When I left the Bangkok hostel, turned left down an alley and right onto the main road. I ducked under the BTS, Chong Nassi station, hopping up curbs and around food carts. I dodged Thais on their way to work; I was on my toes nimbly able to move quickly in any direction. Horns honked and motorbikes passed me as I hugged the side of the street in order to avoid pedestrians and stray dogs. Concrete jungle was never such a clear term as it was on my run to Lumpini Park through the city of Bangkok.
Arriving at one of the many entrances to the park I was quickly swooped to the right in order to flow with traffic. Pedestrian and bicyletrian traffic has a schedule of directionality around the lake within the gates—that day it was right. Running faster than some, I passed cautiously, I was unsure of the community ‘norm’ here. On the trail I’m alone and just follow the path, in this ‘jungle’ I was out of my comfort zone and was forced to look around and try to integrate myself into the foreign culture.
Birds manifested in groups of women flapping colorful fans. I imagined the men with swords practicing some sort of slow, methodical chorography as dragons. The deer I often see leaping through the trails of Oregon were long, lean women doing sun salutations to the 7am sun. Bears were transformed into heavy men sweating in the already hot day running the same course as me. Instead of the wind rustling the branches of trees I heard music blasted from speakers high up on lampposts.
I was in the wilderness—just not the kind I’m used to.