Downtown Bangkok, rush hour. Traffic is moving painfully slow, and all I want is my hotel room, a shower and food in my belly. I’ve just arrived on a 1 hour flight from Phuket, and before that an 11 hour flight from Cologne, so I’m pretty exhausted. Thankfully the car I’m riding in is perfectly air conditioned, otherwise I’d also be dealing with the 35 degree heat.
When I finally arrive at my hotel, the plan is to explore Bangkok and see its famous nightlife since I’m only here for the one night. However, after showering and shovelling down a McDonalds (don’t judge, it was the closest place serving food to my hotel, plus I wasn’t in the mood to be trying new and exotic things) I was beat. I fell asleep while watching some Thai version of a David Attenborough type documentary on hyenas around 9pm.
The next day it’s an early start back to the airport to catch my fourth flight in as many days. My taxi driver was super friendly, and he seemed to have a fondness for classic American country music. I was serenaded by the likes of Rhinestone Cowboy, Country Roads and Achy Breaky Heart as we headed for Don Mueang in his hot pink cab.
Before I know it it’s time to board my plane to Nakhon Si Thammarat, my final destination. As the plane lands, it’s clear that this is a rural area as it looks like we’re landing in the forest! The airport is very small: one runway, one small building and one luggage belt. Waiting to greet me with big smiles behind the door to arrivals are my lovely hosts Charunee and Wara, who I’ll be living right next-door to at my new home. Their hospitality and kindness is second-to-none. On the way home we stop at a local Thai market where Charunee treats me to some Thai sweets and these delicious edible flowers, which I’m afraid I can’t remember the name of.
When we arrive home the rain is hammering down and it’s dark. Frogs hop across the road in front of the truck as we pull into the leafy area towards the houses. When I step out of the truck the chorus of crickets, frogs and other nocturnal creatures is deafening. I love it because it reminds me that this is the real Thailand, although I’m wondering how I’ll be able to sleep through the night since I’m a very light sleeper!
Wara helps bring my belongings in from the truck and Charunee shows me around my house. It’s pretty cool that I have a 2 story house all to myself, but also slightly daunting. Once I’m left to be by myself, my first mission is to rid the house of every unwanted guest, as I soon realise I’m sharing with lizards, cockroaches, spiders and various flying creatures! Not my ideal roomies. However, I decide that I’m not going to let these insects give me a hard time. I’m bigger than they are, and this is MY house now, so they will have to put up with me.
As I unpack my things, I find a new insect behind every corner and under every table or chair. The most bug-free room thankfully is my bedroom. I shoo one cockroach out through the balcony door & soon become comfortable in this air-conditioned room (I think insects prefer the humidity of the other rooms), and the mosquito net around the bed provides me with a metaphoric and literal safety net throughout the night. The only problem I face during the night is the constant banging of insects against the windows and door, as the outside light is still on and I can’t for the life of me figure out how to switch it off!
Morning finally comes and I feel like I’ve actually had a decent sleep – something I didn’t think I would get, especially on night number one. I open the balcony door and am treated to the beauty of this place doused in fresh morning sunlight. It’s already very hot and a couple of cockerels crow to one another in the distance. It’s truly bliss to wake up to. As with UK mornings, Thailand mornings also begin with a good cup of coffee or two. After a somewhat difficult send off at home, and a stressful four-day journey through at least 5 different cities, I actually feel happy to be here… Insects and all (subject to my wrath). Once I make the house my own and I get to know the village, I know I’m going to love living here.