Grand Palace Thailand

 

My spirits lifted when I touched down in the land of smiles.

 

Thailand Temples

 

At immigration I was offered a stamp and a welcoming “sah-wah-dee-kah!”

Tour desks and workers eagerly waited to lend a helping hand.

Bus drivers, street vendors, bystanders all spoke English?!?!

 

ayutthaya

 

The culture appeared happy, open, and free.

 

thailand temples

 

Friendly travelers offered invitations and headed in packs for Khaosan Road

yet one turn down a small street revealed a charming, local world.

 

thailand temples

 

A woman selling young coconuts eagerly taught me Thai.

She beamed each day I stopped by.

 

thailand temples

 

The ornate temples humbled me

they were far more grandiose than I could believe.

 

thailand temples

 

In Thailand I began to remember what all of this was for.

Why I came to Southeast Asia.

Why I travel at all.

 

thailand temples

 

My heart ached less for Costa Rica.

Looking at the beauty around me, for the first time since I departed, I honestly did not miss it at all.

 

thailand temples

 

I began wonder… could Thailand in fact be too good to be true?

The deeper I looked, the more truth I saw.

 

thailand temples

 

If Vietnam displays its wounds like a proud war vet

perhaps Thailand conceals its darkness behind gilded temples

or beneath pure white sand.

 

wat arun

 

The grit can be found in back alleys with prostitutes and “ping pong”.

 

thailand temples

 

Kind strangers become master scammers whose smiles turn aggressive when payment is declined.

 

thailand temples

 

Elephants in the jungle are not revered, but paraded like puppets in a show.

 

thailand temples

 

Majestic tigers laze with monks, are snuggled by tourists, laying docile from all the drugs.

 

thailand temples

 

The more time I spend here, the more shady corners I find.

 

thailand temples

 

And in this place that first felt so easy, difficulties within me have begun to arise.

I am reintroduced to sides of myself I thought I left behind.

 

thailand temples

 

Yet acknowledging these realities has not made me disenchanted with my world.

 

wat arun

 

I see the beauty and the ugliness

in Thailand and in me

I continue to love them both regardlessly.

 

thailand temples

 

Our facets and our dimples only add to our intrigue.

 

thailand temples

 

Because I know that to find balance we need yin and yang.

 

thailand temples

 

For it is only when we know darkness that we can truly see the light.

 

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Hello beautiful soul,
In August 2018 I stopped blogging as This American Girl. You can now find me at my new website camillewillemain.com! Hope to see you there xx
Love, Camille