I can’t believe I voluntarily decided to come to Bangkok, again. And now, I am stuck here. The plan was to stay less than 36 hours in Bangkok, with my cousin, then fly to sweet, beautiful Krabi. Now I can’t. Thanks to a horrible cyclone destined to devastate the southern part of Thailand and surrounding countries.
I’m upset for two reasons.
I don’t want to be in Bangkok. I’ve had a love/hate relationship with this crazy city since the day I landed. My first day was spent getting ripped off by a Tuk Tuk. I’ve spent many (sweaty) hours wandering the streets with a dead cellphone searching for the closest BTS because none of the taxi drivers would pick up a non-Thai. I have been screamed at by taxi drivers and I have screamed right back at them. I’ve even cried on the corner of the street because of the treatment of an animal I witnessed. My friends and I would joke that Bangkok was just like New York, but worse. Everything that can go wrong, does, and you just have to keep on pushing through it.
Pabuk, the cyclone, is the most deadly to hit the country since 1962. As I am writing this, I am texting one of my friends, discussing about how this crazy country has become a second home to us. Neither of us can bare to witness to this destruction — she’s in Chiang Mai and I’m in Bangkok — it’s difficult to sit here and await its fate. We’ve been to those islands and befriended the residents. I hope we are overreacting, I hope that everyone in southern Thailand will be okay.
Today, everything went shockingly well. Mary and I had a great day. Almost everything went as planned, until we became aware of the cyclone. Throughout the day, I periodically checked weather apps and discussed options with my friend still in Thailand. It became clear at about 10:00 P.M. that we would not be going to Krabi. With Friday flights canceled, and a very concerned father (and aunt) it became completely out of the question. From there, things went downhill. By the time we decided to (figuratively) eat our Krabi flights, we were at Lebua. Lebua, otherwise known as the Hangover bar, is incredibly pompous — just in case anyone is wondering. Maybe it was the water downed $30+ drink or the employees’ age discrimination and harassment, but at some point I realized I had enough. But, Bangkok being Bangkok, a taxi home is almost never an easy task. Long story short, after arguing with my taxi driver about how I can speak some Thai and know that my 60 baht drive was not worth 400 baht I finally got to our hostel.
The whole experience was a what we would have called a typical Bangkok day, the difference is that I am struggling with the fact “we” are not here. The people I call “we” are the friends that I made here, and they aren’t here anymore. Of course I am happy to have my cousin here — thank goodness she is or that taxi driver experience would have gone a different way — but there’s something validating about being with people that understand your experiences. Being in Bangkok is like being Rachel in New York without Monica or Ted without Barney. It feels different.
Unfortunately, I can’t control what happens with the storm. I can only pray for southern Thailand and wait. I can control Bangkok. Bangkok, I am not going to let you beat me. I have come so far. Bangkok gave me mundane taxi rides with my best friends, hundreds of pictures of cats, delicious food and faith in the kindness of strangers. Just because my friends aren’t physically here doesn’t mean that they don’t get it. That’s why after I got home, I ranted to two of my friends who were very empathetic. Now, all I can do is brush it off, post this, go to sleep and then start all over again tomorrow.
I already feel better.