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.
At 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!