October 20, 2015
One week ago I missed the deadline for posting my SOL, even though I had it written- my excuse is the wifi where I was staying was in and out and after writing and “posting” the error message was too much for me to deal with, so what follows is my revision of what should have been last week’s post.
I know I am so lucky. For much of my adult life I have lived all over the world and I have had the opportunity to travel to so many amazing places (I will leave all the negatives about this rootlessness for another day). This week (now last week) I am enjoying exploring a bit of Thailand.
I decided it was time for my first ever solo vacation, so started small. I spend two days walking in Chiang Mai and I could not have picked a better entree into solo travel. The city is manageable, with surprises everywhere you turn- from fancy temples to outdoor markets galore. The people were friendly and I always felt safe. My hotel was a splurge and I really enjoyed the ambience. A rainy morning was spent reading in the outdoor living room.
After time on my own I was ready to join a friend and two of her friends in the hubbub of Bangkok. We meandered a bit and then hopped in two tuk tuks, to get around the city a bit faster. We had several places we wanted to see and our driver insisted that we take a peek at the fashion show.
Little did we know, that this was a deal the tailors had worked out to get customers to their shop in exchange for gas coupons. As we were interested in perhaps getting some clothing made we took a look. Three of the four of us decided we were not interested, but the last was the dream come true for this bustling shop. She decided to get two suits made (which “came with” two shirts as well. After having every possible part measured we were out the door, set to return the next afternoon for a fitting. We were off for more sightseeing. The next day we embarked on a walking/tuk tuk tour of many famous sights of the city and even got to explore some of the canals. After returning to the shop for a final fitting we all liked what we saw.
Just before dinner I decided to see if it was too late to get some clothes made for myself (we were leaving town the next morning). There were sevearl shops on the same street as our hotel, so off I went. The first shop said anything was possible and quoted me a price for two blouses, the second said the timing was too tight. The third was a shop that my friend had used before- he too said it was possible. I got measured carefully in both shops after choosing the fabric. In one shop I found a picture of a shirt I liked, but I made changes to the design to suit my taste. I would return in just over two hours for a fitting (while I was still being measured a man came in with a motorcycle helmet in hand- it turns out that he was the courier to take my fabric to the factory). In teh other shop he promised to open his shop early in the morning to meet me with the finished shirts before our 8:20 departure. As it happens all the shirts fit perfectly and I will get to wear one of them tomorrow.
From Bangkok we were headed to the beaches of Krabi. (This is where last week’s post would have ended). This week long break was just what I needed after weeks of haze in Malaysia. Looking back there is not a thing I would have changed- it was a good blend of quiet and active, alone and together, adventure and calm. Each place is one I would happily visit again and the memories are sustaining me as I struggle on in the haze. This was definitely a situation of being in the right place at the right time. It was just the right fit for me!