Travel Blog- Thailand Supplement, We Are All Connected!

In the quiet of evening yesterday, my new friend Pana (at my left in this photo) asked me:

“What is your goal for your life?”

  I was amazed and humbled at this query, considering that the last year has found me heavily accessing personal development to become the best version of myself.

Through our conversation, we found that we both have been recently enrolled in leadership schools, and we each desire autonomy, liberty, and to share the best of ourselves with those we encounter.

Can you imagine? Two individuals, half a world away from one another and pursuing such similar excellence so that they live, arrive and perform in the best manner possible! This encourages me and enlists great hope for the world!

Words merely hint at all that I feel in my heart for knowing such commonality transcends space, time, language, distance, culture and more. We really all inhabit such common ground, if only we connect and learn it is so! How thoughtful, provoking and enlivening!

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Travel Blog- Thailand, Day 2, Harmony Has Many Faces

The universe has a way of enabling correction. Apparently my writing attempt at this post was not so great the first time around, as it disappeared when I was nearly complete with it. So here comes Thailand Day 2, the best version! Harmony has many faces. We tend to maintain our own conceptions of harmony, and yet it really can be found in so many more forms. Consider the art of transportation in Thailand, for instance. To the casual Western observer, it seems to be absolute chaos! To my local Thai friend, it is “normal”. In fact he says to go to China or India to see crazy drivers! But for we westerners, Thai traffic fundamentals possess a wild energy to behold. And yet we’ve seen no accidents. Why? Harmony.

What appears to foreigners to be frenzied insanity is actually a daily harmonious endeavor of many, MANY people getting to where they need or wish to go. I asked my Thai friend about accidents and he confirms they are rare. I theorized that perhaps many of the accidents that do occur involve foreigners unfamiliar with the sophisticated ballet that is the Thai commute. I can’t overemphasize, it’s harmony at its finest!

This morning we experienced street food for breakfast, right on the ground level below the condo we are staying in. Thai Street Food BreakfastIt was divine! Noodles, morning glory and meats, some of which caused me a bit of suspicion after some travel shows I’ve seen where certain, ahem, gems are commonly utilized as food. You can literally get the picture here. Pana says it is actually a minced pork and rice mixture. I will happily take his word for it.

LrAfter breakfast we were collected by a taxi to move toward the famous long tail boats for a ride up the river to the Grand Palace and other spectacular sites. What a rush that is! The river is forever churning and boiling, and it’s hard to determine whether the turbulence would exist apart from the river providing mass transit. River traffic here is as busy as US suburban roads at rush hour. Add to this the constant reminders being shouted in broken English, “This boat is overload, move to the front!”, making one feel that failure to engage in this command may cause immediate oneness with determining the water quality of said river.  

ter visiting the temples and palace and sweating out our total water content it seemed, we were bound for the boats once again. To say that the boats were “overload” in the afternoon would be quite the understatement! After reaching the stop to return to our condo, we elected to ride a Tuk Tuk., an auto rickshaw essentially. It feels like a motorcycle with a backseat bench. There is no more adventurous way for a tourist to experience Thai traffic and still walk  with his life.  What fun this was! Unfortunately my tech-challenged ways caused me to only video-record 12 seconds of the ride, missing some of the most amazing traffic interactions along the way. Fortunately I have many days to try to overcome my technical shortfalls! To sum up everything, this has been another fabulous day in Bangkok!

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Travel Blog- Thailand, Day 1 Extended

We’ve arrived at the close of Day 1 and what a day it has been! First and foremost,  Betty’s tap water slip-up appears to have left us unscathed, thank goodness! We began the day visiting a fresh food market to gather goodies for lunch together with Pana and Mai. Pana was Betty’s exchange student back when he was attending secondary school.

The market was a fantastic, bustling hive; flowers, clothing, food, likely anything you could think of, all waiting to be discovered. And lunch turned out to be amazing. 

After a mid-afternoon break to rest our jet-lagged bodies, we took off again. First on the agenda, a Thai massage. Oh. My. Gosh! That was simply amazing! I’m now planning on plenty of these while here. Leaving that experience, I felt more flexible and slightly taller. And OH! So cleansing! Into the frenetic melange that is Bangkok once again, we were bound for dinner with more new friends.

 Dinner on the RiverAt a lovely open-air restaurant alongside the Chao Phraya River we met some new-to-me friends who are the parents of another exchange student Betty once hosted. They were so lovely, fun and generous and dinner was amazing. Even though I have loved Thai food all my life, I feel as if I have eaten Thai food for the very first time. Like most cuisines, Thai food must be forced into adjustments on American soil, perhaps for the American palate or for the availability of ingredients. The food was like nothing I have ever tasted. The blend and balance of flavors was absolutely splendid. For the first time in a long time, I also had a beer, a Singha more specifically. Though I have seen the label for years, I have never tried it. To be sitting in Bangkok sipping my first ever Singha Beer; truly poetic. With the founding of the brewing company that produces Singha occurring in the 1930s, I have to wonder if my grandfather ever sat by this same river sipping a Singha.

Part of my desire for visiting Bangkok rests in the knowledge that my grandfather was said to consider Bangkok his favorite city in the world. With many published writings to his pen, only one work was fictional and it was grounded in Bangkok of the 1960s. I wish I knew more of the man, his passion, the reasons for his great love of Thailand from his own voice. I hope to somehow feel a sense of his presence along the way, though I am not one to seriously consider the crossing of such a threshold between the living and the dead. Perhaps I know enough of who he was that I can just consider all I experience with a hint of his perspective. Perhaps I will never know. 

The fact that Thailand is a shopping mecca becomes evident before ever setting foot on Thai soil. Every tour book to be encountered is clearly remiss and potentially at risk for never gaining publication if shopping isn’t mentioned, After dinner we visited “Asiatique,” a night shopping bazaar by the river. This shopping extravaganza is arrangesd in hangars and includes carnival activities and all one could set imagination to. A bit of shopping was fun, though I am extremely cautious. We have 29 more days here after all! This place will definitely warrant a second trip before we return to the states!

 

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Travel Blog-Thailand, Day 1, Bangkok

After an amazingly long journey, we have arrived in Bangkok. We arrived to a lovely condo we have use of while here, What a great relief to plant some relaxing roots while our bodies adjust to the changes. Changes in time, (+12 hours for Betty, +15 hours for me), changes in climate with much more warmth and tons more humidity and changes in culture.

Right off the adventure begins. Betty made us some instant coffee. I downed a cup knowing it wouldn’t affect my sleep rhythms any more than the off time adjustment will. It felt grounding to do this, until…

About an hour after we drank coffee, Betty mentioned that she forgot about the water. So we’ve hit the ground running, hoping it will not become a pun. As is so often reiterated, it is best to avoid the local tap water, as your body is familiarized with the water you drink at home, not to mention different water filtration qualities are used all over the world. I recall in Peru that even the locals didn’t drink the tap water. Yes, Betty used tap water. At least we are in this together!! 

We will see what the following days or perhaps hours bring. 

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