In 2005 my parents were in Thailand. I was working on a project in Kuala Lumpur. On my way home, I stopped by Bangkok (adding the stop actually reduced the overall cost of my ticket) to see them. One of the nights one of Dad’s longtime students wanted to buy us dinner. We ate dinner that night on a boat, far up the Chao Paya river. The sunset on the river was amazing; I took three different pictures of the sunset as we enjoyed our meal. It was delightful to have a chance to hang out with mom and dad. Bangkok is very different now than it was when we lived there. But, also when you consider not time but also perspective, the overall view of Bangkok now is different as well.
Then, it was home, and it appeared different. I was shorter then, I wasn’t driving, and I also was on my first overseas trip. By the time I was working in Kuala Lumpur, I had traveled nearly 700,000 miles and had been a part of the project in more than 11 countries. I was a different person by the time we wandered to Thailand, first as a family and then later on my way home from KL. But Bangkok of memory is always different than Bangkok of the 2000s. Time, buildings, and reality had stepped in. The Thai economy had moved closer to a more modern economy than it was when we were first there. The system originally started by the Peace Corps, and then ultimately UNESCO had been evolved again.
Now the country has moved into its economic base. The recent deceased King of Thailand held a patent, one of few monarchs in the world with a patent. Bangkok had many new buildings that were not even thought of in the 1970s, and many buildings built around the time we were first there that are gone now as well, they have aged out of usefulness. But, in stopping by to see my folks, Bangkok isn’t buildings and Klongs. To me, Bangkok will always be about the people, the friends we made there that remain with us forever. The people, the smiles and the memories. Like the beautiful sunset on the river, captured in my heart forever. Bangkok, is a special place that will always be the way it was!