Sunday, February 27, 2011

Thailand, Land of Smiles

Today, a blog written by Greg’s parents about Thailand through their eyes:  Thailand is known as the land of smiles, and we think it’s fitting.  We’ve found the people here to be friendly, welcoming and polite.  Thai people want foreigners to like their country.  We’ve also found many reasons to smile during our visit.
Smiles of happiness (and parental pride):  It’s good for us just to see Greg and Mary in their present environment, and we’re proud of their adjustment to significant cultural changes and obvious embracing of their adventure.  They have done well with finding what there is to enjoy about life in Bangkok, even though they do miss comforts of home, a shorter commute to work and seasonal changes.  They look forward to enjoying those again someday, but then they will miss parts of life here.

Smiles of wonder:  From the lizards ambling around Lumpini Park, not far from Greg and Mary’s apartment to the gorgeous flowers blooming there and in other places like the beach resort we went to last weekend, to beautiful beaches, and a wide variety of colorful, tasty fruit, there is much in nature to entice the senses here.

Smiles of amazement (times three): 
1) There are unbelievable historic sites here with superb craftsmanship.  The Grand Palace, temples, museums, etc. are filled with beauty we find hard to imagine artisans creating today, much less hundreds of years ago. 

2) The market culture on the streets.  Many, many food, flower and clothing vendors line the streets in downtown Bangkok, small towns, and some even right next to the highways.  They are everywhere.  Our favorite has to be the small town market,  where they have to move all of their wares back to let the train through the market at least four times a day.  It’s truly a sight to behold.  It takes about five to six minutes to go from business as usual, to moving everything out of the way of the train, to the train moving through, and setting right back up for business as usual.    

3) The traffic.  As if learning to drive on the right side of the car and the left side of the road isn’t enough, the traffic is so congested and the rules of the road so different from any we’re used to.  We’ve seen four lanes of traffic squeezed into the three lanes painted on the road (Greg says he’s even seen five), and the ever-present motorbikes just zoom right in between the lanes.

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