Our students touched down safely into the famed Southeast Asian metropolis of Bangkok at high noon, with surprisingly high energy. As such, after a brief tour de force through the outskirts of town via we reached our hotel and dove right into orientation where we reflected over what we feel education is for and how, as travelers we might best approach this privileged rite. We co-created group norms and set a solid foundation for the next two weeks by getting to know each others hopes, fears and overall intentions for out time in The Land of Smiles before taking our first train ride through The City of Angels to an incredibly delicious welcoming dinner featuring cuisine once reserved only for the Royal Family of Siam, literally prepared using recipes borrowed from the cookbook of the kings head chef.
The following day found us further orienting ourselves to our new surroundings in both formal and informal ways as we shared vulnerabilities, deep truths and silliness via intimate group discussions, wanderings about town and many “failings forward” (i.e. allowing ourselves to experiment pressure-free with new leadership roles in capacities previously out of our comfort zones.)
We traveled by water taxi to one of Thailand most important Buddhist Temples, Wat Pho, famous for giving birth to Thai Massage, where we began learning about Theravada Buddhism and there circumambulated the great golden reclining Buddha, after eating yet more delicious local foods in a tiny and adorable back alley home-style restaurant known only by in the know locals (and our amazing instructor (and mother to be!!) Ramphai!).
Then we had our senses attacked and our moral fabric utterly confused as we explored one of Asia’s largest shopping malls (which uses more energy than several entire provinces in Thailand!) before watching a movie together at a massive theater that told the story of the heroic cave rescue that recently took place in Chiang Rai, Thailand where soon we will be going for our home-stay. Incredible.
Hard to believe we have only been here for under 48 hours. So much has already happened! Tomorrow we will visit an organic urban farm to learn about local efforts to educate people about ways to keep food safe, organic and healthy within the city. We will also visit Thailand’s largest street market…. and you guessed it…. EAT MORE AMAZING FOOOOOOOOOD!!!!