Where as India was a feast for the nose, this is a feast for the eyes. The sights of Bangkok are new around every corner. We can be nearly anywhere, look around and see tall buildings for as far as the eye can see. Tack international bill boards on these high rises and you get visual overload. AS if that weren’t enough the sidewalks grab you! First there are a plethora of small golden Buddhist shrines each equipped with small platforms that act as the offering plate. (Offerings can range from money, to fruit, to cups of coffee. The buddhist monks, from what I understand, gather these things as their salary.) Then there are the street vendors who sell little buddhas, small dashboard size shrines, underwear, Rolex watches, Ray Bans, fruit, meat on a stick, and even dentures (yes, I took a picture!)
Paul and his family love to eat. So we eat constantly and in great quantities. It truly is overwhelming. I don’t even like Chinese food in America, but here eating Thai/Chinese is truly a beautiful experience for my old taste buds. For lunch we ate at a restaurant beside the canal. Paul just kept ordering appetizers and main dishes. There is hardly room on the table for anymore food and then Paul orders just “one more thing!”
Today we visited a couple of Buddhist temples. I was astounded at the number of people that attach their Boht (dollars) to offering “trees” and drop coins into the metal pots that line the walls. Then there are others, often times in families, that purchase incense sticks and flowers to lay on the altars after they pause for prayer.
I asked our guide, Yui, today if she had ever met a Christian. She paused slightly and said, “no.” From what she understood, Christians were people that begged God for what they wanted. I had already asked about what Buddhist believed and she had explained that, basically, one has to do more good that bad (they don’t use the word “sin”, but bad things). They hope that their good outweighs their bad. I took the time to share with her what Christians believe: there is only one God and He created everything from the birds, to people, to the stars in the universe. That He loves us and wanted us. I explained how sin (bad things) came into the world thru the first too people he made and how the God (our creator) loved all of us so much that he provided his son, Jesus, to take the punishment for the sin (bad things) that we have done so that he could bring us back into a relationship with him. OUR God, because of His love for us, worked for us, not us having to work for a god. All I have to do is believe that he did this. Once I do that, and because I believe that then I want to obey him. And he provides not only forgiveness for my sin, but his spirit comes and lives inside of me and helps me to obey AND gives me joy AND gives me PEACE (Yui said that we looked joyful). Paul took over then, but I did not understand ONE word of that Thai he spoke. WE will see Yui again tomorrow.
Oddly enough, at the second Buddhist temple, they have many optional ways to spend your money, and one of those ways was to have a massage. Paul made appointments for all of us and so all of us had wonderful massages. There was nothing odd about it and it helped us to get those plane-cricks out of our necks!
Also today, we visited the Jim Thompson silk factory outlet. It had beautiful fabrics and items made from silk, cotton and linens. The prices were a bit high but we had a good time looking.
WE also stopped by Paul’s daughter (Nat’s) boarding school that she attended while in high school. We met a man on the way to attend church. He was a Christian, but definitely in the minority. I asked how we could pray for him. He thought about that and said that people would want to hear the gospel of Jesus and believe in him.
We are ‘resting’ now and then we will go to Chinatown tonight!by