People kept asking me if it was my first time in Thailand. I didn’t know how to respond.

No, it’s not my first time in Thailand. Since there were no direct flights to Kathmandu from Manila, we used to take the last flight in to Bangkok, spend the night then take the first flight out to Kathmandu. So no, it’s not my first time. I’ve actually been here more than 5 times.

BUT we’ve never stayed for more than 12 hours and always at the hotel connected to the airport, so I’ve never really seen Bangkok. So yes, it’s kind of my first time here.

Since this is a business trip, and I spent most of my waking hours at the office on the outskirts of Bangkok and didn’t really do a lot of sightseeing, I will be talking about food. Because if there’s one thing I can say about my Thai colleagues, they fed me well.

I thought I had a pretty high tolerance for spicy things. Chili and cumin is a staple in most Nepalese cooking, so I thought Thai food and I would get along great. Turns out, I’m not hardcore enough for Thai cuisine. Most notable would be the what-I-assumed-to-be a pepper-crusted steak that turned out to be chili-crusted. My tongue was numb the whole evening.

Which brings me to what is now my favourite Thai dish of all time: Green papaya salad.

I am not a big fan of papaya. Papaya to me actually tastes a bit like vomit. (sorry) I had seen this prepared on food channels and I thought it might taste a little like atchara which is also made of shredded green papaya. Turns out, there is a huge difference between pickled and fresh and this is absolutely awesome.

It’s got chicharon!

On my way to the airport, I saw the monks making their morning rounds and it hit me that I actually would miss Bangkok. Maybe someday I can come back, on holiday and not for work, and visit temples and do other tourist-y things.