hOMe Is Where The Heart Is [part 1]/Another Day in BKK

**I'm averaging updating this blog about once a season, so it's no surprise that timely blogging is not my forte...but I think I can live with that. Anyway, here's super back-logged account of my return travels this winter back to my happy place.**

I entered my last work contract in the Maldives promising myself that it was a temporary gig. Despite the fact that I got quite comfortable living rent-free in paradise and probably could have continued to do so for a little bit longer,  I knew that there was much more to experience in life outside my lagoon.

I always assumed that after my contract expired, I'd immediately head to Mysore, India for a few months and study Ashtanga Yoga with some of the great teachers there. After all, India was only a skipping stone's throw away from the tiny island country I'd called home for the last year and a half. Plus, I seem to possess this masochistic pattern where I rapidly drop out of the nurturing kindergarten of paradise and enroll in the graduate level School of Life [otherwise known as India].

However, I wasn't expecting that one month prior to leaving the Maldives, I'd find myself in a hospital in Sri Lanka due to unbearable stomach pains. The culprit? A year and a half too much daily consumption of spicy curries that literally burnt out this Western gullet. 
(Poked, prodded, starved and drained. I wasn't sure if I'd spent 36 hours in a hospital or in Sri Lankan prison).

The idea of eating three more months of curry felt like a death sentence, so I decided to go back to a place who's cultural cuisines I'd happily consume on a daily basis. A place that was constantly in the forefront of my mind and the seat of my heart... 

The Land of Smiles- Thailand
They say that if you want to know where your heart lies, look at where your mind goes when it wanders. Based on my choice of background images on my work computer, it was no secret that my heart longed to be back on the Gulf of Thailand.
(Even my computer in paradise wanted to be in another paradise.)

At this point in the game, I'm fairly convinced I was Thai in a previous lifetime. Besides the fact that I prefer to eat rice and noodles for breakfast any day of the week over standard Western fare, I can't seem to get enough of Thailand.
(When faced with a hotel buffet breakfast, this Westerner will proudly eat my Asian plate on the right, while my Asian boyfriend eats his Western plate on the left.)

There are definitely a lot of other places in the world I have a burning desire to visit, but there's something so incredibly comfortable and familiar about that sweet Southeast Asian country that keeps calling me back. Thankfully, my boyfriend, Sanoon, and I had been able to take a couple short trips back to Thailand over the last year, but this time, we intended to stay for a solid three months.

There were a couple important errands we needed to run, so the first stop on our tour was Bangkok. I used to resist spending excessive time in Bangkok because I thought the city was too hectic, but I've learned to love it over the years. Where else can you get fined for farting in a taxi

Or eating a smelly durian in a hotel lobby?
(Keeping Bangkok odor-free is a civil service really.)

Residents are free to camouflage themselves against coffee shop upholstery,
(If it weren't for her orange hat, I wouldn't have seen her.)

Shopping malls double as airports and allow you to escape city life on a whim,

And you can buy fish in a bag on the street.
                                                
(I actually think that one's kind of weird and mean.)

Since Sanoon was joining me on the longest vacation of his life, he decided to celebrate by getting a hairdo that would never fly in the office.

As for errand running, my first stop was the American Embassy so I could add additional pages to my passport. A small part of me was proud that I'd filled all the pages in my passport since renewing it in 2012. As I walked through central Bangkok, a painted wall confirmed that I was close to a little slice of Uh-Merica.  

I was a little concerned that the activity of adding pages to my passport was going to be a bureaucratic nightmare and end up consuming the whole day. After all, I'd experienced my fair share of slow-moving Asian governments over the past few years, and I assumed the American embassy would be no different abroad. However, much to my pleasant surprise, I was in and out of the embassy with my new 80 page super-sized and super fresh passport in less than one hour.
(Team America! F*ck Yeah!)

With all the time left over from the embassy, Sanoon and I were able to get back on track with a couple other errands we needed to run. Like shoe shopping,

 And food court lunches.

One downfall of Bangkok is the poor air quality of the city. Sanoon had been struggling with some pretty severe allergies and sinus problems for a while and found breathing in Bangkok irritating to say the least. So he donned his fanciest face mask, and rocked that look like a pro until we could continue on to our final errand in Bangkok, an overnight sinus surgery in Bumrumgrad Hospital.
(Professor Sanoon showing us how it's done.)

After Sanoon had so generously waited out potentially the most uncomfortable hospital visit on Earth at my bedside in Sri Lanka, I had some seriously low expectations for our overnight stay in Bumrumgrad Hospital. However, like so many other nuanced surprises that I tend to encounter in Thailand, the hospital was nothing short of a five star experience. The doctors were top notch, everything in the room was sanitized to a sparkling perfection, and with on-demand satellite tv and an extensive room service menu, I almost preferred our stay there to the budget hotels we'd been frequenting throughout Bangkok the past week. Luckily [for both of us], Sanoon had some Grade A anesthesia and wasn't going anywhere for a while.
(These lime green pajamas undoubtedly earned Sanoon the nickname, "Sexy Patient" from all his nurses in the ward.)

Eventually, I had to stop watching romantic movies on demand we got booted from the hospital. With a new spring in his step and no more need for his face mask in public, Sanoon and I ventured out to meet a couple of our friends, David and Richard, for a super authentic Thai meal- pizza.

(Re-entry into real world!)

Much like Sanoon, it appeared that David was also celebrating life outside the office by getting a super fresh haircut himself.
(K-Pop Twinsies)

(Clean plate club)

With Sanoon's newly functional nose and our errands completed, it was time to leave the big city and return hOMe my favorite spot on Earth, the Gulf of Thailand.
As indicated from the title of this post, I intend to write more on this subject later...hopefully not too much later.

Till next time! 

Hugs and Snugs dear readers! X