HOT INFO On The Road

Margaret and Keel's Asian Adventure
Riding Tigers
REPORT #3: October 5, 1999, Bangkok Thailand

Notes from Margaret:
We are nearly 2 weeks into our Asian Adventure and finally starting to settle into the rhythms of travel. Our first chunk of time was spent in Bangkok, a world-class Asian city. My favorite part of this city is the Chao Phraya River that sunders the former capital, Thonburi, from the current capital, Bangkok proper. The river is a chaotic rush of commerce and public transportation. We rode the ferry, which is one of the quickest ways to get around here -- the automobile traffic is pretty bad, and around rush hour is terrible. I cannot get over being on the ferry -- one is surrounded by quite a scene: the skyline of the city with its temples, skyscrapers and run down buildings; the piers-- seemingly used since the dawn of time; the boats -- hull designs out of mythology; and the raging river itself-- a morass of churning current, water hyacinth and discarded odds and ends. For those of you considering a visit, the river is a must see!

We've just visited the town of Ayutthaya (probably my spelling is off --sorry), another former capital of Thailand. It has just been named a world heritage site -- with its collection of 14th-16th century temples and palaces. It is amazing that these places seem relatively undiscovered by tourism. Yes, at the more popular spots, we did run into a few tour buses, but there were a couple where we were the only visitors. It's kind of like wandering through a smaller scale Pompeii all by yourself. Sadly, many of these sites were discovered by the Burmese when they invaded years ago -- as an act of psychological warfare, many of the temples were desecrated. There are many headless Buddhas and smashed statues of elephants in Ayutthaya. We cannot romanticize that these treasures merely succumbed to the elements of nature and time like many other archaeological wonders.

"The Gizmo."
So, what's it like being on the road? Seems new still. Keel and I are getting to know how to best communicate so that we don't drive each other crazy with being together all the time. We have developed "The Gizmo." "The Gizmo" is a glorified popsicle stick that is something like the Native American talking stick. Whoever is in possession of "The Gizmo," gets to have their way if there is any disagreement about the day's itinerary, etc. Once you've used "The Gizmo," then it gets handed to the other person and they get to wield its power when the need next arises.

I continue on my inner journey to watch myself in the face of challenge on foreign soil. I must report that nothing dramatic has happened yet, so I patiently await as the play develops.

Check in again as we will have much to report about a trip to see silk farming with our friend who works for Jim Thompson Silk. Ciao for now!

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