Feb 7, 12:15pm

I walked into the lobby of the Trinity Silom and was greeted by smiles from the staff. I got a giggle from the girl at the check-in desk when she realized I had no reservation. They had a room for me though. I’m not going to stress about hotel rooms any more. I’m discovering it’s quite normal for rooms to become available at the last minute. I’m paying 1500 Baht, my regular “last minute” rate here. It’s more than I’d have paid if I had booked ahead through a reseller, but that’s ok. There’s a price for everything, including lack of forethought, right?

This place feels like home now. As I dragged my suitcase and camera gear through the backstreet market to get here, I marvelled at how clean it all felt after having spent a weekend in grubby Ayutthaya. In contrast, I remember feeling somewhat mortified when I first arrived because of the apparent chaos of the place.

They’ve checked me into a very nice room. It’s not a suite like last time, but it’s spacious and clean, and has two double beds. Anyone want to crash here tonight?

I am aware of the changes in me since I arrived. When I got here, I needed to have my “stuff” near me to feel comfortable. I used to carry my wallet, sunglasses, Purell hand sanitizer, and PDA with me everywhere. That might not be much, but it adds weight and makes me a very obvious ferang. Now, I’m feeling more independent. Shooting in Ayutthaya without my daypack reminded me that I don’t need anything other than a few Baht in my pocket. It seems to be safe to leave almost anything in the hotel room, provided you take the basic precautions. For example, don’t leave precious jewels and gold nuggets lying on the bed when the maid comes in to clean. All of the hotels advise guests to use the safe deposit boxes at the front desk, but that’s mainly as a liability protection. I get the feeling that Thai hotel staff would never steal. I think they’re grateful for their jobs, and wouldn’t dare endanger them by doing something stupid like robbing a guest. Besides, the general vibe around Thai people (except for maybe tuk tuk drivers) is that they’re quiet, proud, gentle and peaceful. Of course it’s unwise to make generalizations, but that’s the overall impression I get here.

I’m going to look for a smaller suitcase this afternoon. I should be able to leave my big suitcase here at the Trinity while I’m away on side trips from Bangkok.