“It’s surreal to have set foot on the modern kingdom”, I muttered as I stride seeing the double decker buses with astonishment. They’re too colorful and cool. We’re bound to wander around Bangkok, no time to waste! Pink taxis were everywhere. New York City has yellow cabs. Bangkok has pink cabs. Well, well, well. haha!
I had my short sojourn in the Land of Smiles on December 2007. It was my first international flight. It was a bit grand coz there were three major events which took place: post 80th birthday celebration of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej; SEA Games (on-going when we were there); and the 8th Southeast Asia Union Mission Camporee.
The Thai Airways’ special feature in its magazine was the King and his royal family. It’s fascinating to have known how the Thais adore and love their King and the monarchy. No wonder why in almost all houses, the billboards and buildings, His Majesty and his family’s portraits were seen. Loyalty is really a great deal among Thais.
On August 12, 2015, my first two articles in Thailand Professionals (an online magazine based in Bangkok) were published. One of those was a feature for Her Majesty Queen Sirikit and Mother’s Day, as well as my throwback travel memoirs. Click the title of the article to read before you proceed: “Mirthful Day for the Majestic Mother of all Thai People”
I didn’t know the main reason why Thailand was called the Land of Smiles then. It was just recent when I learned that Thais have 13 different types of smiles, the very reason for Thailand to have that title. It would take me a lot of time to observe in order to distinguish which is which. More likely, through encounters with Thai people, I would confirm that I’ve seen those smiles in Filipinos too!
Nostalgia engulfed me as I flipped the pages of my self-published prose and poetry booklet, Curly Wings Chasing Dreams. Some of my travel memoirs there made me laugh out loud! They were written in 2008. I shared only one of those on my other blog, Curly Bookworm. I’d rather write a new one through this post, and share some of the chronicles of my wanderings here.
The Grand Palace struck me with its grandeur! Tourists with diverse cultures crowded this cultural heritage. I was in awe as I gazed at the breathtaking temples of gold and happy hues, intricate designs and legendary tales. It was simply surreal! I was dumbfounded!
Strolling around the palace with the tourist guide and my comrades, I even marveled at the ancient architecture. The mystic statues were really surprising! The bonsai and some ancestral trees had been there for 300 to 400 years, since they were preserved and well taken care of. Unlike the Philippines who was conquered and was under the Spanish colony for 300 years, the palace was left untouched by the invaders.
I wondered how would it feel to literally live in a palace, and how would it feel to be a princess or a royalty. Then I recalled the promise of the Holy Writ that one day, we’re going to walk on streets of gold, and live in the picturesque palace that can’t be fully fathomed by our finite minds. We’re actually sons and daughters of the Most High!
Just this August, I’ve got acquainted with a gifted travel photographer and travel buff, Sunny Merindo. He’s been so nice and kind to have allowed me to use and feature his photography here. Since I can’t retrieve the hi-res photos from Sir Jeruel Ibanez (credits to him for the photos above), I thought of adding more Grand Palace photos from Sunny (first collaboration in this post). Copyright © Sunny Merindo
Of Wandering and Wondering
Picking up the pieces of the memoirs of the past, I can’t fully describe the gaiety and gratitude I had for that wonderful experience. We gallivant in the busy streets of Bangkok, and I noticed that 7-11 convenient stores abound there. I think it could be found in every 5-10 minute ride haha! That reminded me of home. After all, when we went to one of the stores, there were Filipinos. We’re very grateful we were spared from greater nosebleed (Majority of Thai people can’t speak English!).
Honestly, I felt a bit at home there, although racial discrimination was rampant. I felt bad whenever taxi drivers reject us just because they can’t speak English — “NO ENGLISH!” Our short sojourn in the Land of Smiles had been very meaningful despite some unexpected circumstances. I wished we could have stayed longer. There wasn’t enough time, we missed experiencing the floating market. The food and other commodities, the cost of living were cheaper compared to what we have in the Philippines. But of course, our malls are better and bigger than the ones we went to. Nevertheless, Bangkok’s economy is way better than ours.
There’s more to the hustle and bustle in Bangkok. 🙂 Have a virtual tour and enjoy the captivating beauty of Saraburi, and it’s serenity spell.
Read the Part 2: Sunshiny and Serene Saraburi
© 2015 LAF