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As soon as I left Sydney airport, I went to the beach. It was good to breathe clean air again.

Despite its chaos and pollution, there are definitely things I miss about Bangkok.

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China Man’s Beach in Sydney. Photo by Ada Lee

Bangkok is a bigger city than Sydney with almost seven million people compared to Sydney’s four and a half million. Yet, it can feel like a small town.

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Looking out over an enormous city. Photo by Ada Lee

Being in a city packed full of people almost forces everyone to talk to each other. Crossing the street, you have to wave at the cars to let you pass. To shop at one of the countless market stalls, you have to ask for the price and barter. It is a large city but it is by no means one of detachment and anonymity.

Every time you walked down the street, someone would interact with you. It could be the guy trying to sell you a motorbike taxi, the shopkeeper smiling as you passed by, or the solo travelling tourist striking up a conversation. Everyday, I met someone new.

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With Jason Corben and Michael Dwyer at Bangkok’s number one rooftop bar. Photo by Ron Corben

On the last day, I met a Tunisian–Belgian woman over breakfast. She was a hairdresser in Belgium but here in Thailand, her hair was dark and scraggly. She explained she was tired of beauty and money obsessed Europe, and wanted to find somewhere to live a more simple life.

“Europe is about money. South America is about love. Asia is about spirituality,” she says. It did sound a little bit midlife-crisis-eat-pray-love to me, but she also had a point.

Life goes slower in Thailand, and there’s beauty in that. I usually got to the Bangkok Post office at 10.30am and left at 4pm. The editors only arrive around 12pm and stay later at night. People don’t rush down the street; they stroll (often in front of me while I’m hurrying to make it to the Bangkok Post shuttle). There’s always time to pause for conversation.

There’s nothing wrong with ambition or being career-driven. But in getting from A to B, Thailand has taught me to pause and meet people along the way.

About the Blog

Parallax records the experiences of final year students of the B.A. (Media & Communications) degree who have won competitive overseas internships to work in Asian, Indian and Latin American media organisations.
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