Monday, October 10, 2016

Neighborhoods - Bangkok, Chiang Mai

Written by Karen.

We have been in Bangkok for several days now and are ready to settle down in our own space for a bit.  Our first impressions of Thailand are still holding strong: very friendly people, excellent food, and lots to see/do.  In short, we like Bangkok very much.  

Like almost anything in life, a lot of how you see things or your first impression of something or someone depends greatly on the underlying circumstances that provide the context of your initial experience. For me, our first impressions of our helpful neighbors on our first dark and drizzly night in Bangkok provided a foundation of good cheer that we have built on over the past several days.   

We have been engaged in the proverbial peeling of an onion as we got to know our new neighborhood: Walking the streets, dodging motor scooters and cars, riding water taxis, buses and tuk-tuks, trying new foods, interacting with people and experiencing just a smattering of what Bangkok offers.  Each day we build on the experiences and lessons learned from the day before; each day the unfamiliar became more familiar.  

We now have a better sense of our little neighborhood in Bangkok. It is located pretty far away from the well-known sights, and that is okay.  We can always take public transportation of some sort to visit a museum or eat at a particular restaurant or cafe, but it is getting the pulse of our neighborhood that runs strong for both of us and is our first priority.  What is the ebb-and-flow of the place?  How do people live?  It is important to both of us that we feel like we understand a little about our new neighborhood and how we fit in as neighbors.  It grounds us.  

I really like the idea of cities breaking down into smaller neighborhoods or districts, usually with their own quirks and personalities.  If you have a choice - like the well-known Paris arrondissements - you can choose the neighborhood that you like or know the best, or you can choose a different and unknown neighborhood, and get to know a new place that you will call home for awhile.  

We do both.  We have discovered neighborhoods over our travels that easily make our list of top ten places where we would live permanently and would go back to with enthusiasm.  We have gone back to several of those top ten neighborhoods and immediately feel like we are “home” again.  We unpack and then pick up where we left off, regardless of how much time has passed. 

With a brief airplane ride, the equivalent of flying from Los Angeles to San Jose in California, we arrived in the university town of Chiang Mai where we can settle down in our own space for a few weeks.  We have rented a small studio apartment where we can start to explore and find a cadence to living here in a new neighborhood outside the walls of the Old City.  

View from our Chiang Mai apartment
Arches that depict the Royal Couple are located across the City
It's hot...
Finding quiet respites...

Exploring the Nimman shopping area and surrounding neighborhood

We didn't expect to see this in the middle of the City and just down from our apartment.


Shelley's Peace said...

Hi Karen and Adam! I like how you look st neighborhoods for their quirks and personalities. I also like how neighbors helped you both.

This Journey We Call Life said...

Hi Shelley -

Nice to hear from you! Great neighborhoods - and great neighbors! - make travel and life so much better! :) Thanks for being such a great neighbor to us. Karen (and Adam, of course!)