|To wrap up Bangkok – unfortunately. First up, a leaving breakfast thrown by the exercise class in the park. By previous arrangement all the women provided a dish, mats were laid out on the path and a huge feast ensued. How absolutely wonderful that they would even consider doing this for us. Must admit being made a fuss of is very addictive. We totally realise it’s because we’re different that all this attention is paid to us, but nonetheless, very flattering.
Next is the bus stop man. He is apparently homeless as he’s very dishevelled and grubby, has a plastic bag by his feet and is always sitting at the same bus stop as we pass going to the park each morning. He looks so vulnerable, very thin, scared and frightened witless. Initially he wouldn’t acknowledge Peter’s “hello” (in Thai of course) not even raising his eyes. Over the weeks he’s warmed (thanks to Peter’s persistence), to the extent that for the last week he gently smiles and puts his palms together in a hello gesture, still dreadfully timid but getting better. On our last morning Peter gave him a bag of groceries (dried noodles, canned fish, nuts etc), stuff we thought would be OK without a fridge. He looked mildly stunned and we continued on to the park. Over 2 hours later, walking home on the opposite side of the road (over 8 lanes of roaring traffic and a canal), he jumps up from the bus stop and WAVED!! Made our day!
Finally, although we’ve visited Bangkok many times, this has been very special. This visit we wanted to explore the outlying areas which we did but it’s the human contact which has made this time exceptional. The exercise class participants, the food vendors, the staff at the condo, even the female conductor at our bus stop – all made us feel special. Taking the rose-coloured glasses off, we realise if we lived there the wow factor (for them and us) would wear off, the traffic would send us crazy and the lack of fluid conversation would stifle us but, luckily, I reckon we get the best of it. How lucky are we!
Last stop KL, particularly for a final duck dinner and cold beers in Chinatown, then home. Back to reality.
In Melbourne to celebrate Peter’s mother’s 90th birthday. Big afternoon tea for about 80 people, a lovely day. The rest of the time catching up with friends and family. Funny – we went for a long walk in the park just near Mum’s one morning – enormous bushy area with the Yarra running through it, hundreds of birds, well maintained bike paths, hardly person to be seen but several bike riders yelling “PASSING!” Presumably this is the official (OHwarning . What a contrast! Love both. See ya.