Is it an oxymoron to say that I’m getting used to culture shock? I’m settled in to my favorite little hidden hotel in Bangkok, the Silom Convent Garden. After weekly doses of culture shock from exploring various regions of China, from cosmopolitan Shanghai to the outskirts of Tibet to the grasslands of Inner Mongolia, I’m in a whole different world again. The language, people, money, food… all are different, of course. I woke up in Beijing this morning, with a climate like Canada’s, and got off the plane into Bangkok’s 33 degree Celcius heat. Even getting on the Internet is different. I don’t need to worry about someone snooping what I’m writing and banning my access to my server. My mini suite at the Silom Convent Garden has a rainshower bath, kitchenette and a king sized bed, which is a far cry from the hard and narrow beds served up by hostels in China.

Dinner tonight was at one of Silom’s finest street-side eateries. It’s literally a woman with an array of fresh ingredients, under an umbrella on the sidewalk. There are tables and chairs set up in a the alley behind her. It smells like sewage. The food, however, is divine. I ordered a plate of shrimps, stir fried in a pungent red curry with those delicious Thai licorice-scented basil leaves. I also got a piece of grilled chicken, sliced over shredded cabbage and fresh leaves of lettuce, with a sweet chili dipping sauce. All of this for about $5. Why can’t I find a Thai restaurant in Canada that cooks like this, at any price?

During dinner, it started raining, and I mean pouring. The brief but violent rain temporarily washed away the city’s nearly pleasant stink, and cut the substantial humidity by about one percent.

This week is going to be filled with festivities pertaining to Tan’s wedding. I’m looking forward to the arrival of many of my friends in the city tomorrow.