Saturday, December 17, 2011

Last day in Bangkok

I got up early. Because yesterday was a rainy bust and I had only one day left to do all I wanted to do in Thailand. I was a on a mission. First I took the skytrain to a boat. Got on the boat and sailed through Bangkok to the famous Wat Pho temple.

Right on the water was the Wat Pho temple. Cloisters rose high and majestic around a very large stone courtyard. Statues of Buddha sitting and praying were adorned with lotus flowers and sweets. The sun was beating down and I didn’t feel holy. It was beautiful but not resonating. Maybe I wasn’t in the right frame of mind, but I think it’s because the temple didn’t have a good story. There’s nothing like a story of sorrow and triumph to make you feel god.

The Reclining Buddha lay in a massive hall. At one time you could only see part of a head, the massive torso, or the stretching legs. We dropped coins into bowls beside the body. The hall was bouncing with the clinks. It was an enveloping sound.

I sat in one of the prayer halls looking up at a golden Buddha. Next to me were other white people deep in meditation. If you have read my other posts, I am on a personal quest to find a compassion in religion, for religion. I’ve meditated in the Kali temples in India, went to the holy sites for Muslim, Christian and Jewish religions in Jerusalem. Trying to understand it all.

The Dali Lama said “There are many different religions and cultures in the world and each has developed to suit its own people. Because of that, I always recommend that it’s best to keep the religion you were born into. In the West, most people are Christians, although there are also some Jews and some Muslims. For them, or for anyone, to change religions is not easy and sometimes it just creates confusion.”

I’ll meditate on that.

For now, I had to get back into the boat, circle around for a bit, realize I was on the wrong boat, get on another boat, head to the skytrain, and RUN to the India visa office to get my passport and some god willing get my Indian Visa.

A line of other US citizens were waiting in the embassy grumbling “India hates us, discrimination, disgrace, discrimination…”

My passport would have an Indian visa but I would have to wait 2 hours.

So I went to get another Thai massage. This one was better. But at one point the woman picked me up over her back and tried to do this cracking thing and my back injury came back in full force. I was hobbling for the rest of the trip. (Now I am better.)

I got my Passport with Indian visa BOOYAKASHA and went home. I was taking Naz out tonight on the town and had to prepare. It was a multi stage night planned to perfectly in typical Chelsea fashion. First we would got to Condoms and Cabbages for drinks. Then to Koi, a chic restaurant for dinner. Followed by drinks at Sax, a famous jazz joint.

In typical Indian fashion we were hours late for the plan. Naz brought his beautiful car and we rushed to Condoms and Cabbages. It was closing but we got the gist.

Condoms and Cabbages was a restaurant created by a public health activist to support sex education and safety. Now an establishment, Cabbages and Condoms is known for its eclectic art pieces. Condom dresses, furniture, Christmas trees decorated the lobby. Instead of mints, you took a condom on your way out. But it was closed, and it was 11pm and we were so hungry.

We made our way to Koi. A valet took our car and we walked into a restaurant out of NY magazine. Models lounged on the furniture and a DJ played steamy beats in the back. We sat down on one of the ridiculously low tables and opened the menu. There food was for ants. Nothing. Maybe a celery stick dressed with a salt crystal. Not enough. I feigned ill, and laughing and now leaning on each other for support we got back into the car.

Naz knew of a place. On the 80th floor of a hotel promised a buffet with an amazing view. We raced there. And it was closed. Naz turned into a turkey leg and the tables turned into cakes. We went downstairs to the café and ordered so much food.

We went up to the 80th floor and looked down at Bangkok, a red city blinking like stars. In four days I did a lot, but only caught a glimpse of this complicated city.
Naz took me home and I collapsed into bed, ready to wake up in the morning and leave.

Naz was truly a kindred spirit. I laughed consistently for 4 days. He called the airport and found my kindle and ipod.

I always rely on the kindness of strangers.

La Bangkok,

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