IMG_3614Our guide was waiting for us at the Concierge’s desk.  She did her best to communicate with us in English and her efforts paid off as we got used to her vocabulary and accent.  There was a lot of pointing but also plenty of laughter and the typical overabundance of Thai smiles.

The drive through the city of Bangkok took over an hour.  She reminded us that the traffic was unusually light.  Our trip home would be a bit longer due to the rush hour.

Nevertheless, she made the trip interesting.  She pointed out the highest building in Bangkok, the United Nations headquarters of Asia, the Army base, various hospitals, Thailand’s best university, the picture of the King and his mother, the local grocery store and the names of the rivers that we passed over.  This must have been a route that she had guided many times in the past.

Finally, we rolled up to the Thai Cultural Center.  There we strolled the grounds and took in the pristine water features with quaint bridges, examples of Thai agriculture of rice, lemon grass and water lilies.  Then, we lingered long at the display of women harvesting silk from silkworms and spinning it into thread and then weaving into amazing scarves.

IMG_3586Then, it was time for the cultural show.  Elephants, dancers, martial artists and musicians gave us a massive portrait of the Siam that became Thailand.  The climax came with the traditional bamboo dance that originated in the northern parts of Thailand.

The dancers came into the crowd to seek volunteers to join them.  I was self-controlled and tried not to embarrass my family name so I gripped the seat that I was occupying with two tightly knitted fists.  Really, I could have done it!

On the way out of the parking lot our driver got excited.  He pointed ahead and slowed down.  That’s when the large monitor lizard of about 4 feet long casually walked across the asphalt looking for the nearest body of water to do some evening fishing.

IMG_3601The long drive back to our hotel took us through Bangkok traffic.  It is no fun.  But, it did afford me some opportunities for some fun photo shoots.

The famous Asian Tuk Tuk filled me frame.  Tiny 125cc motor scooters were the vehicle of choice for many locals.  They could easily zip here and there.

Safely back at our hotel, I just sat down and rested through dinner.  Images of smiles, dancers and a bustling city danced through my mind.  Bangkok is a delightful city full of treasures for the eye and a lasting memory.

photos by brucefong photography