Monday, October 22, 2007

Hi, there

I'm back.

You may have thought I have moved to Mars. Believe me, there were times I was tempted....

I was in Thailand visiting my folks for a month. Thailand, especially Bangkok, has changed a lot, physically and socially, for better and worse, in my humble opinion. One thing was for certain: having been gone for five years I found myself a stranger in a place I once called home. My parents' house where I grew up remained unchanged but everything else around it was unrecognizable.

Skyscrapers overshadow gilded temple spires and the golden arches of MacDonald's tower over street vendors. I am not sure I like this modernization of Thailand. I went to the Temple of the Emerald Buddha to seek out the old, familiar, peaceful site of the most serene, most revered place in the country.

Thank Goodness it's still there. The giants and the monkeys from the Indian epic of Ramayana are still holding up the gilded pagoda.

Aren't they adorable? Here's a close-up.
That's a monkey holding up a pagoda. Here is a giant guarding an entrance to the temple.
And now for one change I will never complain about.

Bangkok used to be notorious for traffic jams. It still is. But one improvement since my last visit is that you no longer have to negotiate (translation: haggle) the prices with taxi drivers. Taxi drivers in Bangkok now are relatively new, clean, air-conditioned, and HAVE METERS! You flag on down, tell him you destination and hop in! No more haggling over prices, no more holding up the traffic! Small wonder!

On top of that, they come in wonderful colors. Have you ever seen such candy-colored cabs elsewhere? I call them M&M on wheels...

In pink..
And Blue..
And purple...

And in red, of course

They also come in orange.

And apple green
And sunny yellow
And even two-toned!


Phyl said...

glad to see you back!

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