I’ll tell you how the sun rose, —
A ribbon at a time.
The world is a mighty accessible place. In the span of a day, we can fly almost anywhere we please, going to sleep in one time zone, then landing in another halfway around the globe. As a reasonably seasoned traveler, this is not a new discovery, but I was reminded of it more profoundly while I was in Thailand, helped in large part by the book I was reading, The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert.
It was completely transporting. The sweeping journey left me longing to finish the book in a matter of days (which I did, while taking short breaks to eat coconut milk ice cream, it should be noted). Protagonist Alma Whittaker was born in 1800, and the book spans a large chunk of the 19th century. Heavily researched and detailed, I truly found myself lost in the world of botany, science, moss, and sailing. There's a point in the story when Alma goes on a quest, sending her on a ship from Philadelphia bound for Tahiti, and that's where I paused.
Here I was in the south of Thailand, having flown approximately 18 hours to arrive. Alma boarded a ship that took an unbearably long seven months to arrive. With no internet. No cell phone reception. No friends or family. No real sense of whether or not she would even arrive alive. (As it turns out, she did arrive, but her luggage and all her precious earthly possessions were promptly stolen by the villagers.)
It's no wonder I never felt as far away as I actually was, because although there are always stresses of travel and sometimes uncomfortable hours on a long flight, it's put in perspective when you think of what challenging journeys existed in other eras. So, you might say I was smitten with this book, and the story came at just the right time for me to fully enjoy it. For that, I say a great big thank you to Elizabeth Gilbert.
During our trip Andrew and I took a cooking class while we stayed in Krabi, and I can't even tell you how enjoyable the street food was in Bangkok. From pad thai to mango sticky rice to noodles to coconut crackers to prawns the size of lobsters to spicy sauces drizzled over tender chunks of chicken, we were in a paradise of sorts. This week I've been trying to reset by eating lots of leafy greens, drinking pressed juices, and attempting to start sleeping normally again. On the recipe front, I'm afraid I haven't had any time to start cooking Thai food at home yet or even fully collect my thoughts and notes.
I know the Thai flavors will beckon me to the kitchen in good time, and until then, I hope you enjoy a few photos that will give you a taste of this very magical country.