|On our way to the park we passed by this park of tuk tuks. Bangkok without tuk-tuks would not be Bangkok!|
Monday, April 25, 2016
When everyone stands still
16 hours later and we arrive at Bangkok! 16 hours since the first flight took off until we landed and 6 hours of jet lag. But his was very tranquil experience compared to the one we had last year (see 'Where are we going to sleep tonight' post). This time, everything worked as planned and we were even able to get from the airport to the hostel using public transportation without getting lost! YAY! :D
So first day, we're a bit dead and most large attractions will close soon (it was 15h00 when we got to our room and most things close around 16h00). So we look at the map and decide to go the Luphini Park. Google said it was a 36 minutes walk which sounded a good way to see the city a bit. Maybe we should have remembered the 35+ degrees outside and the high levels of humidity. We put our foot on the street, crossing the blessed barrier of air-con, and are immediately remembered of that! But there was nothing stopping us! We had just flown almost half a world, sun and warmth was part of the calling! Armed with water, light clothing, and a map, there we went!
The walk, which was waaay longer than the estimated 36 minutes, took us through narrow streets with local workshops (including an old school printing place) and street food (with no tourist on sight). We also passed by a few people that were offering massages. They did not offer a happy ending, but I guess that could be on the table - specially as we later found out that that was quite close to the 'Red District' area of Bangkok.
Over an hour later (with lunch somewhere in the middle) we got to the Park. It felt like a bliss to get off our flip-flops and feel the welcome freshness of grass. We layed down and admired the view. Aaahhhh, this is what people dream about! :) After a few more sips of water and laying down on the grass I look around to do a bit of people watching (that I love doing while travelling, I confess). And I notice the number of people running! Duzens, most probably hundreds of people run around the park at the end of the day. Men, women, old, new, all of them run! It is a non-ending stream of people that were all coming in our direction. At some point a voice comes through the loud speakers, but we don't pay attention. However, a woman running, suddendly stops and stays still. Everyone does! And the music starts... We had no idea what was happenning but we figured that the music must've been the Thai National Anthem. And everyone around us was paying their respects. It is quite a sight to see a mass of runners stop for 1 minute to the sound of a few notes. I have no picture of the moment as I was stunned and just wanted to be respectful to a moment that was obviously important to the people around us.
Later, at the hostel, I searched for the meaning of that moment and saw that it happened daily, not once, but twice (at 8:00 and 18:00). It is also something that happens in all of Thailand and that is equally respected by everyone! It is an interesting moment and is part of the Thai culture that I had no idea about!
PS: This time I am only carrying my tablet, which is great as it is small and practical to use (for most things). However, adding photos to these posts is a semi-maddening experience. Because of this, I will only add one photo (a photo day) to each post.