So many factors can determine how epic your trip will be. From arriving safely and on time, not losing your bags, being lucky with the weather, staying healthy and in one piece, avoiding being the target of crime, your accommodation matching the pictures from the website, the list goes on and on…. It’s easy to see that travel can be likened to a game of dominos, if something goes wrong it’s easy for the whole deck to tumble changing your experience into something completely different.
The first time I visited Bangkok I loved it. The noise, chaos, contrast between high gleaming skyscrapers and shanty huts on the side of the road, crazy tuk tuk drivers with a death wish and street carts full of incredible unpronounceable delights.
But the third time I visited I was sick of it.
The charm of the taxi drivers wore off as I increased in confidence with my haggling, sick of being ripped off, pushing past crowds desperate to have some sense of space walking down the packed streets, coughing from the fug of pad thai and petrol fumes that turned my stomach for the wrong reasons.
The illusion had faded, but it wasn’t Bangkok’s fault … it was mine.
I had to make a few return trips, not part of my original plan, so I could get my Indian visa from the embassy in the city (I stupidly didn’t prepare this before I left the UK). So I wasn’t here to savour the delights of the city but because I had to be, and boy let me tell you the difference that makes.
When you visit somewhere and can take your time strolling the streets, letting the place soak into your skin and discover it through the eyes of an excitable tourist is SO different to having to be at a certain place by a certain time, navigating the underground system as sweat drips down your face, running late and getting lost.
Tears of frustration were shed but eventually I’d signed all the correct forms, found the well hidden office and got my visa clutched in my clammy hand. By that point all I wanted to do was escape this infuriating city (how naïve I was to think India would be a place of tranquillity to escape to, ha ha!).
Since returning back to some sort of normality I’ve been thinking about the emotions that Bangkok stirred up in me. One day I will return and I won’t hold my bad mood against this buzzing capital. I now understand it was me, not you and for that Bangkok, I am sorry.