after napping on and off throughout our first day in bangkok, we woke suddenly and hungrily around 9 p.m. and decided to venture out for food. sukhumvit is a popular area for tourists, shoppers, and if you wander deep- people interested in the sex trade. far more than a pretty thai lady, we wanted curry but instead ended up at a busy but neat thai/italian eatery, where the chefs could spin dough as well as anyone i’ve seen. the food was delicious, the wine relaxing and the view out the window even more phenomenal! amidst thai women, pink cabs, motor bike rickshaws, and food carts, elephants walked the streets.
after our meal i had the good fortune of feeding one some jicama (or something similar) but the interaction actually made me sad and the elephant’s owner felt robbed when i told her i had no money (before and after she handed me the food). i’d like to visit more elephants here but perhaps even more so, to save them.
when we woke in bangkok this morning it was 8:40 a.m. we knew before arriving that elements of yoga (a bangkok studio i found online, voted the 11th best yoga studio in the world) offered a 10:00 a.m. class and we felt determined to make it. we hopped out of bed and headed toward the bangkok sky train. we rushed out of the hotel and left the studio address behind so memory was our guide. the train system is delightfully easy to use, pleasant and affordable. linda ronstant played as we slid over the city streets. bangkok is beautiful, lush and fresh amidst the stone and signage. the people smile genuinely and the taxi cabs are bright pink. to me, old siam city is surprisingly western, modern and clean. three stops later we stepped off at siam square, chidlom in search of elements of yoga. the area is luxurious and exciting – on one corner, a buddhist ceremony with incense and mantra, on the other: marc jacobs and mcdonalds
rain began falling in sheets as soon as we stepped off the sky train. we ducked into a grand hyatt pretending we were guests. “so this is how the other half lives?” heath asked. it may be more like a fifth! our hotel is lovely but paled in comparison, indoor atriums, fountains, coliseum type architecture. nonetheless the people working there were still down to earth and welcoming. being caucasion helped us in. a sweet attendant who led us to concierge for directions called: “don’t forget the umbrellas in your room!”
“oh, kob khun ka (thank you!), we’re in a rush!” may she be well.
we tried in vain to find the studio for 30 mins in the pouring rain. i asked someone for time and at 10:07 a.m. resigned to give up. at that moment, i looked up and noticed the elements of yoga sign. we quickly swung into the building, rode the elevator up to the 23rd floor (I remembered this detail) and arrived just in time to be accepted for class!
little statue of ganesha in my pocket..remover of obstacles. the lesson to me, eyes open, heart open.
although we were in a very foreign city, in a very tall building, i walked in the studio doors, inhaled the incense and smelled the tea, absorbed the smile of the woman behind the desk and felt home! yui, our teacher, had incredibly gentle yet powerful energy. her vinyasa class was beautifully sequenced and being two of five students, we were privileged to great assists. everyone there had a regular practice which led to great group energy and flow. krishna das music played, a favorite choice of mine back in VT, and something about yui’s thai english-accent wove in with the rthym perfectly. despite the sky high view and the newness of this country, my yoga practice connected me deeply to myself and to home in vermont. this is the universal power of yoga, free of time and space. never before have 5 oms sounded so harmonious to me.
after yoga we stopped at a fresh bakery for one of the best croissants i’ve ever had and at a nearby stand for some freshed squeezed orange juice. we were in no rush, thinking we had an hour and a half until we needed to hail our ride to the airport. i thought we departed at 3:30. when we arrived at the airport at 2:00- we quickly realized landing time was 3:30 and boarding was in 2 minutes! with a little ganesha statue in my pocket (which ben carried thoughout his journey in china), i knew we’d make it. we hopped on board, no wait!, and arrived in chiang mai one hour later.