Friday, August 05, 2005

Saturday morning in Bangkok. I'm waiting for yoga class to start. That's at 11:00, in about 45 minutes. I had found this guy's studio on the web. I wanted to see whether Iyengar style yoga is any different here than it is at the place I go to in East Lansing. We'll see. He also has another class tomorrow morning but I'm not sure I can make that and also get to the wat to hear the discussion about Buddhist meditation that takes place the first Sunday of the month. Decisions, decisions.

So yesterday when I got here, I did a short swing around Siam Square. One of the touristy things to do here is visit Jim Thompson's house. Jim Thompson was an American who settled in Bangkok in the 50s and he's been credited for bringing an awareness of Thai silk to the world. He disappeared in 1967 in Malayasia and has never been heard from again. Now his house is a museum of sorts to show off traditional Thai architecture. It's very interesting. The guy had a fantastic sense of design.

After the tour, I was headed back to the main thoroughfare when a very friendly guy started chatting, after telling me that I was walking on the wrong side of the street. He asked where I was from. He just happened to have a brother who lives in the US who he was planning to visit in September. We chatted for a few minutes then he asked if I was shopping. He gave me a pointer on a weekend market that's a bit north of the hotel. Then he said if I was interested in some really good jewelry there was a place just down the street that had excellent prices but I needed to get up there that day because the sale was ending today. And these gems would never be seen again because the mine was closing. I more or less believed him but I have this built in aversion to deal that seem too good to be true. So with a bit of skepticism, I headed down that way. Then another guy, very well dressed with a briefcase, bumped into me "accidently" and apologized profusely, doing the wai thing, and saying "Sorry, sorry", in that inimitable Thai way. Then he asked where I was from and said if I was shopping I should check out the jewel factory, which was just around the corner. By that time, I was pretty convinced I was about to be scammed. So I walked past the jewel factory and yet a third guy approached me. That cinched. I turned around and headed back to the skyway. The last two guys kept after me to go in. "You're missing it," they said. "Come in." I'm sure I had rube from America written all over my face. Just goes to show that big cities the world over are just the same.

Based on my one night in town, I'd say that everything I've read about Bangkok is true. Certainly sex is on-sale very openly. And I wasn't even close to the red-light district. I think it must be any place there are farang. I, however, didn't partake of any of those delights. But I did find an excellent little Indian/Middle Eastern restaurant and had a great meal.

Time for yoga.

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