Narissara (smart woman, in her language), introduces us to her country, Thailand. To her choice, she chose not to accompany the readers of Meetings Benches in the collective imagination that brings together all the tourists – especially those in the West – telling the places that always in the tenderness of a morning or in the wonder of a sunset, accompanied by the its normal life as a woman. For friends who want to contribute: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hello, welcome to Thailand. My name Narissara, I am a woman and I Thai tourist guide, but on this occasion I would like to be just a friend of yours, that takes you into what tourists consider mysterious and exotic, fascinating and adventurous, the East. Perhaps, having already consulted some tourist brochure, you know the delicacy of our orchids, measured gestures of our dancers and the beauty of our beaches. Well. This will not help you. As a friend, I want to give you the memory of elephants and colorful markets, my village on stilts and the wonder of the temples. Are you ready? Let’s go.
No, I’ll go with you on any of the 2,500 km of sandy beaches of my country, but if you want, at the end of our little vacation, I may suggest you to go. Staying beside me as we walk together, I am sure that you will do me many questions, but I beg you not to forget, ever – while you’re immersed in what they consider “exotic” – that we are moving into 8000 years of history that of a country which until 1949 was called Siam.
The faces that you observe around us are the result of a long integration of peoples (mon, Chinese, Khmer, Burmese, Indian, and Laotian Persian), which were added to the Thai. At 90% we are Buddhists, and many of my male peers spend a few months of their lives to monastic brackets. Even our language – the Thai – influenced by these cultural entries, and you will have already noticed our little difficulty speaking, difficulty pronouncing the letter “r”. If you want to remember at least five words in my language: Hello, is “sawwaddi”; yes and no, the ‘chai and never “; thank you, is “khob khun”; how much is “ni ra-kha tao rai”; toilet is “hon nam” and eat, it is “kin”.
We are walking in “Krung Thep,” City of Angels, that 200 years ago was called “Chao Phraya”, the Mother of the Waters, a village at the mouth of the river Menam. Of course, it is now unrecognizable, because the densely populated and noisy, with many modern buildings that are woven between old houses, but – as I said at the beginning – do not ask me to take you where I do not. For one, if you’re interested, you can contact the concierge of your hotel. Now we get to the Royal Palace, where we visit the Chapel of the Emerald Buddha, Lasala of the Throne, the Royal Audience and that of the coronation. Three times each year, the top 66 cm Buddha change your dress, at the change of seasons.
On the west bank of the Chao Phraya River, we expect the Temple of Aurora (our Wat Arun). Built in the style kmer has cusps of the pagodas – all covered with porcelain – similar to the Cambodian Angkor. Watching the sunset, now you understand why I have chosen this time to visit: view transverse light of the sun, admire the shimmering mosaics. As long as a child, believe me, this has always been my “magical place.” I hope that you, too, coming home, keep the magic of this moment. “Wat Po” – the Temple of the Reclining Buddha – houses a huge statue of Buddha (46 feet long, covered with gold leaf), and in the backyards you can observe 394 Buddha images.
Italian tourists, always look for a “bit of sympathy” Our Marble Temple (Wat Beanchamabophit), because it is their country, from Carrara. I love this place, but for a special, one referring to its incredible roof covered with tiles decorated Chinese. As you see – as we came in the morning – the monks came together in common prayer. Last temple, before closing the day is that of the Golden Buddha (Wat Trimitr), not far from the train station Hualampong. Until 1953, he was known for the presence of a large statue of the Buddha, but since then – because of a hurricane that had blown off the roof, damaging the statue – what looked like putty, it is shown for what it was: a statue solid gold, weighing five tons.
I see you have your camera ready. Well, let’s start the tour of the canals and markets. What “Salarn Pla Tala” is dedicated to fish, while the “Pak Klong Talat” is the fruit and vegetable. This is the other side of my Bangkok, made of rustic shops and houses on stilts, open up the channels. The most admired by tourists, as always, is the floating market Damnersaduak, but – if you have time – you can go back by myself, to travel by motor boat 109 km, or you can visit the famous Bridge on the River Kwai (126 km south of Bangkok). Pattaya? I knew you’d asked this question. Yes, 147 miles from my capital, you can find great accommodations, beautiful landscapes and coral islands, but I’d rather not accompany you. You will discover alone why. I smile, greeting you. Remember me, do not forget Narissara.
P. S. As promised, I leave the hotel concierge to some addresses. Be cautious. http://pinkpanther-bangkok.com/ , http://www.bangkokmag.infothai.com/restaurants.htm , http://www.calypsocabaret.com/