I had been wandering around the Grand Palace in Bangkok for quite some time in the sweltering heat. I had passed various tour groups and fellow travelers, a few unruly children, and a handful of vendors. Just as the heat was starting to get to me, and I realized that I was in dire need of water, I had what I thought was a hallucination. I could have sworn that the monk that I passed earlier, so devote in his meditation he moved nary a muscle, was now outside . . . on a cell phone?! What lesson did I learn on this day: Through meditation and years of practice one may someday achieve divine enlightenment and feel connected. And if that doesn't work, there's always Verizon.
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A Palace Fit for a . . .
If you have been to the Grand Palace, situated on the banks of the Chao Phraya River, in the center of Bangkok, then you have surely taken in everything from the Emerald Buddha, to the sweeping roof lines of the royal residences. As I snapped pictures of various sites, I rounded a corner and stood transfixed by this incredible structure. It was markedly different from the rest of the surrounding buildings. Rather than appearing shiny and bright, it had an old, ancient, wind and water-worn feel to it that I immediately loved. Did it precede the palace? Was it placed there by another culture and left abandoned all these years? What purpose did it serve in its time of use? I stared at it from afar for a very long time, wondering. But alas, I finally had to move on, as I was unable to approach and enter. Why could I not enter, you ask? Because as magnificent as it appears, this ancient model carving of a building stands a mere three feet tall.