Inspiration Through Travel: Thailand October 22 2014
It took a hot minute to get to Thailand. I flew 15 hours to Taipei from JFK and then 3 hours to Bangkok. I live in NYC (Brooklyn to be exact) so one would think that I'm used to the hustle and bustle of the city, but it took me a few days to get my bearings. I was lucky because I met up with a friend who is from Bangkok and I knew someone from undergrad whose parents have lived in Bangkok for a number of years so I got of lot of recommendations, the most important being the prices of handicrafts and custom suits. A word of advice: before buying anything in Bangkok, including taxi services and food at restaurants, ask a local or hotel staff for a ball park price because price gauging tourists is common practice. Be leery of menus in English or without prices because the tourist price is usually double, and never consume anything before you agree on a price. Also, never let a taxi take you anywhere if the driver refuses to turn on the meter.
I like Thailand, especially the food, which is nothing like the "Thai" food you get in the USA. The closest to authentic Thai I've had in the USA was at Larb Ubol in NYC. Anyway, If one is savvy, one can get great deals on food, jewelry, handicrafts, and fine fabrics like silk. As mentioned in my previous blog, I only paid a few hundred dollars for a custom suit made of Italian wool. I was happy with my suit and the fabric used but the fabric options are limited in Thailand. Therefore, some people choose to bring their own fabric and just pay for the labor.
I also visited a friend I hadn't seen in several years who is an English teacher in Nakhon Si Thammarat, which is in southern Thailand about a one hour flight from Bangkok. I loved the wide open spaces, small town charm, and even cheaper prices (except for red bell peppers, which cost $7 USD a piece!!). I had a fantastic meal consisting of flash fried fish and went to a Bob Marley themed bar complete with live music and a hammock. It's popular with expat teachers looking to unwind after a day's work.
I am in the fashion business, so I always pay attention to what people are wearing and take note of unique styles. While I was at one of the tailor shops, an employee tried to get me to buy a custom made traditional Thai dress (see photo). Even though the options she showed me were beautiful, I declined because: A. I was running out of money and B. I had no idea when or if it would be appropriate for me to wear such a garment. But that's not to say that I won't incorporate certain features of traditional Thai dresses into Exclusively Kristen apparel in the near future.