Bangkok, January 12, 2014
First Sunday in Bangkok, and it was one full of activities. We had the Rotary Orientation first thing in the morning and I had not been able to talk to my husband Freddy all day on Saturday, so I went downstairs early to try to have a FaceTime and it hit me suddenly: I miss him so much! It was a good start of the day, touring our casita via iPhone and seeing him get ready to go to the West Side (Alpha Table Tennis Club) 🙂
At the Rotary meeting, I met Penny and my co-counselor, Siri and we spent some quality time together today. Yesterday I learned that Penny is a music teacher and that she runs her own music academy, what a coincidence! I loved hearing how active Siri and his wife Ben are with the political movement that is going on in Thailand. Also, I enjoyed very much talking more to Penny during the lunch and after the meeting. She took me to a mall to walk around called Terminal 21, where every floor is named after a city or tourist destination. After a quick pit stop at the supermarket to get some food before tomorrow’s strike, I came back to the dorm to change quickly and leave for the Siam Sinfonietta’s concert. Here’s a couple of pictures of the Rotary orientation…
Today’s afternoon concert was very special, as it was in commemoration of Children’s Day in Thailand. Martine organized this for us, and told us how special the conductor was. Indeed! Somtow Sucharitkul is amazing. With concerts like this, he’s making music more inclusive and participatory in Thailand and giving the opportunity to many children to get involved in music programs. While guest conductor Trisdeena Patalung took over, he narrated Peter and the Wolf, explaining all the animals of the forest and how they were represented in the orchestra.
Post concert, some of us went for dinner in Siam Square, with our guest lecturer for this week, Michael Fryer. We had some good chats and walked back to the dorms while doing a couple of detours -first through the demonstration and last at the marching band competition. It made me think that while the city prepares for a huge strike tomorrow Monday, there’s a part of the city that wants to carry on, that would like Thailand to be bright and vibrant like their uniforms and that want to believe again that there will be a future free of corruption, where hard work and dedication will open doors for them, no matter their social status.
Little did we know that this competition would be going all night at the nearby stadium and that at 10:15 PM massive fireworks would cover the sky of the city. Those of us in the West side of the building heard the explosions and were not sure of what was happening. I went to my balcony and saw the reflection of the colors, so ran to my neighbor’s balcony to get some good shots. 3 minutes later, everybody started coming to the corridor, with the same question/concern regarding the explosions.