Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Adoption Travelouge, Part II

We decided to spend our first full day in Bangkok with a guide in hopes of gaining some additional insight into Thai culture. We headed out early in the day to possibly hit some of the major sights before the heat and crowds caught up. We first headed to the Grand Palace. I recently watched portions of Anna and the King with the kids so I had scenes of Rama V and his life there playing through my mind as we wondered the grounds.

We visited the Emerald Buddha along with many Buddhist pilgrims who burnt incense, offered flower garlands and dipped lotus blossoms in holy water before ceremoniously anointing their own heads.

We seemed to join the pilgrimage as we traveled from wat (temple) to wat, always greeted by the resident Buddha statue. From fantastically large to so small they were hard to spot. Fat and happy, slim and stoic, standing, lounging, entering nirvana...and these barely scratched the surface of those willing to make our aquaintance.

When we couldn't take much more enlightenment we headed for lunch, which is the next best thing.

We found a little hole in the wall and partook of some of the world's finest spicy rice with spicy noodles and spicy chicken and spicy papaya. Even the diet coke seemed to have a little kick. It's was a nice way to cool off from the oppressive heat outside. Nice and refreshed we visited another wat and then headed for the klongs (canals) in a long tail boat. Here we got to see a side of Bangkok a million miles from the gleaming shopping malls and high rise hotels. With a boat for an excuse, we made our way into strangers backyards. From the klong we saw people eat, sleep, work and bathe. We were uninvited guests, still nearly each person smiled and waved in passing.

After eight hours experiencing Bangkok, we headed in for the night. We would have an even bigger day tomorrow. I think we will remember this day as the one when Bangkok stole our hearts. Such a curious mix of unending skyline - city as far as the eye can see in every direction - and then humbly behind each corner - the small, the quiet, the spiritual and serene.

As the city where our son first greeted the world, we hope to make Bangkok our city as well. Maybe not always, but sometimes and often.

Next up, Gotcha Day.

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