I woke up this morning recovering from the travels I accomplished the day before. A smirk appeared on my lips; perhaps the best time to travel is when you are lost.
Our GRAB driver (like an Uber driver) left my friend Karina and I in the middle of what seemed to be of no-where. Trees as tall as the sky and tiny restaurants lined up on the right side of the street–the left consisted of rooftops lurking over tall blades of green grasses. Empty street… My heart pounded in my chest, its rhythm increasing each time I realized that THIS place was not the destination I wanted to go. I cursed the man who stole my 61 baht. Although it is only $1.86 USD, I felt scammed and lied to. I furrowed my brows in frustration. I wanted to leave instantly but my thoughtful friend decides to make the best of the moment and persuaded me to continue forward.
Suddenly and probably luckily, Karina realizes that to our right side, we had one of the most beautiful view of Doi Suthep, the temple on top of a hill. I stumbled forward and did not realize Karina stopped in her tracks, only to be informed when she yelled out my name,
I turned around to see her a few feet behind me. “What’s up?” I answered. She only extended her right arm and lifted her finger to point to the view I was unaware of. I followed steadily, expecting more disappointment. But my eyes were only in awe; the beauty of Doi Suthep still shines over the people, even when one does not notice.
Then I realized: how can I fill the void in my homesick heart without the adventure our GRAB driver has given us?
Maybe, just maybe… Thailand can give me the opportunities I know America can never supply me with.
We snap a few photos but those pictures can never portray the true beauty of Doi Suthep. The sun was not in our favor; although the temple gleamed in reality, our camera cannot capture even the essence.
We continued forward and came to a little restaurant ran by a happy couple. I asked for a menu in the limited amount of Thai I learned from the past week in class. I was awe-struck but also dumbfounded when I realized I could not comprehend the letters in front of me. Therefore, I pulled out my notes from my backpack and read aloud one of the MOST COMMON dish in Thailand.
“P-a-a-a-d G-a-a-p-r-o-w M-o-o S-a-a-i K-a-a-a-i D-o-o-w”
My friend ordered, “Kow pad.” Because she is an excellent student, she remembered the name of one of her favorite dishes. I, on the other hand, needed practice as soon as possible.
I then asked how much were the food. The kind man answered in Thai and we were completely lost. Only then, he signaled for us to “wait” and ran to the other business to ask for an English translator. The kind man returns with another gentleman and they proceeded to help us with our order. Then they seated us.
The food arrived in less than fifteen-minutes. And I remember tasting the first spoonful of white rice and pad gagrow with the egg yolk. I was in love. This was the best. THE BEST. Pad gaprow I have ever had in Chiangmai. So I guess.. or should I say I believe… that the best journey happens when you least expect it.