City ...

The day begins differently in the city.  Step through the door of our friend's condo.  Negotiate a narrow corridor.  Step into a metal box and plummet nine floors to the chaotic world that awaits bellow.  Senses are bombarded by a cacophony of sights, sounds and smells.  Village smells are not all pleasant but they are separate, distinct and recognizable.  City smells are an altogether different beast.  Though of indeterminate source, they nonetheless permeate the air and linger on skin and clothing. 

City "trails" are made of concrete, brick and asphalt but are no less technical to traverse than an alpine scree slope.  As one progresses further down the soi the obstacles increase in number and complexity.  Vendors, storefronts, stands, tables, chairs, plants, poles, signage, animals, customers, pedestrians, cars, tuk-tuks, and motorcycles.  From above there are drain pipes, low hanging awnings and the ever-present confusing web of cables and wires, leading to who knows what from who knows where. 

Riding in a taxi it is perhaps best to distract yourself with music or conversation with a friend.  Whatever you do don’t watch the world passing inches from your window at speed.  If you find yourself on a boat on the river, then enjoy the views but keep your mouth from gaping in awe.  If one can make it to the Skytrain things begin to make sense.  Entering Paragon, Central World or one of the lovely hotel lobbies or health clubs we used to frequent and the world turns several shades of pretty.  People in these places bear little resemblance to village or street people.  Hygiene, attire, gait, style, demeanor and appearance make for an eye-catching dance of humanity at its most stylish. 

Shopping was frantic yet productive.  Meals were delicious.  Catching up and conversation with old friends, was warm and joyful, filled with laughter and remembrance.  Things went well and there were some obvious high points but I must say when we landed in Chiang Rai, loaded the bags into the truck and started down the road, we were struck by the green tranquil beauty of the open spaces.  I seemed to take my first deep breath in days, exhaled and melted deeper into my seat behind the wheel.  Back in my world at last, the ride home was a joy to be topped only by a good doggy greeting of tongue, tail and wreathing fur and flesh.  And of course, ones own bed never feels so welcoming as after a few days absence.

Don’t know that I will be eager to travel to Bangkok again for awhile but our time in the city did serve to heighten awareness of what is now important to me.  So I guess the city still has value.  Not least of all, as a looking glass to highlight what I love about where I am these days.