Last night I managed to stay up until 9PM Thailand time, and slept until 6PM, so I've made it here without suffering jet lag. My occupation really should be world traveler. I'm building my resume as we speak.
After packing my bags in the hostel bathroom this morning, I sat down for my fried rice and coffee breakfast and then subwayed it to the main train station. I've ventured to Phetchburi, a small "historic" town about 3 hours by train south of Bangkok. The ride on the commuter train (simple seating without air-con) was 34 Baht (about one US dollar). I was the only white person who got off at Phetchburi, so I was wondering whether I should have stayed on the train. But after asking directions to town, I set off to find my guesthouse, which is a small wooden building with a simple bed and green mosquito net for 120Bhat. I signed my name in the lined-paper register and was given a little sweet by one of the ladies behind the counter before I set off to wander town.
This is definitely off the beaten path, as most all signs are only in Thai and no one really speaks English. But with gestures, my phrasebook and help from random locals, I am getting by just fine. A couple hours into my walking tour of town, I met a couple from London, who appear to be the other tourists in town. We are all blonde and get a lot of looks.
They were looking for tourist info, so I decided to join them. This took several tries. Once we located the place, it turned out to be just a map on a sign. As we were staring in wonder, I felt my bag of mandarins suddenly snatched from my hand. A little scream escaped as I saw an "aggressive monkey" take off with my treat. I had just been warning my friends that I'd read in the guidebook not to trust the monkeys. It was funny anyway.
No worries about my safety. The Thai people are kind and it's peaceful. I'm headed next to the islands, where I think I will park myself for two weeks. I need to force myself to slow down. It's a bit of an adjustment, knowing that there is no definite end to this since I'm unemployed and there's not a hurry to get somewhere. It's the American way to be rushing, and that's hard to shake off. I really want to settle into a different pace of life and see how it feels.