“A mystical, yet overwhelming city that I hear captures your heart as it runs over it at the same time. From the culture to the traffic, from the temples to the streets, from the Venice of the east to the canals of the slums — this city is sure to be remarkable in ways unknown. ” — Lindsey Jones, before arriving in Bangkok
To be dead honest, I hit the nail on the head with this assumption. However what I was not prepared for is just how much you fall in love with this city and how hard it breaks your heart. Bangkok is a metropolis with 12 million people– compare that to the 7 or 8 million of NYC. The difference being that the city of Bangkok has one foot in the future and one foot in the past. I can only begin to describe the contrasts that I have observed here. Gigantic hotels, standing pristine and fabulous next to several run down wooden homes, decaying as we speak. Upscale– top of the tier, five star restaurants with locals selling fried fish, fruits, flowers, meat on skewers, and other local dishes.
You can’t help but at times feel a ping in your heart for the fortunes we experience daily in America. Yet these people and their way of living brings them happiness and peace. They have strong beliefs and a willingness to share them with you. They have kind hearts and generous attitudes. They look you in the eye when greet you or simply pass you by. The Thai people and the way they walk through the world, makes me admire them. I wonder why Americans are so closed off from this type of living? Now don’t get me wrong there are plenty of beautiful human beings in the states. But walk down a street in NYC and no one gives any one a second glance. You ask a New Yorker where to go if your lost, they’ll brush you off and roll their eyes. We in the states treat tourists like outsiders. Here they treat tourists like guests, like family. They wear a sense of pride on the shoulders, showing off this mystical beauty and living of this country and their people.
I will never forget us standing at a sky train station trying to figure out which way to go, when a Thai gentleman approaches us to ask if he can help. We talked to him for about 15 minutes in which he helped us discover our direction and some great local things to do in the area. He genuinely cared about who we were, where we were going, and what we thought of his home. Five minutes later we are taking out the map again and up walks a Thai woman to ask if we need help yet again. This would absolutely never happen in the states and I am guilty of this crime as well. I will forever more look at tourists that come to America differently and ask if they too need my assistance.