Monday, April 18, 2011

The City

Differences between life in Joshua Tree and life in Bangkok:
1.  M's condo is on the 30th floor.  It's the top floor of the building, so we spend quite a lot of time on elevators. We also spend a good deal of time on escalators when riding public transportation.  Don't have either of those in Joshua Tree.
2.  My workouts have changed from running sandy, rocky desert trails with my dog to running on a treadmill in a small, steamy gym.  No air conditioning.  This was my first time EVER on a treadmill, that's how completely un-urban I am.  I spend most of the workout worrying that I am going to fall off the end of the machine.
3.  Bangkok has few parks for such a large city.  I have gone from bumpy dirt roads and lots of open space (Joshua Tree National Park is a 5 minute drive from our house) to concrete, subways, taxis and almost no open space.
4.  The view out of our window in the desert consists of creosote, cacti, desert creatures and mountains in the distance.  The view out of the window here is like this:
This was taken last week, during the holiday (Songkran)  Notice the lack of traffic.

There is one little patch of green with water directly out the window, which M has told me is inaccessible.  I stare at it longingly.
 5.  In Joshua Tree, all the faces at the post office and grocery store are familiar, and I know many of the names of the people who help me.  Here, all the faces are unfamiliar, and not only do I not know the names of the people, but it's unlikely that I could pronounce them, even if I did.  
6.  It took a 10-minute walk to the subway, a short subway ride, and a 15 minute walk to get to the post office today in Bangkok.   It only takes about 5 minutes in the car to get to the post office in Joshua Tree.
7.  There is a 7-11 right downstairs here.  Joshua Tree doesn't have a 7-11.  (although many of the things they sell in the 7-11 here are unrecognizable to me.  (oh, and you can get a bacon-wrapped hot dog at the 7-11 here.  Haven't tried it yet, but I have wondered about it...)
8.  In the desert, the sky is nearly always blue and clear, and at night you can see tons of stars.  Here in Bangkok, the sky is nearly always a hazy white from the humidity, and I have yet to see a star.  (Although part of that could be blamed on jet-lag, I suppose.)
9.  Going outside in Bangkok is an assault on the senses:  Noise (traffic, horns, whistles, people), Smells (exhaust, trash, the occasional sewer gas waft, smoke and food), and sights (cars, signs, buses, buildings, faces, telephone posts, shrines, stray dogs, overpasses, etc.)  It tires me.  I don't know if the desert has less impact on my senses, or if I am just used to the sights, smells and sounds.   I believe there is less of it all in the desert.
10.  This isn't a city vs. rural thing as much as a foreign country thing, but I am eating a LOT MORE RICE.  Oh, and food spiced with red peppers and basil.  Food that makes my mouth burn for about 10 minutes after the meal is finished.  (it's delicious.)

For some reason, blogger is being very disagreeable with formatting today, and I have decided to call it quits now.  I am sure more differences will occur to me as my time here lengthens.  For now, SAWA-DEE KA!


Lynne said...

How long will you be there? It is interesting to read of the huge differences you are experiencing. I'd be on the plane for Joshua Tree in a heartbeat!

Anonymous said...

I'd take Joshua Tree any day over the onslaught of all that is 'city.'

I'm enjoying your posts!

Happy Travels, Karine.

Mark J said...

I think I'd rarther be in Joshua Tree!

Abby Creek Art said...

Wow, quite the culture shock! Really enjoyed your comparisons and photos, Karine.

How long will you be there? xox

Karine said...

I am here in Bangkok until the 27th or so. We may be traveling a little, but mostly I will be in Bangkok. Thanks for all of the comments!

Patty said...

How wonderful for us that you're sharing your experiences. It'll be interesting to see how this influences your artwork in the future. Have a ball!

Laurie said...

You know, here in Naples we use to think we DO live in a city...the truth is, Bangkok looks like the space cities from a sci-fi movie, to us :D
Needless to say, I would love to live there!

Your blog is really great <3