A taste of Thailand

Well, we thought Korea was a foreign country. But we found something much more foreign on the dirty teeming cracked streets of Bangkok, Thailand.
We’ve been here 24 hours now and have had our eyes wide opened at the sights, sounds, smells, tastes and touches of Thailand.
This city is a sensory overload, with the strong smells of curry and garlic wafting up from their silver pots along the sides of busy streets. Motorcycles whizzing through and between bumper-to-bumper traffic. Smelly black smoke shooting behind every vehicle, filling the air with a thick smog and heavy smell similiar to what you would smell standing behind an old diesel school bus. Tourists of all nationalities. Monks quietly standing on street corners waiting for a bus. And photos of the royal family on every high rise (and there are many!) on every street corner.
Monday is the queen’s birthday here and it is a national holiday. The people here love their royal family. Everyone is wearing yellow in support. A store clerk explained it simply today: “We love them. We love our queen and king,” as she pointed out a postcard of the king, which I thought about sending to you all so you could be like, “Who the heck?!?”
It’s amazing to me that a country loves their leadership so much–such a different attitude than Americans, myself included. What’s even more amazing is that these people are living in poverty. This is no resort town. This is a developing country, where shacks are scattered along the railroad tracks, trash thrown on all the streets and children with no arms or legs begging for money on bridges across the highway.
Whit and I are in a budget motel. We somehow landed some air conditioning, thank God, but we have no hot water and the room looks a little like one of those freaky Steven King movies–The Shining, Whit just informed me. But it does have a way cool lobby–see in the pictures, super helpful and nice staff and clean rooms. The whole place smells of what my mom mops her floor with. I like that.
Well, it’s about my bedtime. We’re touring the Royal Palace tomorrow, with $9 massages to follow.