by Meridith McKinnon
Announcement!!! I’m off to South East Asia once more on research for my next book! As a sequel to TTW it’ll be inspirational for me to again retrace some of the parts that Lek came from but there will be more! I’m thrilled to be continuing her story and travelling to parts of the world I haven’t been previously. This sounds all very mysterious – hope so anyway! I know I‘m excited and as nervous as hell but the thought of not going to find this inspiration was never in question.
So my flights are booked, most of the accommodation done and some internal travel yet to be locked in. I may have mentioned that the final draft of The Thai Wife was written while I was in Southern Thailand. I made the trip specifically for this purpose as I knew I had to be there to finish it.
Most of our visits to Thailand (and there have been oh so many…) are a mix of pleasure and adventure. Phil and I try to include a part of the country that we maybe haven’t seen or something we haven’t experienced then we finish with a stint on an island somewhere, lying by a pool and taking long walks on a beach! The final draft trip wasn’t too much different from that but we didn’t have so much adventure as I was concentrating on a writing routine which worked really well.
We found a place we hadn’t been before – booked a local resort – we don’t stay in big resorts, only local usually small traditional Thai ones, often family owned, and it was sheer bliss. Our small villa was just a step from the beach and the resort itself was quite isolated with just a few cafes where we’d sit and soak up the scenery. This part of Thailand had been hit hard by the tsunami of 2004 and the rezoning of cafes and ad hock eating bars have been restricted in the rebuilding. It’s a good and bad thing - good because it has kept the place quiet but then again has restricted local businesses’ returning to trade.
Our villa had a small pool about four steps from our bedroom door. Mornings consisted of a quick dip in our private pool, down for the buffet breakfast and while Phil ventured out along the side streets or beach, I retreated for the morning to rewrite. Our villa was spacious enough for me to have a desk and if Phil returned before I had finished he had his own space with a comfy couch and TV. I was often done around early afternoon in time to break for a walk and lunch – perfect! Then followed an afternoon by the pool and the chance meeting of locals or a chat with a friendly fellow foreigner. Oh and we also had board rentals from the front café so we had a board daily available to catch the not so big waves that rolled in from the Andaman Sea.
This time will be similar, but different! Makes perfect sense! Bangkok is a constantly evolving city and there are some sights we haven’t seen for many years so it calls for a revisit. Only brief though as the noise, confusion and sheer volume of people, overwhelms me after 72 hours. Not all cities have this effect on me. For instance Seoul with a population more than 10M, a couple of million more than Bangkok, doesn’t have this effect on me.
But back on topic – how will this trip inspire me? I have no end of inspiration from the years I have visited Thailand so what more could I possibly take from this place? Believe me there is more … and lots of it. From the back streets of Bangkok, the ever changing landscape of tourists meet locals, the markets, Thai traditions, the small things, the big things … the constant evolution of east meets west in a culture that has remained loyal to its recently deceased King for decades.
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