in Bangkok, Thailand

Since our trip is meant to be slower and more deliberate, we didn't stress ourselves hitting the streets and seeing two or three sights on the first day.

Instead, we napped. And sat in a park. And got a thai massage.

The second day we got a little more ambitious, walking along a main road and eating the best fried rice we've ever had from a lively woman cooking at a cart. We saw a corner temple flanked by malls on either side, digital billboards bigger than Times Square, tons of traffic that truly tests the nerves, and numerous signs that we were completely hopeless to decode.

To head towards the tourist district, we hopped on the Chao Phraya Express Boat. Just like an underground metro, passengers hop on and off at the many quick stops they make along the river docks. It even has a diagram showing the various "lines" available and which stops they make.

We had planned to stop at the Wat Arun, or Temple of Dawn, but when we arrived at the proper stop it was under heavy construction and it didn't seem like waiting around for sunset would be worth our while. We stayed on the boat and got off at the end of the line. It appeared to be the nucleus of the tourism district, with a noticeably higher percentage of westerners walking around. We had indeed found Khao San Road, although we did not know about it at the time.

The street vendors were still friendly but way pushier, with "plainclothes" people walking around subtly herding us toward the stalls. We have done enough regular tourism in Europe to know how to say no, but the friendliness of the thai people can sometimes make it more difficult. Still, a warm smile and a firm "no" get the job done.

After our walk, we caught a tuk tuk back to our hostel. It's a cross between a motorcycle and a carriage, and is definitely not for the faint of heart! They dart in between traffic like a motorcycle, but are wide enough to squeeze three adults in the back. And the only thing stopping you from falling out is a rope mesh on one side. It was a fun adventure but I'm not in a rush to take another.

All in all I'd say we are enjoying Bangkok, but we will be interested to move onto less populated areas of Thailand so we can enjoy an even slower pace of life.