Thursday, November 1, 2007

Bangkok-Day 3

The day started with struggling to resist the green glow of a near by coffee chain. Awake before they were open, (imagine that) we walked around our block watching vendors set up their carts. The food from these small and self sufficient entrepreneurs is a thing of curiosity. The smells are foreign, and the ingredients are unpronounceable. But still I just want to grab a freshly grilled plantain or a fried piece of fish while the coconut oil drains from the crispy batter for a pre-dawn breakfast. With little knowledge of this enticing street food, and a mild fear of Montazuma's revenge, we trace our steps to the hotel. The French fare seems out of place, but at least it is familiar. Yesterday, the coffee was weak and sour-hence the discussion in the early hours to support something we both feel so strongly against. Faced with instant Nescafe in our room twenty-five floors up or the guys on the corner, we gave in to the iced grande such and such and then felt too guilty to talk about the rest of the day.

The sun appeared for most of the day, creating a sticky-sweaty sensation in places I would rather not talk about. Even at mid morning, it was already 80 degrees with almost 100% humidity. When my clothes touched my skin, it would leave behind a tell tale mark of perspiration. Prepared with SPF 50, large hats, and tinted shades, we heard our guide remarking "No one has died from the sun, no one had died from curry either". Warm rain kissed the end of the day, leaving behind a wet passionate mark on something that was already hot and steamy.

Driving around the area known as Ayutthaya, we visited a few major temples including the ancient ruins. Danced to the music of the monks, explored the tilted tower and ate lotus nuts and fried bananas. We played a Thia game to tell our fortune; to discover they were almost one of the same with each other's, as our paths intertwined. Buddhas in every position adorn every temple. My favorite one so far is the standing figure with his hand up to "stop". In a world of go-go-go, it is easy to forget what we are doing. So Stop, stop all war, hatred and abuse and let the beauty shine from within.

I had a personal moment while lighting three sticks of incense and making a wish to the reclining Buddha. As I pressed my hands together, bowed my head and incense to the mat, I felt the tip of an Ah Ha moment. Maybe Buddhism is something I should strive for- as I find myself agreeing with the teachings, and a religion without a deity. To believe in one's self is after all a godly power. I came up from the mat with tears and smiles, not really understanding either, but wanting more of both. Later we ate chicken curry conjured in the fires near hell, and soothed the heat with coconut gelly. Garnished with sweet-green rice paste noodles, coconut syrup and slippery seed pods that could have been mistaken for small eye balls- It resembled a dish fit for goolish night, but it was a dish not even the king could turn down.

Tomorrow is a day of adventure and exploring, with a hole in the itinerary, I'm not sure where mischief will find us. I can only hope to discover new ideas, flavors and sights.


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