Wat Arun at twilight
Sweat rolled off our shoulders, foreheads, and noses at all hours. Gasoline fumes clogged the air and the calls of “tuk-tuk, tuk-tuk” followed us wherever we went.
At the same time, the stupas and prangs of the vast temples glimmered in that searing sun. The 46-meter (150-foot) gold Buddha at Wat Pho reached and reclined above us and we stood like insects at his feet to meditate upon his mysterious smile and aura of purposeful contemplation.
At Wat Phra Kaeo, gold paint traced the mythological Ramakien, the journey of the exiled princes Rama and Lakshman, with the white monkey god Hanuman, in their search to rescue Rama’s wife Sita from the demon king Tosakan. These intricately painted murals were perhaps my favorite attraction in Bangkok.
On another day, we escaped the heat by fleeing to the air conditioned comfort of the movie theater at the MBK Plaza. We watched 32 tanwa, a Thai comedy about a guy who needs brain surgery because he cannot remember something important and then, finally, realizes that he and his step-sister are in love with each other. The plot was odd, to say the least and, when we laughed, the Thai moviegoers didn’t laugh and when they laughed, we didn't.
At night, the crowds pack the markets and streets, standing around the multi-hued blooms at the Chinatown Flower Market. One night, we went to see Thai dancers perform stylized feats at the Khon, a royal performance of a traditional Thai dance, featuring the life of Hanuman.
We did not love Bangkok but we did not hate it, either. We ate street food, saw the city, and lived amidst the throng and the chaos. But, despite eight days spent there, it did not impact us like Chiang Mai or Lampang because we were never able to figure out its underlying personality.
Bangkok at sunset
Instead, it has settled in the back of our minds in a wash of color like circles of paint streaming together from an artist's palette.