How would you react if a big group of bikers would cycle through your narrow alley at least three times a day? You'd be annoyed and wondering why they aren't alternating their route more often. And what if you need that alley as a place to cook and eat? You'd seriously loathe them for passing through YOUR alley as if they own the place! Now imagine bicyclists loosing their balance and bumping into your stove or worse even knocking down your bowls of food in a pathetic attempt to keep cycling while really they should just get off and start walking. You'd go ballistic! You would call for a neighborhood meeting the very next day and frantically search for a legal way to deprive them of access to YOUR alley for good. Ah well, not the Thai. They are all smiles when you pass through. They happily stand aside to let the group cycle by. The children scream hello and wave enthusiastically as if they've never seen a Falang before in their lives. They make the crazy cycling, their routine disturbing tourists feel welcome. God knows why. But my thank you Bangkok! You definitely contribute in not a small amount to the succes of Co van Kessel Bangkok Tours. I truly envy your patience and endless warmth.
What else amazes me about you, my dear Thai, is your King. I have never been much of a royalty lover. Don't get me wrong, I certainly respect my Queen, but Beatrix is human in my eyes. Whereas King Bhumibol has more of a godlike status. It's captivating! Let me illustrate just how captivating their adoration for their King is. What do you see before the movie starts in Dutch cinema's? Don't smoke, please turn your phone off and a lot of advertising. In Thai theaters it's much the same, but for one significant difference - the goose bumps. You'll get them irrevocably as the whole theater stands up for the national anthem accompanied by touching images of the King. Spellbinding... Now that's not all, many Thai own a pink polo with the King's symbol embroidered on the breast pockets. And every time I take the skytrain around 6 PM I have to keep my ears open for the national anthem. Then when it plays the whole station remains motionless for a minute or three. Imagine that! At rush hour, people coming down the escalator, lining up on by one next to the moving stairway in order to stand still without standing in the way. Once again - excuse me for repeating myself - captivating...
So much for now!
All my love,