I have been so blessed to meet some amazing people already during my short time here. The apartment building I moved into has the most amazing landlord who invited us to share New Year's Eve with him and his close friends. It was so nice of him (typical Thai, way too nice!) and I am always up for adventure plus checking out some Thai temples to pray for our luck in the new year couldn't hurt. This culture never ceases to inspire and awe me, if it is driving to school in the early morning passing monks collecting alms and glittering temples or traveling through canals from my home into the heart of Bangkok, it can be quite magical and unbelievable sometimes. I am constantly discovering something else about the Kingdom that blows my mind (positive and negative, mind you) and this New Year's was no exception.
We visited 3 of the main temples on the river Chao Phraya - but I'll be honest I don't remember the names of all three. I am a bad travel blogger, I don't do details. I do know they were three big ones right on the river, famous and all, but there are 9 very famous temples on the river and it was dark... I also know I very much enjoyed all three beautiful places; there were many Thai people there praying for good luck in the new year, and it is surreal to see ancient rituals that still prevail today in modern Thailand. Even though I am not a Buddhist (religion is a sham) I very much connect with the core principals of Buddhism and have been learning more about the philosophy of it lately (more on this to come.) While the practice of Buddhism is foreign to me, I love the feeling in a temple, they are some of the most beautiful places I have ever been, with fantastic structures and Buddha shrines, the wonderful smell of incense and flowers offered wafts through the air and chants from followers echo in the room. New Year's eve was the first time I have been to a temple while in Thailand ( I have been too busy at the beach to see and "tourist" temples yet) and my Thai friend helped guide us to the way they do it. Little rules about where to put your feet, what to offer to each Buddha were helpful but of course picture taking was okay anywhere, it is Asia.
Asia is a place full of contradictions with East meets West, Old mixed with new, tradition fused with super technology. You really never know what to expect here. The fireworks in Bangkok were amazing, a twenty minute display of fire and wealth put on by the fancy hotels in the area. As we drifted in our small boat, many big cruise tourist boats sped by (for triple the normal price on for NYE) and the mulitple boats that housed the fireworks aboard were just a puddle jump away from us. A great view of the massive city skyline and another first kiss of a lifetime of firsts made for a quite perfect evening, and good thing, as we are getting older and are quite tired by 12:30 :)
Enjoying the fireworks with our new Thai friends, without being drunk,and having the most memorable new years ever, was a great feeling (so much drinking in Korea I didn't think I would ever sober up.) To be so far away from "home" but to meet such wonderful people that really make you feel welcome, that is why I love to travel. So many experiences, with some of the amazing people that inhabit this world we share, it makes me feel so connected to people and to the identity we all share.