We spent all of yesterday, from 5am to 9pm, gradually migrating from China to Thailand, shedding layers as we went. Every year I start thinking about Thailand and build it up in my mind for weeks or months. And the amazing thing is that when I get there, it's just as good as I expect! I think the sharp contrast helps. One day you are wearing long underwear and a down coat, the next day it's flip-flops.
The weather is perfect - not too hot, a cool breeze in the evenings, sunshine. It takes days to experience all the wonderful food options available. Thai, Italian, Mexican, Mediterranean, burgers, great milkshakes and fruit smoothies, donuts, ice cream, soft pretzels. This wouldn't seem nearly as exciting if we hadn't seen these things for months. There are multiple bookstores full of English books. And everything is so inexpensive. We are staying in a place for $6/night, and it's not bad at all. You can eat Thai food for $1. Western food is more expensive, but still more reasonable than China or America.
And people are so friendly whether they know you or not. They just smile at you and don't stare at all, like it's perfectly natural for you to exist. It's really wonderful. And especially great to be here NOT taking classes. Well, if you are sufficiently jealous by now, I have done my job. Off to get a cheap massage.