Somebody somewhere once said, "Give to the world the best that you have, and the best will come back to you." After deciding that I would give this trip the best that I have, one of the first things to come back to me was... tuna flavored floss. Eva Airlines served me breakfast on my flight, and along with my rice porridge and little banana muffin came a silvery packet of "tuna flavored floss." It turned out to be like shredded tuna jerky, but I half expected to find the SE Asia equivalent to mint-flavored dental floss (Imagine tuna-- the new mint! Mojitos would never be the same).
The veggie dumplings I had upon my arrival in Taipei during my layover were less noteworthy. From there I made it to Bangkok, where frightening things are taking place. One headline read, "PANDEMONIUM." I personally associate that word with the panda-mascotted Chuck E. Cheeze-like place we frequented as kids, but in this case, the word is referring to this not so cuddly current event: www.nytimes.com/2009/04/14/world/asia/14thai.html?_r=2&hp
I left straight from the Bangkok airport for the city of Chiang Mai. After I arrived, I got a taxi to my hostel, and on the streets I got my first glimpse of the Songkran Festival in action. In all the beds of the pickup trucks, there were giant tubs of water with masses of people tucked in around them, flinging bucketfuls of water at whoever was in range. Motorbikes weaved in and out of traffic with drenched teens seated three deep, wearing backpacks of water-filled plastic cartoon character heads. Families clustered at stalls on the roadside armed with hoses and buckets, splashing the cars and the people hanging out of them. One man walked up to my side of the car, stone-faced, and emptied his bucket at my window and then burst into giggles. Meanwhile, I practiced the pronunciation of key phrases in Thai with my taxi driver, a Mr. Dechawat Suphawong. With a name like Suphawong, he could join Immunowoman's super hero task force.