Bangkok is large and crowded and noisy. I find I have to be in a certain mindset to enjoy that type of energy, and coming into a country jetlagged after 2 redeyes is not the right mindset. I’m a little mentally drained, and it’s all a bit too much right now. I think this place is worth a look, but it will have to be at the end of my trip. I head north on the night train tonight to Chiang Mai, looking for someplace a little more tranquilo.
In my limited experience in Asia (Japan, Bali) tranquility is not a word I’d use except in brief stolen moments that take you by surprise because of the contrast. For such friendly, peaceful, non-violent people, the search for solitude and quiet does not seem to be a priority at large. Perhaps that is a luxury of wealthy, less-populated countries. I’m glad the folks here are by and large buddhist, though, because Christians would be shooting each other in this type of living situation. Not knocking Christianity, my home religion, but it’s funny that Christianity doesn’t permeate the culture like buddhism does. It’s almost the other way around, the culture seems to affect the religion in the U.S.
With that said, I’ll leave you with a mental snapshot. I walked off the plane in Bangkok, and one of the first things I saw was a buddhist monk in flipflops and saffron robes. His head was shaved, and he was sitting in a crowded waiting room, laughing, and talking on his cell phone.
posted Wednesday January 2008