softer. A spa day was relaxing, and none of us wanted to leave because we were all enjoying being pampered. The ladies who did our nails were the nicest people and kept recommending places we need to visit around Thailand before we leave. So not only did we leave with perfectly painted nails, we also left with new weekend plans and trips to book. We are always looking for the next adventure!



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