Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Bangkok - Day 2

I have seen many things today. The most impressive top three would be the temple with the gold Buddha and the active monks in their saffron robes, and the back alley water ways to the floating market and Cy'an Restaurant where we had the most amazingly posh dinner. Other adventures include making and discovering coconut products, a small allergic to shrimp incident and a touristy show generalizing Thailand for what I call the "roller bagger" type of traveler. We drove all through the back country, gaining trivial information as we observed groves of green mangoes dancing in the wind. Hands of bananas reached down to the ground, and coconuts rocked gently in the mist like breasts on a thin body.

The vegetation reminds me of the old Vietnam War photos I have seen. The tall grasses, the thick underbrush, the muddy canals. In my mind I could see troops in camo gear, carrying 80 pound packs and large guns, dealing with mental and physical injury. Maybe The Things They Carried got read over to many times in high school, but my mind was on the people lost.

There is a huge difference in the Thailand we have chosen to see and the one where locals live; even though we share the same streets. We awoke to hot eggs, croissants rivaled to the ones in Paris, and a large spread of food that seemed very European, especially traditional French. But our guide awoke to a traffic jam with no breakfast, and had to manage over an hour of travel by bus and taxi to arrive in our lobby at 6:45.

The level of service is like no other, with people almost falling over themselves just to open a door or lend a hand. It feels as if someone called the hotel and general staff that we would encounter, told them we were coming and gave them a substantial tip to make sure we are well taken care of. It feels like we have committed a crime of gluttony, as others around us pray for only enough to get through until tomorrow. Maybe it's just the humanitarian in me, but wish I had the power to equalize these forces. After the most amazingly perfect wedding and the beginnings of a fabulous honeymoon, I can't help but to think that if I had made a few sacrifices, others could have more of what they really need.


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