Friday, May 11, 2012

Invigorate: to fill with life and energy

Travel is invigorating.  After 10 days in Bangkok, I am filled with life and energy. 

10 May, 13:00:
I am somewhere on the outskirts of downtown Bangkok.  I took the sky train to the end of the line, Wongwian Yai, with the intention of walking to Wat Arun, the Temple of the Dawn.  Instead of asking directions, I decided to explore: wandering along thoroughfares, turning into sidestreets including one pedestrian market area along an abandoned railway line.  From the railway market I entered a neighborhood of narrow alleyways where homes have roofs of corrugated steel, streets twist and turn and end, but friendly people point the way out.

I haven't seen another foreigner for more than two hours and I am thoroughly enjoying the adventure.  I particularly love walking along a rather ordinary Thai street, only to stumble upon a spectacular temple with large white columns, high peaked roofs in red and green, golden snakes curling skyward.  This happened not once, but half a dozen times in the course of an hour. 

This is the way to discover a city:  on foot with no timetable and no particular destination.  I am not normally a loner, but this solitary walk in a new (to me) city, country, culture, reminds me of similar excursions discovering Rome, Jerusalem, Hebron, Amsterdam, Quebec.  Travel and discovery truly is life-giving, invigorating. 

10 May, 14:00, Talat Phu
After two and a half hours of aimless meandering (in the mid-day heat no less), I decide it's time to ask directions to Wat Arun.  A friendly woman engages a half-dozen members of her extended family to hail a cab and point me in the right direction.  As the cab retraces much of the path I walked, I realize I headed as far as I could in the opposite direction - and loved every minute of my journey.

11 May, at the hotel:
A quick look at Google maps shows I wandered almost 10km away from the train yesterday - and more, I'm sure, given the roundabout route I took. 

Vigor: healthy physical or mental energy or power, vitality.
I am invigorated.

Blogging from Bangkok or...

blogging in Thai?  Google - and therefore gmail and blogger - automatically redirect to google.co.th.  I do love the look of the Thai script but unfortunately, I have not (yet?) learned to read it!  This is a test of the user interface:  to what degree am I able to navigate a site visually in complete absence of text.