A few hours of biking is behind us. We stopped for lunch at a place that ended up having tiny servings. Oops. But thankfully the next stop was a market, and in the market is a coffee shop, with a large garden. Wooden shaded benches are scattered through the garden, near the pond. That’s true Thai stle — it reminds me of other restaurants up north where you have your own private thatched stilt hut to enjoy your fish. Here at this coffee shop, they had a snack that I hadn’t eaten since . .. my childhood. I can still remember popping the savory packet into my mouth while sitting on the mat in the yard, in the dark . . singing in the New Year. But back to the present. Our kids were so thirsty. And so ready to be off the bike. I am glad we left the coffee shop before any of them took a spill into the water.
B&S took us biking around a peninsula in Bangkok. How on earth have I never heard of this place? It’s near the International port of Bangkok. There are several bike companies that hire out bikes. Our first stop was the Siamese fighting fish museum. And sitting outside, there was this man and his Brahmini kite. Our son was in seventh seven. Wow. Definitely a highlight that he will not forget.
A friend of mine just moved to Thailand from India. She despaired of finding beauty in Thailand. I knew what she meant — with globalization, natural beauty sometimes disappears. I mean, there are plenty of nice things about Thailand — especially if comfort is what you want. Air conditioning? western fast food? massages? You can get anything: designer Italian bags etc. But what is it that makes Thailand unique? What does Thailand have that other places don’t? That bit is disappearing. You have to look for it. But sometimes you don’t have to go far! just a mile or two from my sister’s house are these “klong” — water canals that used to be the roads of Bangkok. There are no big roads that meet this canal, and so the place has kept it’s uniqueness. I love the tiny gardens, the old wooden houses, the friendly people who in no hurry. Sure, the canals stink, there is alot of trash, and some people would even call the neighborhood a slum. But at least it’s not impersonal.
We didn’t stop in Bangkok this visit. The taxi ride to and from the beach was the only glimpse we got. I couldn’t help noticing though .. the growing slums. Middle-class homes and businesses built in the early 90’s looking decrepit and unpainted. Locals scrounging for something to go with their rice one hour before lunch time– and not from the frig either. In comparison to Dhaka, obviously there is less poverty. We can be so enjoying the Western food, skyscrapers, awesome hotels (Dolphin Bay Resort wins!), that we don’t notice that the normal Thai is being left behind. I was thinking that Bangkok reminds me of Washington DC’s huge distance between the rich and poor, and then my sis sent me this article and confirmed my thoughts.