How misunderstood the opposite side of the world is to us Western folk. I took off for the other side of the world naively…Booked my ticket to Bangkok one-way and took off without much of a plan of my “and then what”. Three months later I still feel like I just got off the plane. But not because Bangkok feels as foreign as it did the first day but rather that that is how many stones there are to turn-over in this organized-chaos of a city. Translated literally, Bangkok means ‘village of wild plums’ and it is plenty full of mad plums but even calling this place by that name is another falsity that we assume…Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Ayuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet
Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit …is just a part of the true name of this place, the entire name would take up two pages, and it translates: City of Angels…
…and to last more than several days ‘round these parts your guardian angel must be in good shape. The stories you might have heard about Bangkok are all true. But they are not a reflection of the Thai people; rather, the stories are the result of the Thais’ interpretation of the wants of the Western world. Bangkok became the soldiers’ Disney Land while on R & R from the conflict in Vietnam and Cambodia in the 1960s. Money, drugs and sex rule our world and the Thais are always the gracious host The Americans call the Union the “Land of the Free, Home of the Brave” but the average American is a sheep, scared to wander too far from the flock for fear of defaulting on their bank loan or credit card payment. Thais are the freest peoples in the world. The typical Thai does not know shame and regret and they do not obsess about a future they cannot know or control. So the Thais know the importance of living and existing in the moment because tomorrow is not promised and things could always be worse. Theyare beautiful. Rich, poor, man and woman, gay, straight, lady-boy or Man-girl, the Thais have a smile on their face and they have time for you…hence, Thailand’s nickname: The Land of Smiles.