Category Archives: thoughts

Thailand – what shocked me the most

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As soon as I stepped my foot on Thai soil, I knew there were things waiting for me that would leave me completely shocked and speechless. Not only because I had never left Europe before going to Thailand, but also because naturally I like to be comfortable as much as possible wherever I am. I have to confess that I hadn’t done much research before getting on a plane so everything I saw was extremely new and exciting to me.

Thailand left me speechless indeed – with its unique beauty, amazing people and, well, strange things that happen quite randomly. Here’s something from what I can remember:

1. Toilets

When I first arrived in Bangkok’s guesthouse, I was taken to my room and was told there was a toilet and a shower shared with a room next to mine. I went to see and was surprised to only see one door – if it’s toilets then where’s the shower? Later on I found out the shower is actually installed right above the toilet using less space and being (probably) more comfortable. It took me some time to get over my first reaction of “Oh how gross!” To my greater surprise later on I found out they didn’t have toilet paper. I thought maybe they’ve ran out but as I traveled more around Thailand, I realized they just simply don’t use toilet paper. And obviously it became clear to me what that strange hose next to the toilet is for.

2. Smiles…everywhere

Living in the Czech republic, I am quite used to everyone minding their own business, not really looking at each other let alone talking to strangers on the street. It comes around to me as natural to just walk past someone without even noticing, maybe looking at them for a brief moment then looking away without expecting them to look back at you. You live your life here unnoticed and while someone might feel uncomfortable not being exposed to social contact while in Prague, the rest of us consider it quite likable. In Thailand, however, people do look at you. And when you look back, they smile. Whoa! And I don’t mean the “fake smile” I sometimes see here in Prague, the real smile that comes from the heart. I probably had more people in Thailand smiling at me in those 10 days than I had here in Prague the past year. Thais want to look at you, talk to you, get to know you. And while this might sound awesome (and it truly is), sometimes I felt like people were being too social. But maybe it’s just me not being used to it.

3. Nightlife

It’s not only crazy discos and clubs with loud music. Bangkok seems to transform into a completely different place at night. You go out there and it is as if you could feel life pumping all around you. We went out our first night in Bangkok and ordered Red Bull & Vodka. Well, this is it – Thai Style:

Yeah, they have Red Bull in small bottles and Vodka was actually Bacardi…

Sex shows and sex tourism in general would probably deserve their own post. Everywhere you go in Thailand (we did Bangkok, Pattaya, Koh Samet and Phuket) – there are girls waiting for customers. Or girls performing “ping pong shows” which means putting and getting out random stuff in and out of their vaginas. Nights in Thailand can get as crazy as nowhere else in the world. In my opinion, at least.

4. Just random stuff 

Like a friend of mine (male) getting a neck massage from some random guy while washing his hands in Bangkok’s night club’s toilets. Just randomly.

5. Ladyboys

I had never seen a transvestite before going to Thailand, but ladyboys are not transvestites. At first you don’t notice anything but when you look for a bit longer, you can usually tell. Reminds me of how we went to 7Eleven and my friend was like “Look at that guy”, I had no idea who he’s talking about until I noticed there was something strange about a cashier girl. There were ladyboys dancing on poles in night clubs as well. When I was flying back from Bangkok, I saw a book dedicated to ladyboys in an airport bookstore, still regret not buying it.

6. Muay Thai Boxers

There is nothing surprising about Muay Thai in Thailand, but I was shocked to see boxers of 7 years of age competing and beating up each other.

7. Stray Cats and Dogs

Everywhere. Especially on the islands. I talked to an owner of a small restaurant in Koh Samet and he said they were harmless, they just liked to live there. There are dogs on the beach, dogs in cafes, dogs on the streets,… There was one that would lie in front of our bungalow door every evening. They’re used to being around people and are quite friendly.

8. Food that is ABSOLUTELY delicious

I never really tried Thai food at home except maybe for “Thai Style risotto” that they have in a local Italian restaurant. I did expect it to be amazing but not THAT amazing. Food that you can easily get at every street corner blew my mind. Phad Thai, Thai ice coffee, Thai style pancakes, Thai Curry, noodles with shrimps,… Ahhhh!

Oh, Thailand… I miss you.

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All Good Things Come to an End

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How do most people feel after they come home from a trip that’s just finished?

Relieved, happy, sad? Well for me it is definitely a feeling of wanting more. It feels strange to come back to the place where everything is as you know it after seeing so many things you’ve never seen before. When you’re traveling, you feel alive. When you return home, you suddenly feel like life stopped, and the one thing you feel the urge for is to travel again.

Having said that, I must admit I’m no travel expert, no backpacker, pretty much none of these things. What I’ve been doing for the last couple of years is living a life of routine and I’ve felt comfortable doing so, I mean – why not? You do what you do, nothing hurts, nothing scares you, everything is easy and you don’t really need to think. Then suddenly you’re on a plane and you fly over such places as Africa and India, and I remember looking out the window thinking “Wow, down there is a place like Karachi – I’ve heard so much of it but it’s impossible to imagine that it is actually right there, that it exists not only on TV screen or newspaper pages”. It was then that I realized how limited my life has been, how little I knew about the world. I realized I could tell you everything about Second World War or European politics, but when it comes to dealing with real life issues – I think I’d just fail. That is how I felt on my way to Bangkok, Thailand, where I was about to spend 10 days.

More on that soon.

Breaking the silence

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Been a while..

Only ten days left til my trip to Thailand – getting excited! I’ve been going through various websites like “What to pack to Thailand” and “What to see in Thailand” , seems like nothing can surprise me. Yeah right. I bet something will definitely surprise me the first second I step my foot off the plane. What I figured is that a normal backpack will do, I will probably buy more things once I’m there rather than carrying a bag full of stuff. Unnecessary stuff. I booked a room in a guesthouse for one night thinking that I’ll book more as I go. Let’s see what happens.

Last day of April

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Do you know a feeling when you’ve been waiting for something for so long and now that it is almost here, right here at your fingertips, suddenly, you feel like “ah, it’s actually not as special as I thought”? My Dad said that whenever something really crucial happens in your life, like when you finally finish school or something, you don’t really feel any different. It’s like not much has changed and at the same time your life has changed. You just don’t fully realize it.

I’ve been feeling strange these last few days. Suddenly everything in my life seems fake. People that I meet, my goals, my visions. I somehow started feeling like I don’t belong.

As for traveling, looks like I’m going to Thailand in a month. I have some sort of “project” in mind, we’ll see how it goes.

Lost Under the Tuscan Sun

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Remembering Italy…

Italy fascinated me even before I ever went there. Seeing it on pictures or on TV, it always captivated me with its unique beauty. I would even say unique personality. What you can find in Italy is hard to find anywhere else in the world. And most importantly, it always felt so familiar – especially Tuscany. Those olive trees, medieval towns, those landscapes… Looking at pictures, I used to imagine what it would be like to live in Tuscany one day, in one of those wonderful little houses.

Or to at least see it with my own eyes one day…

Well, I did. Back in 2009 I ended up going to Florence and from there to various little towns. Florence felt like I was back in medieval times, the atmosphere, the architecture,…  “Wow..!!!”  was all I could think of. You definitely need to be there to know what I’m talking about.

But let’s get back to what else Tuscany has to offer. Getting out of Florence to see its surroundings was a bit of a relief – although it is an astonishingly beautiful city, the traffic there is crazy. As soon as you get out of the city center, you are likely to get overwhelmed by all the motorbikes and all the cars. Drive a little further though and you will find yourself in a whole different world. In the world where it seems like time stopped hundreds of years ago, where you feel like what you see is exactly what people saw back then. It’s like nothing has changed. I mean, obviously, I can’t really know since I haven’t been there hundred years ago, but still – it felt like the nature, the little towns, everything stayed the same way. I felt like I was in a dream. I got sucked in the atmosphere so much I even started getting annoyed if I saw a modern house with a modern swimming pool… It just didn’t belong.

And then it happened. It was completely unplanned and thus even more magical. Somehow, I ended up in Montefioralle – the most impressive, the most dreamy, the most fairy tale-like little town I’ve ever seen and probably will ever see in my life. It was night time and I walked up those stairs that led to the entrance to that magical place. I will never forget how quiet it stood there, it felt like someone took it right out of my dreams and placed it right in front of me. I walked through and I could hear someone talking inside those windows and doors. I didn’t meet anyone on the street and I wondered – if I have, would the people look “normal” or would they look like they just stepped out of Dante’s poem?

Definitely the most mysterious place I have ever visited.

With Italy it was love at first sight.

Outside that box

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I am a very enthusiastic person. Whenever there is something that catches my eye – I go for it head over heels. I’ve become passionate about writing, spent the days going through various blogs and it simply fascinates me. I just bumped into this travel blog called “Adventurous Kate” (www.adventurouskate.com) which left me quite speechless. The girl travels the world solo, her favorite book is Hemingway’s “The Sun Also Rises” and she’s about to fulfill her dream of going to those bullfighting shows described in the novel.

While going through her blog, questions kept popping up in my head. How does she do it? How did she manage to get where she is right now? How do I get there as well? I don’t think of myself as a coward, but all those questions led to arising of certain fear in me. I kept thinking –  wow, how can I one day start doing this as well? Is it not too late? Being 21, I feel like I’ve not yet achieved anything crucial in my life and I noticed I started to realize time actually does pressure me. Some might say I still have the whole life ahead of me but I feel like I can’t waste a second. I feel like I need to start NOW, I need to pack my bags and go see the world. Which leads me to another idea.

I’ve been thinking how do I manage to travel “outside the box”. I’m not a least bit excited about traveling with some agency. A good idea would be to just buy a ticket and try my fortune. I was thinking I should try volunteering in South America or teaching English in Asia. The world seems to be full of possibilities, how do I know which one to catch?

Having said all that, I need to confess that, honestly, I’ve always believed in Life. I’ve always believed every one of us leads the life which best suits each and every one of us. I am convinced that what we should do is try to go with the flow, knowing for certain that Life will never let us down.