Showing posts with label Bangkok. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bangkok. Show all posts

Saturday, July 11, 2009

What Happened to July 8th?

Certainly, traveling long distances is mind altering. I boarded a plane in New Mexico that took me to Los Angeles, where late in the evening July 7, we took off on a sixteen-hour flight to Bangkok. I had already booked a hotel for my arrival on July 8, and made arrangements with my Thai friend to meet me at the airport at 9 AM. Then, during the flight I heard an announcement that startled me. We were landing July 9. Quickly, a nightmare unfolded in my mind of my friend waiting for me. I checked with a flight attendant who suggested I use the airplane telephone and call. My friend does not speak English so the attendant had to do the translating. Fortunately, we spoke, but I learned that my friend had been waiting five hours. Ughhh! I felt as though I was in an episode from the Twilight Zone, completely vaporizing a calendar day—July 8, 2009.

I have been in Thailand four days now, and although it is the rainy season, it has not rained and the days have been beautiful. After Bangkok, I am now in Chiang Mai, the second largest Thai city, in the north of the country, and getting a feel for life. Thai people are very polite and warm. I am getting used to seeing occasional elephants, hearing strange instruments played in the streets and riding a motorcycle everywhere. Last night I went with my Chiang Mai friend to dinner in a restaurant that has a huge buffet with raw foods of every kind. Servants bring drinks and then, after selecting your courses, you return to the table and cook your own meals over a big round broiler that looks like a big hat, with a raised middle for cooking meats and seafood, and a circular pan (brim) that boils water and makes a flavorful broth to cook vegetables, shrimp and more. It takes only minutes and is fun. You can cook and season to your own taste, and eat when you like, going back for more ingredients whenever you desire. The food stays hot and fresh right in front of you. All for less than five dollars a person. This one meal a day could be sufficient to live on.
Could I live here as an artist? I will begin to find out in the next days.
Some facts about Thailand.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Remain Mindful

Bangkok has thoroughly impressed me as a clean, modern and attractive city. I have heard of its problems with pollution in the past, but it has addressed these issues and although the streets can sometimes be jammed with traffic, the city busses run on pollution-free natural gas. Something I have not seen before are “tourist police” who are a phone call away to address issues of fraud, for instance if you think a taxi has overcharged for a fare or a business has cheated you.
Bangkok is also famous for its sex service industry, and many people come here for this. I found myself in the midst of a notorious area early one evening and was repeatedly approached by hawkers soliciting me to have a good time and enjoy a “happy ending” massage, or see a show with women that shoot ping-pong balls from there private parts etc. One night I went dancing with friends until the wee hours of the morning and saw drunken men fondling “dates.” The music and dancing was fun, but witnessing such crass and rude behavior was repulsive. The girls think of their time as service work and make big money to send home to their poor families in the countryside, so smile and keep up a good face. When we left, I thanked God for the dignity He placed in my heart and that He causes me to remain mindful.

This morning I went to a service at a Baha'i center in the city and enjoyed meeting people that I can consider extended family. This is a bounty of being Baha'i; being a member of a world community that works toward the unity of humanity.
Tomorrow I leave for Phuket, a famous tourist destination, renowned for fantastic beaches and natural beauty. I will stay a week, then go to Vietnam on December 2.
Recently I updated my website with artistic photography, to include the photos I took in Africa and India, so have a look.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

River of Reverie

I don’t take anything for granted, so as THE DREAM reveals to me its wondrous surprises, I give thanks. In Kolkata I felt as run down as the dilapidated streets. In fact, just walking onto the dirty avenues and smelling foul air made me feel worse. Usually, I can handle such places while I engage and study the human factor, but with dysentery, my energy was gone. My thoughts often returned to the United States. Then, the night before I was to leave for Thailand, I received a surprise Email from a friend who had read my blog and she said she had good friends in Bangkok, and asked if I would like her to contact them. I am not entirely surprised anymore when charms arrive. I said yes, and the outcome is that when I arrived in Bangkok, Stan, a very likeable guy, two years older than me, met me and brought me to his spacious downtown apartment. That evening, we both enjoyed two hours of Thai massage. Stan’s wife is away and we have become friends.
The dysentery is gone, and I find that Thailand is appealing. Life seems relaxed compared to India, and people are open and warm. The famous Thai food is everywhere, streets are clean, transportation is good, and there is plenty to see and do. Today I visited The Grand Palace; an ornately designed and embellished complex established in 1782 that houses not only the royal residence (Thailand has a king and queen), but also a number of government offices as well as the renowned Temple of the Emerald Buddha. Visiting this place had the same effect on me as the Taj Majal.

I have been here about four days and have received six hours of Thai massage for about thirty dollars. It is so good and inexpensive, that if I lived here it would certainly be a regular habit. The treatment involves stretching and rubbing muscles in a fluid symphony of movement that is uninterrupted from beginning to end. It all begins with a change into loose, freshly cleaned cotton garments and the masseuse bathing your feet in warm water, then patting them dry. During the session, her whole body plays into the treatment—including sometimes stretching and kneading muscles and ligaments with her feet while she has hold of you with her arms. If an area is painful, pressure is lightened and touch becomes caress. The vibes are loving and peaceful, and it is like floating pleasantly down a river of reverie.