Tuesday, October 30, 2012

the land of smiles

school's out in dali

the south of china was a blur for me.
i quickly bopped along from town to town.
shangri-la, lijiang, dali and kunming.
highlights for me include meeting two friends from france.
sylvain and pierre.
they have been traveling for nine months so far. they left france in february and are biking to australia!
they were occasional cyclists before. but on a whim decided to bike around the world.
i met them in shangri-la and was lucky enough to meet up with them again in dali before i left for kunming.
hearing stories like theirs inspires me so much. thinking about cycling around the world sounds daunting. but hearing it from someone who is doing, and someone who really had no travel or cycling experience before really makes me aware that anyone can do it.
stories like theirs put ideas in my head.
once i made it to kunming i took two days to thump around before thailand beckoned.
the contrast was immediately apparent, and welcomed. i got off the plane and immediately i could sense the difference.
people smiled. everyone smiled. getting through customs was a breeze and soon i was at the info booth asking directions. i needed to navigate my way through public transit to get to my couchsurfers house.
i like to ask someone about every five minutes that im walking to make sure im going in the right direction.
everyone spoke english, everyone stopped to help me, everyone smiled.
people even came up to me to make sure i knew where i was going.
it was pouring rain. a mid-monsoon downfall. the worst rain i'd seen on my trip so far. but i couldnt stop smiling.
when i arrived at my couchsurfers house i looked like a drowned. soaked to the bone. but i didnt care. my cs'ers were a couple from europe. fiona is from scotland, and cora is from germany. they were just living in bangkok for a month while fiona wrote her final paper for law school. i spent three nights with them while i took care of thai logistics. getting a cell phone and sim card, buying a flight south, and contacting places where i might be able to stay at. during those first days in bangkok i consumed an absurd amount of pad thai and fruit smoothies. pad thai and green curry are my favorite foods in thailand. although really there are too many to count.
when i said bye to the girls i headed off to catch my plane. bangkok to phuket.

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