The Venice of Asia

Bangkok 467 We had a great time in Bangkok, and it rates as one of our favorite destinations on the trip. We stayed right on the Bangkok River and got a real chance to see why the city is called the Venice of Asia. And we did a number of fun things away from the river as well. We found Bangkok, our first stop in Thailand, to be a total delight, and a place we’d highly recommend to anyone visiting this part of the world.. We agree with one hotel staff member’s view — Hat’s Off To Bangkok!

Bangkok 155 For starters, I found the people in Thailand to be wonderful. I didn’t sense the same pace of economic development here as in China or Vietnam, but the country seems to be moving forward. Bangkok, with a population of 10 million, is the capital of Thailand. Some 95% of the population is Buddhist, and signs of the Buddhist religion are prevalent.

Bangkok 212 A must visit in Bangkok is the Grand Palace, the royal palace of the kings of the Chakri Dynasty. founded in 1782 and the current ruling house. The royal family no longer resides there, but it is still used for state functions. The current king of Thailand seems very popular, but is quite ill. He has four children (one son and three daughters) and the succession possibilities sounded quite complicated and challenging. Stay tuned!

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We had a most interesting evening in Bangkok, which started with a trip to a street-side flower market. I would never — in a million years — have guessed that I would be fascinated and energized by a flower market! It was so alive, though, with trucks pulling up full of amazing flowers from the farmlands. Vendors were selling all sorts of flowers. To give you an idea of prices, the bouquet of orchidsBangkok 353 above cost less than $1 U.S. Apparently, they’re so cheap that it’s not appropriate as a nice present. I’ve never seen so many amazing flowers. Elizabeth, who is totally into flowers, was in seventh heaven in this market. But all of us were astounded to see the variety and beauty in this energetic market.

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Bangkok 377 Well, talk about contrasts! We left the flower market and went to a Thai Kick Boxing Match. We’re not exactly the “boxing” types, but we thought it would be worth seeing while we were in Bangkok. We may have set the record for shortest stay, although we did make it through one match. From what we could tell, almost nothing was illegal. They punch each other, they kick each other, they knee each other, and they hip check each other. Honestly, it was almost as ruthless and fierce as the Boston venture capital market! To get a real feel for a match, take a look at the video at http://dintersmith.phanfare.com/album/454924/637612#imageID=29640418.

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The next morning, we visited a hidden gem of Bangkok, the Prasart Museum. Mr. Prasart, whom we met, is my kind of guy. He has little formal education, and grew up in a very poor family. At age 10, he began collecting art, primarily to make money. Early in his career, he also bought and sold real estate (and still does, at his current age of 64), quite successfully. But over the past twenty Bangkok 301 years, he’s focused on his own art work and his foundation. He does the most amazing work in ceramics, enamel, water colors. And his foundation is focused on improving education for children in rural Thailand. The grounds are so serene and lovely, and the art work is superb.

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As we readied to leave Bangkok, we stopped to think about how quickly our kids are growing up. At the start, they were so young, and now they have become much older and wiser. We never dreamed we’d be buying a razor and shaving cream for Gibson to take off sprouting facial hair :-) !

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Baseball in Bangkok 114 We loved Bangkok! The food was terrific, it was easy to get around, and we even managed to squeeze in another Baseball Ambassador programs, with 125 children who practice for three hours Saturdays and Sundays all year round. Very impressive. The day we played with them was “cool” by Bangkok standards, but Gibson was still worn out a couple of days later after working quite hard withBangkok 272 their team. After all the running he did, he was starting to look a bit like this hyper fellow we encountered at the hotel’s pool :-) . As I said earlier, they sure grow up fast!!

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For our photos on Bangkok, go to

http://dintersmith.phanfare.com/album/454924/637612#imageID=29640296.

One Response to “The Venice of Asia”

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