|Subject:||One Night in Bangkok|
|Date:||Mon, 24 Mar 2003 17:37:27 -0600|
|There was a song that came out in the late 1970’s that some of you may
remember. It was a one hit wonder and the chorus went something like this:
“One night in Bangkok makes a hard man humble…” Well, I am here to tell
you it’s true. My girlfriend Kathie, in Austin, told me that the city is a
real ball buster, whether your balls are real or imaginary. That’s true
I am staying at a hotel on probably the most hectic street in the city. I
heard from a friend in Cape Town that it is owned by a group of Nigerian
drug lords. AND they used to have two floors booked out for “Mr Smith”.
That would be the western gentleman sponsoring a lovely Thai girl for an
evening of entertainment. The place is tattered, but clean and only costs
1200 Baht, about US$ 29 per night.
A Thai gentleman that I met in Cape Town collected me at the airport. He
was a dignitary professor at a conference that I worked with my friend Ilse,
back in December. Not 1 kilometer out of the airport and his very nice
Holden car (looks like a VW Jetta) was rear ended by a delivery truck. It
was a bit of a jolt and now I have a mild case of whiplash. Funny, we had
just been talking about the insane traffic in Bangkok. We managed to pry
the boot open and get out my luggage so I could jump in a taxi whilst he
messed with the police and insurance people. Welcome to Bangkok!
After a short arrival nap I set out with my Bangkok city map to explore the
city. The humid heat is overwhelming. With the humidity index it is about
42 degrees (107 F). The pollution is choking. I was completely jostled
around in the small streets of the markets with food vendors and cars trying
to make their way through the narrow lanes. And talk about noise. Noise,
Noise, noise everywhere. Hawkers, horns, cell phones, music blaring, loud
tuk tuk engines. You could lose 30 years of your life living in this
sprawling city of 10 million.
But there is also a certain beauty here. The people are warm and polite. If
you show just a bit of respect, they will bend over backwards to accommodate
you. The food is some of the best in the world. And the lush Royal gardens
and palaces are like no place else I have ever seen. I have never seen such
pure gold as in the temples and Buddha images. Every place I wander I
mutter under my breath, “Oh my God”. It is amazing.
I am leaving tomorrow for a remote island called Ko Lanta. It is an hour
flight south of Bangkok and then a two hour boat ride south east of Krabi.
I heard that they just got phone service to the island in 2001. Amazing.
It will be a real contrast to Bangkok. It is there that I plan on studying
the teachings of Buddha, learning to meditate and do a bit of writing. If
there is an internet place, I will send an update.
The war rages on and I am able to keep up with it through CNN and the
English Bangkok newspaper. I pray for the safety of the world and our allied
troops. There is a large Muslim population in the south near the Malaysian
border. I am officially Canadian whilst I am here, just for safety.
Love to all,