One Night in Bangkok, Katsjourney Around the World: 24 March, 2003

Subject: One Night in Bangkok
Date: Mon, 24 Mar 2003 17:37:27 -0600
There was a song that came out in the late 1970’s that some of you may

remember.  It was a one hit wonder and the chorus went something like this:

“One night in Bangkok makes a hard man humble…”  Well, I am here to tell

you it’s true.  My girlfriend Kathie, in Austin, told me that the city is a

real ball buster, whether your balls are real or imaginary.  That’s true

too.

I am staying at a hotel on probably the most hectic street in the city.  I

heard from a friend in Cape Town that it is owned by a group of Nigerian

drug lords.  AND they used to have two floors booked out for “Mr Smith”.

That would be the western gentleman sponsoring a lovely Thai girl for an

evening of entertainment.  The place is tattered, but clean and only costs

1200 Baht, about US$ 29 per night.

A Thai gentleman that I met in Cape Town collected me at the airport.  He

was a dignitary professor at a conference that I worked with my friend Ilse,

back in December.  Not 1 kilometer out of the airport and his very nice

Holden car (looks like a VW Jetta) was rear ended by a delivery truck. Ban hit car It

was a bit of a jolt and now I have a mild case of whiplash.  Funny, we had

just been talking about the insane traffic in Bangkok.  We managed to pry

the boot open and get out my luggage so I could jump in a taxi whilst he

messed with the police and insurance people.  Welcome to Bangkok!

After a short arrival nap I set out with my Bangkok city map to explore the

city.  The humid heat is overwhelming.  With the humidity index it is about

42 degrees (107 F).  The pollution is choking.  I was completely jostled

around in the small streets of the markets with food vendors and cars trying

to make their way through the narrow lanes.  And talk about noise.  Noise,

Noise, noise everywhere.  Hawkers, horns, cell phones, music blaring, loud

tuk tuk engines.  You could lose 30 years of your life living in this

sprawling city of 10 million.

But there is also a certain beauty here. The people are warm and polite.  If

you show just a bit of respect, they will bend over backwards to accommodate

you.  The food is some of the best in the world.  And the lush Royal gardens

and palaces are like no place else I have ever seen.  I have never seen such

pure gold as in the temples and Buddha images.  Every place I wander I

mutter under my breath, “Oh my God”.  It is amazing.

I am leaving tomorrow for a remote island called Ko Lanta.  It is an hour

flight south of Bangkok and then a two hour boat ride south east of Krabi.

I heard that they just got phone service to the island in 2001.  Amazing.

It will be a real contrast to Bangkok.  It is there that I plan on studying

the teachings of Buddha, learning to meditate and do a bit of writing.  If

there is an internet place, I will send an update.

The war rages on and I am able to keep up with it through CNN and the

English Bangkok newspaper. I pray for the safety of the world and our allied

troops.  There is a large Muslim population in the south near the Malaysian

border.  I am officially Canadian whilst I am here, just for safety. candian flag

Love to all,

Kathleen

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