Ok, so I'm in a little reminiscing mood. I've been thinking about Thailand and all the particularities that made -- in my mind anyway -- Thailand so unique. I never thought I would be saying this, but one thing I desperately miss about Thailand is my neighborhood and all the craziness that went along with it to make up our little street.
There was always the monk that walked by at 6 AM and whose helper had the shoddiest basket on wheels I've ever seen. This daily visual reminded me of the reason I was even in Thailand, although I must admit that I got used to the sight. The Lord always had a way of jarring me back to spiritual reality at the oddest times, for which I am thankful. I don't ever want to get used to seeing souls bowing and reverencing a false religion all the way to a Christless eternity.
Bangkok is always busy, although not as busy at say 2 AM in the morning:). With millions of people living in the Thai capital, someone was always up and at 'em! The street I lived on started hopping around 5 in the morning and didn't shut down until long after midnight. I could never understand how my neighbor, Gate, could wake up so incredibly early and still be up long after I'd gone to bed. Gate always had such a distinct laugh so I knew it was her. I just shook my head and usually tried to grab a few more winks of sleep;).
I miss the people of my street. There was the lady who put her dog in a cart on wheels every single day and every single day the dog barked to get out. There was another lady who would load the back of her pickup truck with lots of good fruit to eat and would work on that fruit all evening long, always stopping to sell fruit to customers who walked by. Of course the shopkeeper and his wife across from my house was another favorite. Once a week Carolyn or I would dutifully walk across the narrow street with our 5-gallon water bucket in one hand and 12 baht in the other. Carolyn and I knew enough Thai to communicate a smidge with the shopkeepers, but what we lacked in knowledge we made up for in smiles and laughter! Those two go a long way in breaking down barriers - plus it helps to be able to laugh at yourself when you make a funny language blunder:).
There were also the *ahem* crazy motorcycle drivers who rode up and down Soi Krisadanakon (my street) going here and there, always always in a hurry. If I was walking down the street and heard an engine rev behind me, I knew to jump as close to the buildings as possible. The times were many that I "almost" got hit... but somehow Thai drivers know how to be reckless and crazy without going the extra step of causing an accident. I'm still not sure how they did it:).
Oh Krisadanakon, how I miss you!