Welcome to “One Night in Bangkok” the series. Follow me through Hong Kong and Bangkok while I act as my Rotary Club‘s delegate to the International Convention in Thailand, with posts that are titled from the lyrics of the song “One Night in Bangkok.” If this is your first visit to the series, please click here to begin at the beginning.
Because, let me tell you, it is hot in Bangkok. Demons breathing from the fire-and-brimstone pits of hell-hot.
It didn’t stop us from jumping right in.
One of the coolest things about Rotary is its mission to foster peace in the world through the understanding of different cultures. The selection of Bangkok as the site for the International Convention demonstrates that goal by immersing people like me in experiences I’ve never had.
We visited the Grand Palace in Bangkok with thousands of other dripping tourists. It represented my very first Buddhist temple, my first experience with flame-clad monks, my second experience with removing my shoes to enter a place of worship, and my first study of the exuberant architecture that often accompanies the Buddhist faith.
People wandered in and out while we sat on the floor and hogged a fan. Some were there to worship. Others came to admire the space. Still others showed up to have a new experience, to see something foreign up close.
I laughed with a woman from India over trying to get the right angle for a shot. Mingled with a cluster of people from Japan. Was elated when I heard a group of Rotarians being led on a tour in French, one of the only spoken sounds I could identify all day. It was an experience that was quintessentially Rotary: pulling a group of people together from every point on the spectrum of experience and offering a portal to see that we are all the same.
And, May 5, 2012 is a big day on the Buddhist calendar, where 2012 is the year 2555. Make a wish today, on 5/5/55. And, may your every dream come true.
Grand Palace architecture.
The Thai flag flying in that just-opened-the-oven-door hot breeze.
Temple of the Emerald Buddha detail.
Is that the wind blowing through MTM’s hair?
Red-faced hot and happy.