After spending days in bed recovering from jet lag and being completely useless, I had my first full day of work today. It was so wonderfully normal to be back doing what I love. It was also my first brush with rush hour traffic in Bangkok. Wait… what rush hour traffic?
If I was in New York, I would have been fighting with 100 other people for the two remaining seats and fanning myself with my Metro paper. But in this city of about 12 million, I rode to work with a seat on either side of me and a few goose bumps. I could get used to this.
As I’m starting my apartment search in a few days I decided to check out the predominantly expat neighborhood of Sukhumvit. And what better way to understand a bit more about Bangkok and it’s inhabitants than to check out one of the city’s largest shopping centers: Emporium. That, and the retail therapy was a convenient way to soothe some homesickness. It has a seemingly endless array of high-end shops like Hermes, Louis Vuiton and Calvin Klein, but also has some of my favorites in America like Zara and Esprit.
Emporium also has one of the largest department stores in the city of the same name. It has everything you’d want in the States, but the size (and elegance) of it puts every other department store in the U.S. to shame.
Ok it has almost anything. Once you go up to the second and third floors forget trying to find clothes unless you are a size 4 or 6. Unfortunately I am not a teenage boy masquerading as a Thai woman so I’m out of luck.
Next to the shopping center is a lovely park in the middle of this bustling section of the city. Benjasiri Park is tiny but just large enough to get away from the rotting egg smell and the sounds of traffic. You can walk around a small lake and see couples on benches, people in stretchy pants working out and guys playing basketball.
Incidentally it is also where I spotted my first Thai she-male, though my dear friend in San Francisco informs me this is no big deal. Spoiler.