Bowled Over by Bhutan - 2007

which the houses are built right next to, over, and cantilevered out above the river are

quite interesting.There are low-rent districts and really plush ones with houses that must

cost in the millions. The neighborhoods are protected by water locks against high

tides and these are quite interesting to watch in operation. Almost every house is

decorated with riotously flamboyant flowers and shrubs. Children play in riverside

playgrounds and attend schools that border the water as well. We were happy to have seen

that part of Thai life.

The Grand Palace and Grounds are amazingly splendid—the palace itself, the temples, the

stupas, and the public buildings. The carvings, the outrageously colorful inside and outside

walls, the enormous statuary, the radiant golden roofs atop all the structures—everything

was opulent and awe-inspiring. The Thai people love their king who is in his 80s and

was in hospital while we were in his country. The beauty of his abode could incite

envy and resentment among his people except for this love they bear him. All are hopeful

that he will be returning to the Palace in good health. Apparently, he did return home shortly

after we left his country for the last time but we have no idea how impaired he was/is

from the stroke he suffered.

Bangkok is a wonderful transitional transportation hub! And, Thailand is very important in

the history (and present) of four of the countries we were visiting. For the Bhutanese,

Bangkok is the nearest modern Mecca for superior health care. For the three Southeast

Asian countries, Thailand is an historic friend, enemy, influence, and trading partner.

It also shares the Buddhist faith of all these countries so the religious practices are

similar in many ways that educated us and mystified us.

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