Saturday, 14 April 2012

Bangkok: Father's Day Part 1 The Arrival

Of the many things I wanted to cover in Bangkok,
Fathers day was one of them....
due to some serendipity,
whilst planning my first ever trip to Bangkok,
I discovered that it overlapped with the Kings birthday

even with my shallow knowledge of Thailand,
I knew he was such a revered leader,
and with good reason...
but for reasons unknown to me,
they also coincided Fathers day with the Kings birthday

even on the day of my arrival, the park behind the Grand Palace
was already being prepared for this grand event

so no one would fault me as I got up early on December 5th,
anticipating big things,
and I know I wouldn't be disappointed

Even before I arrived at the Grand Palace,
Everywhere was getting in the mood,
and the government was playing their part
 of getting the crowd in the mood
which was why
as I got held up by the enthusiastic crowd,
All I could see was the tri coloured flags
and people of all backgrounds
which is why the police had their hands full
just handling crowd control
as every devoted and loyal Thai
tried to position themselves
just to catch a glimpse of the King
as he passed by
As expected, I never made it to the Grand Palace
to witness the King as he made his appearance 
at the balcony....
nor would it be right for me to deprive the honour
from a loyal and devoted thai...

So instead I decided to just try and take it the scenes around me
It would be impossible for me to be able to put into words
the scenes as I witnessed
but these are a few highlights, just from the morning itself

First things to catch my eye...
was the soldiers dressed in British uniform...
someone will have to enlighten me,
because as limited as my history and geography is,
I'm very sure that Thailand was one of the few Asian countries
to never have been colonised...
so what gives?

Despite the reasons,
it is a sight to behold...
and the discipline they displayed
standing in the heat is worthy of respect

I'm not very clear on the next scene that greeted me
as I arrived at the park...
I'm guessing it is a religious event
but as usual I'm at a lost as to the significance
especially as to the use of the flowers
which in my limited understanding is used to cleanse 
or bless the devotee as water is sprinkled on their heads
and I was glad to see I was not the only one eager to grab a photo
There were many decorations around the park
like this huge Golden tree
(there was also a silver one)

I am not sure what is the purpose...
but I saw many thai's writing on its leaves...
of course I had no way of deciphering what it said

and it was not only the Thai's who were involved
there were of course well meaning foreigners
wanting to leave their mark on such an auspicious day

of course what is impossible to miss
are the well wishes of the devoted countrymen
for their beloved leader
whilst some were just glad to catch a glimpse 
in any way they could...

however I must say one of the most unusual
and unexpected meetings was with this group of bicyclist
who are cycling in the name of unity
and have started out a few weeks earlier
crossing many borders and countries
(including even Malaysia!)
carrying their flag proudly
to finally arrive here in Bangkok
and I guess this guy became 
some what of a celebrity for a similar purpose

as celebrations were in the air
whilst many laid out makeshift mats

others just came and relaxed nearby

I thought nothing of these big cement blocks with inscriptions
until I took a secod look and realised..
these were elephants!
on both sides! 
(see the head and the trunk?)

But soon the morning was drawing to a close,
as the King made his speech
and was set to leave with the royal family
however some were not ready to let it go so easily
and made a last effort to reach out and touch...
the royal car as it passed by
(think that's it.... cannot see much with the reflections)

All in all
it was a sensory overload...
and it was barely noon....
as I walked back to my room to recouperate
I wondered what the rest of the day held for me...

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