What a difference a 4.5 hour flight can make in one's travel experience. On my taxi ride to the Delhi airport, the driver had the gall to try and sell me on a trip to a rug shop even as I was clearly leaving the country. I shut him down immediately, I could be good-humored about it, seeing as how I was literally leaving the country in a few hours.
The service on the THAI flight was awesome, the airport was efficient (if not practically empty), and the express bus one of the nicest I'd ever ridden. Seeing a skyline filled with high rise office buildings, multi-lane highways packed with cars, and not a bicycle rickshaw or wayward cow in sight made me realize how I'd adopted life in India as my personal reality. Not that I ever fully managed to accept cows eating trash in the streets as routine.
My first day in Bangkok was dedicated to doing nothing. The luxury of a full vacation day dedicated to nothing right from the start of entering a new country will be unique to this trip. In the future, I imagine typical 1-2 week American holidays will require compressed schedules necessitating a running start to intercontinental travel. In the here and now, I purposefully chill out on my first day in a new country. It has served me well so far, and I relish the observations made on my first day in Thailand.
7-11's are everywhere, stocking the desirable (and trendy) travel size toiletries, snacks, ice cream, and so on. In Bangkok, they are also the temperature of blast freezers, creating welcome respites from the 90-degree heat. Restaurants and bars, at least around Khao San, have walls draped with large plasma televisions. I duck into one as a rain shower has the t-shirt vendors covering their merchandise with plastic tarps. I watch the parade of tourists, travelers, backpackers, and Thais walk by. I haven't seen so many white people in one place since Australia back in January. And after 7 weeks in India, where female tourists are almost always wearing full length skirts or pants, I couldn't help but take notice of all the girls wearing as little clothes as possible.