Shopping, eating and selfies

This must have been the longest time between entries. I have been busy, if not with work and preparing for each tomorrow, than with exploring Bangkok.

After the interminable trip from Boston to Detroit to Seoul to Bangkok I was the first of the team to arrive. This left Sunday for me to play. I bought two all day on-and-off tickets, one for the skytrain and the other for the boats that ferry up and down the river that dissects Bangkok. I took one look at the Grand Palace, or rather the throngs of people in trying to get in, and turned around and hopped back on the boat. I stopped where least people got off and explored the vegetable market, the Chinese quarter, and the Indian quarter. I edged my way through crowded markets and quiet neighborhoods where no one spoke English. Bangkok (center) is one of those cities that is easy to navigate because there is always the river to orient oneself. It was hot but better than cold and windy Manchester.

I concluded my one rest day of last week with a swim, a green curry by the pool and a massage. Getting on these long plane rides and the long work days are tiresome but the rewards are plenty.

The next day my two colleagues arrived from DC and we started to lay out the week, divide roles, check the documents. I had already delivered this workshop and knew the material well though it was new for my young colleagues, who had to be a few pages ahead of the participants. They will deliver this same workshop in two months without me, and so my role was more as a mentor than a trainer, a role I like well. The four days of our coaching and communication workshop went fast and by Friday I saw that everyone moved a few inches up the ladder of self-awareness and starting to see that it is more practical to assume that the problems at work are caused by oneself rather than the other. It’s painful but at least it offers ways forward, after one realizes that nobody can change another. On the first day this is not so obvious, but on day four it was.

Fast forward to the next Saturday, another rest day which I used well: a long nap in the morning, a trip to the river and then to Asiatique, an old riverfront trading area that has been reclaimed for tourist and Thai alike, and turned into an extravaganza of small boutiques and hundreds of eateries. I chanced upon the Thailand Jazz competition while waiting for my pedicure appointment. I also took a ride in the giant Ferris wheel while it was still light, getting a sense of Bangkoks urban sprawl and skyscape. But Asiatique really comes to life late afternooon when thousands of people arrive by ferry from the main docks at the Taksin Bridge.

The main impressions I am taking away from Bangkok, which I explored more this time than when I was here last, are about shopping, eating and people taking pictures of themselves, everywhere.

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