I've decided it's time to play the game and update my blog more than once every few weeks (or months!). I also intend to make my posts shorter. Shorter, but more frequent. I'm inspired by my latest geographical discovery, Bangkok - a city so overwhelmingly full of stuff. b***** quality, when you can have quantity! Actually, that's unfair - there's a whole load of good stuff on offer here. So I shall attempt emulate the city's ability to provide both quality and quantity by writing regular, concise blogs...
Starting now, with all this stuff. Cables (big knots of them hanging precariously from street corners), vehicles weaving through networks of narrow streets and along big, ugly road infrastructure, sky scrapers competing for 'highest' status, gold-tipped temples like wedding cakes, guest houses, bars, places to eat (everything from luxurious restaurants charging European prices, to lone traders plying bags of tropical fruit or, less enticingly, scorpions on sticks). Market stalls lining the streets, offering beautiful shoes, clothes, notebooks, jewellery... On one street, shop after shop selling Buddha statues in every size from teeny weeny to giant! And malls filled with crazy, dazzling boutiques that make it feel like you're on the set of a Tim Burton film.
As with any unfamiliar place, the first few days there are spent in a bit of a daze. Jet-lag can bring a slightly hallucinogenic quality to the experience, too. No doubt both those things have contributed to my initial impressions of Thailand's capital, but there's another weirdness for me too - getting used to being back out here in the world and reacquainting myself with the 'stuff' of traveling.
There's the language, of course, and the currency to get your head around (handily, 100 Thai baht is equivalent to £2. Less helpfully, the Thai language has absolutely nothing in common with the other language I'm trying to learn - French!). The climate can take a while to adjust to as well - especially when you have an ovarian cyst wreaking havoc with your hormones, bringing on the hot flushes of a menopausal woman! And then there's all the lovely people you meet - both locals and other travellers. Plus, I'm no longer traveling alone - and it would appear that traveling as a couple makes for quite a different experience.
I love all this stuff - even the commercial tat has its own appeal. It's the 'stuff' of dreams and I'd have it no other way.