Monday, June 29, 2009


My three days in Bangkok have been characterised by steaming heat and torrential downpours.
Its monsoon season here and the rain comes down with a vengeance everyday from about 6 pm. The sheer volume of water in such a short period can flood small streets with up to a foot of water and on a couple of occasions I've had to take off my shoes and socks and roll up my trouser legs.
Its surreal walking along the street clutching a briefcase in one hand and the fore mentioned in the other along with the commuters and tourists.
The rain plays havoc with the traffic, but the subway and sky train make getting around the city relatively easy.
The mass transit system has made a huge difference to doing business here. You can get around quickly and manage 4 or 5 meetings a day.
Contrast that to the situation 5 years ago when hours were spent in the back of taxis and the only way to make any progress was to base yourself in the hotel lobby and schedule appointments on a rolling basis of customers visiting you.
As customers didn't particularly relish losing their day to traffic jams, this was less than ideal.
I had time to visit 1 temple on this trip.
Wat Pho is the oldest major temple in Bangkok and is home to the "Reclining Buddha"Its 46 meters long and covered in gold plating with mother of pearl eyes and feet.
It is said ( and hotly disputed in some quarters) that Wat Pho has the distinction of being the birthplace of Thai massage.The temple's monks are acknowledged masters of the prod and pinch and dedicate their lives to exploring the techniques of what is considered a sacred ( as well as medical) healing art.
If you have time I recommend a massage from one of the monks in the courtyard outside the temple, (450 Baht/hr). This experience is only open to men: Thai Monks are forbidden to touch women as part of a vow of chastity.
This vow can manifest itself in odd ways.
I watched a woman hand her camera to her male companion in order for a monk to take a picture.
Stories of monks fathering scores of children (and abbots with mistresses) leads me to suspect that strict observation of the rules is practiced in public but discarded when circumstances suit.
I didn't have the time for a massage this trip but on my first visit to Thailand some 20 years ago, I did give it a try and found the experience to be in turns excruciatingly painful and relaxing.

Bangkok is a terrific place to shoot pictures of people and I managed to snatch a few decent ones over the past couple of days.
That's it for today.
I fly back to Hong Kong tonight and will be there until the 7th or 8th of July and then head back to North America.
Stay well everyone.
Love to all


Anonymous said...

that camera is really worth every penny...the photos are great. i suppose you have a good eye also...;)xoxlisa

Anonymous said...

What happened to your no smoking efforts?

Terry said...

I haven't had a ciggie for a week